Nine food entrepreneurs was awarded for the best pitch at last weeks European Food Venture Forum. However, the startup Mycorena and their fungi-based alternative protein stood out and won not only the prize but also a collaboration with Arla.
It was a tough competition with international attention when an extraordinary field of entrepreneurs, both from Denmark and abroad, investors, and corporates were gathered at the European Food Venture Forum, which is arranged by Tech Tour, Agro Business Park, Danish Food Cluster, Future Food Innovation, Business Region Aarhus, and Aarhus Kommune and sponsored by Arla and Venture IQ.
European Food Venture Forum took place in Aarhus on 4 and 5 September, where entrepreneurs from Denmark and abroad had the opportunity to present their need for capital and their unique business ideas within foods and foodtech in front of international investors.
For the 8th time, Danish and foreign entrepreneurs, food producers, well-established companies, and investors gathered in Aarhus to find the best business ideas within foods and foodtech.
One of the winners of the day was the Swedish company Mycorena, specifically selected by the large operator, Arla, as a corporate with a great potential, which Arla has an interest in collaborating with.
”We are very happy. It is always a pleasure to get a pat on the shoulder like that, and especially when it is from such a large operator like Arla, which may lead to a push in the right direction for a startup like ours. Apart from the acknowledgement, we also gain a lot of great contacts to take home with us and a lot of inspiration for further work,” says Ramkumar Nair, founder and CEO of Mycorena.
Mycorena produces and develops alternative proteins from fungi, which can be used as a new ingredient in foods and feed in the future.
The 9 winners are:
- Mycorena (Sweden)
- Alberts (Belgium)
- Chromologics (Denmark)
- Computomics (Germany)
- Durrow Mills Ltd. (Ireland)
- Nextfood (Denmark)
- Råhandel (Denmark)
- Snömoln i Norden AB (Sweden)
- Tebrito AB (Sweden)
Pitching, networking, speeches and presentations took up a lot of space in the two days that European Food Venture Forum lasted, and it was not only the 8 winners who got something to bring with them home.
“It should not be underrated how much value a network has to the entrepreneurs. An event like European Food Venture forum means invaluable contacts, not only with potential investors but also with industry people and possible collaborators,” says Lone Ryg Olsen, CEO at Danish Food Cluster, who is a co-host of the event.
“This year, we experienced a great deal of support, also internationally. For instance, we had visitors from the larges tuna producer in the world, Thai Union, Ferrero from Italy, and Fazer Group from Finland, which indicates that the Danish food industry and the culture of entrepreneurship in this country is something that international investment communities keep an eye on. Both the quality of the startups and the number of investors who are interested in the field are promising for the future food industry,” says Lone Ryg Olsen.
Learning and coaching
33 entrepreneurs from Denmark and abroad were selected to pitch in front of a number of international investors. However, before they made it that far, they went through a tough coaching session in which experts, mentors, and representatives from the food industry ensured guidance and asked critical questions to make sure the entrepreneurs were well prepared to stand in front of the investors.
“This year’s event was great and had some exciting entrepreneurs and a strong field of investors. The event emphasises how important it is for entrepreneurs to manage their numbers and be in control over their financial plan when they try to get potential investors to join them. These subjects are exactly what investors and industry experts are asking the most critical and clarifying questions on,” says Kathrine Vejgaard Stage, team leader of foods in Agro Business Park, hosting the event, and she continues:
“As an entrepreneur, who has to pitch in front of such heavy industry people from corporates like Fazer, Ferrero, and Arla, you need to be sharp and show that you not only know your product but also your numbers and market. The winners of the day all delivered a convincing presentation and convinced the investors that they know their stuff.”
The 8 winners are now qualified for the final round at the Tech Tour Contest Final on 9-10 December in Essen, Germany.