Showcase innovative NZ food and agri start-ups to investors
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New event to showcase innovative New Zealand food and agri start-ups to investors – applications sought

Innovative New Zealand food and agribusiness start-ups and fledgling ventures will have the opportunity to showcase themselves to potential investors at an international event to be held in November.

The FoodBytes! event will be staged as part of the international Farm2Fork Summit, focusing on future innovation in food and agriculture, to be held in Sydney, Australia, on Thursday, November 3.

Originally launched in the United States in 2015, FoodBytes! is designed to find the most innovative and ground-breaking concepts in food and agriculture and pair that creativity with the capital needed to bring them to market.

This will be the first FoodBytes! event held outside the United States and will be open to applicants internationally, with applications being sought from New Zealand.
Rabobank head of Sustainable Business Development Marc Oostdijk said FoodBytes! was keen to spotlight New Zealand companies or individuals with innovative concepts which could be brought to market in the food and agricultural industries.

“New Zealand is internationally recognised as a clever and agile nation when it comes to innovation and technology in industry and indeed in many areas of life, so we are confident there will be food and agri starts-up who could be ideal candidates for inclusion in FoodBytes!,” he said.

“FoodBytes! is designed to showcase the entrepreneurs that are building the next generation of food and agribusiness-related companies, who are innovating and disrupting the food chain with ground-breaking ideas in food, agribusiness and technology. We are focused on uncovering innovation and technology whether it be anywhere from local kitchens to university laboratories.

“These companies and individuals are responding to an industry and sector that is constantly changing to adapt to consumer preferences and to be more sustainable – which is critical for the future.”

Successful applicants will be invited to attend Rabobank’s Farm2Fork Summit in Sydney to demonstrate their concepts to potential investors, key industry influencers, media and agribusiness professionals.

A judging panel will assess each concept based on a set of criteria, with a select number of applicants being invited to deliver a short pitch presentation on the main summit stage.

“This will provide the opportunity for investors looking to finance the next break-through idea to meet new and innovative companies which are ‘disrupting’ across the food chain – in everything from food-related software and applications to distribution, manufacturing and production,” Mr Oostdijk said.

A FoodBytes! Sydney Judges’ Choice and a People’s Choice award will be announced following the presentations.

Applications to participate in FoodBytes! can be made by ‘applying to demo’ at www.foodbytesworld.com, closing on Monday, October 10, 2016.

Mr Oostdijk said as an international food and agribusiness bank focused on helping to address the world’s food challenges, Rabobank founded FoodBytes! with the goal of joining innovative start-up ventures together with the capital and guidance needed to bring these ideas to market.

“Increasing access to food, improving nutrition and enhancing stability in the food value chain are all part of Rabobank’s global ‘Banking for Food’ strategy, and it is exciting to be involved in the future of the food and agribusiness landscape with initiatives such as FoodBytes!,” he said.

Finalists selected to participate in FoodBytes! in the US have included:
- Byte, an organisation feeding millions of office workers in UDSA-defined ‘food deserts’ where there is no access to fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy wholefoods.
- Chapul, the producers of an award-winning line of gourmet energy bars containing protein powder derived from crickets.
- HarvestPort, a shared ‘marketplace’ for seasonally-used agricultural equipment and
- Soliculture, a venture which integrates solar technology into greenhouse roofing to reduce capital costs.

Among the US winners was a start-up company which uses fresh vegetables to naturally sweeten its products – including ketchup, barbecue and hot sauce – drastically reducing the use of added sugar.

The Farm2Fork Summit will be held at Sydney’s Cockatoo Island on November 3, 2016. Focusing on future innovation in the food and agricultural industries, it will bring together agribusiness industry leaders, local and international farmers, food and agri start-ups, technology innovators, investors and other sector stakeholders for the one-day event, It follows on from the inaugural F20 Summit held in the lead-up to the G20 in Australia in 2014.

Rabobank New Zealand is a part of the international Rabobank Group, the world's leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 115 years' experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 40 countries, servicing the needs of approximately 8.8 million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank New Zealand is one of New Zealand's leading rural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to country's food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 33 branches throughout New Zealand. Rabobank also operates RaboDirect, New Zealand’s first internet-only bank specialising in savings and deposits.

Media contacts:

David Johnston
Marketing & Media Relations Manager
Rabobank New Zealand
Phone: 04 819 2711 or 027 477 8153
Email: david.johnston@rabobank.com 

Denise Shaw
Head of Media Relations 
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand 
Phone: +61 2 8115 2744 or +61 2 439 603 525 
Email: denise.shaw@rabobank.com