NETHERLANDS – ScaleUpNation, Foodvalley NL and Rabobank have announced the launch of a new initiative, ScaleUpFood dedicated to scaling entrepreneurial ventures in food and agriculture sector.

ScaleUpFood will address challenges faced by agri-food ventures and find ways critical in expanding their operations.

The support program which will begin in October, addressing areas specific to food and agri scale-ups like strategic selling to large corporates, specialized finance, and data driven business model extensions.

The program engages top Dutch corporate and innovative mid-caps for collaboration with the scale-ups.

Qualified ventures will be invited for longer term tailored support, collaboration opportunities and access to series-B level funding.

“Entrepreneurs who have made it to the scale-up stage in food and agri are the best of the best,” said Anieke Wierenga, Director of ScaleUpFood.

“But what got them here will not get them to the next level. We’re looking forward to unlocking significant growth opportunities with our first class this fall.”

Scaling up business startups

According to ScaleUpNation, less than 1% of early stage companies make it to $10 million (€9 million) annual revenues within 5 years.

The food and agriculture space face more challenges with respect to innovation speed and implementation due to growing seasons, long sales cycles, conservative customers and complicated regulation.

The initiative targets to reinforce Netherland’s position as a center of food innovation by supporting young, promising food and agri companies.

“In food and agri the Netherlands has always been scale-up country, testimony our position of 2nd largest food exporter in the world. But many products have commoditized,” said Roger van Hoesel, Managing Director Foodvalley NL.

“This partnership will create a new wave of food and agri scale-ups focused on technology and sustainability.”

The partners see opportunities for innovative, technology-driven enterprises brought by climate change, global population size and waste.

“Current food production systems are simply unsustainable, even with today’s population,” said Jeroen Leffelaar, Managing Director Rabobank Food and Agri Innovation.

“The need for true innovation in the food & agri value chain is bigger than ever before.

“Many leading food & ag corporates are realizing that fine tuning of their existing research and development may no longer be sufficient to keep up.

“If we wish to turn today’s new ideas and technologies into tomorrow’s game-changing solutions, we need to support the most promising early stage companies in scaling to disrupt a traditional and inefficient industry.”