The Women of Agrifood Nation competition has announced this year’s six finalists. The competition’s purpose is to increase exposure for women-led technological ventures in the food and agriculture field and promote investment in such ventures.
The winner will receive an investment of $200,000 from the COPIA Fund for Agricultural and Food Technologies (subject to due diligence). The competition will take place at the Peres Center for Peace on Sunday, June 6, 2021 at 17:30.
The final projects chosen are: Maolac – develops protein inspired by breast milk, Biotipac – technology that encourages natural growth of good bacteria in agricultural products, enabling extended shelf life, IncrediBowl – develops edible cups and bowls, Yo-egg – develops artificial eye-eggs, Fermata – accurate monitoring of plant problems and diseases in greenhouses, BugEra – develops new varieties of flies to convert organic manure into biodiesel
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The competition is an initiative of the ACT FOODTECH organization, which accompanies FoodTech entrepreneurs in building and implementing business strategy in international markets together with the Israeli venture capital fund COPIA, an agri-food tech investor. The two organizations are leading the competition together for the second year, with the support of many of the leading partners in Israel and around the world including: Strauss, Tnuva, Amazon AWS, the world’s largest snack maker Mondelez, and more.
The entrepreneurs taking the stage will present the following developments:
Maolac – by the entrepreneur Maya Ashkenazi Otmezgiz
Develops proteins inspired by breast milk.
Nature’s first diet is actually breast milk, an optimal nutrition for a baby’s growth, assisting in the ability to cope with environmental challenges outside of a mother’s womb. Using bioinformatics tools, Maolac has uncovered the functional proteins’ code in breast milk in order to replicate its functionality in a variety of powdered blends for a wide-range of uses.
“Imagine a world where your food is enriched with mullet protein that contributes to coping and immunity protection, improved vision, prevents bone thinning, treats skin problems and a variety of other uses; that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” says Maya. “We will improve the quality of life in terms of lifestyle and longevity for all of us.”
Incredibowl – by entrepreneur Adi Polak
Develops edible cups and bowls out of a passion to create sustainable change, eliminating disposal of plastic products that contribute to pollution. The tools are made from traditional, organic raw materials as well as upcycled leftovers from within the food industry that are often disposed of and left unused. The products provide a unique dining experience and eliminate the use of plastic, a seamless integration in the customer’s experience.
Yo-egg – by the entrepreneur Yosefa Ben Cohen
Develops artificial eye-eggs from plants, transitioning consumers away from animal products. Yo-egg perfectly mimics the taste, texture, and nutritional value of a chicken egg. The precision of the product and its ability to be produced on an industry-scale is the true novelty. It is currently the only product in the world of its kind due to the complexity of development and production.
Biotipac – by the entrepreneur Yifat Hamer
Develops technology to extend the shelf-life of consumer and agricultural products. The technology enables live bacteria to grow naturally and eliminates the need to kill harmful bacteria. Instead, Bioptic provides a food substrate for good bacteria, acting like a probiotic, it is already present in the product or packaging space. These bacteria spread “at the expense” of the food spoilers as they compete with them. Rather than adding live bacteria, this product is unique as it enables natural growth.
This revolutionary technology will bring a new layer to the world of agrifood in the entire value chain. It extends shelf-life naturally, reduces chemical dependence, and opens the hatch for more environmentally friendly packaging and products that are a great step closer to the fresh foods we eat at home.
Fermata – by entrepreneur Valeria Cogan
Fermata is an AgTech company that develops AI-based solutions for precise plant monitoring in greenhouses. The main objective is to reduce the amount of food waste that happens from poor disease control and in turn, deliver high-quality products to consumers without adding pesticides or other chemicals. The target audience are the farmers and owners of agricultural companies, but the mission is to put it in the hands of the consumer.
Fermata is currently working on accelerating its work in the EU and Israeli markets.
BugEra – by entrepreneur Anna Malkov
The black soldier fly (BSF) is unique in its ability to recycle high-quality organic manure for protein and oil, currently used to feed farm animals. The insect has enormous potential to be a source of many biological materials and solve global challenges in the fields of energy, agriculture, food and more. BugEra is a biotechnology company based in Be’er Sheva, and is the first in the world to develop new strains of the fly using genetic engineering methods. These strains will recycle organic manure of all kinds, maintaining a higher amount and quality of oil as a fuel source. This will contribute to the expansion of a circular economy.
“The percentage of women entrepreneurs in the Israeli ecosystem is only 8%. The food-tech industry is growing significantly with a sharp increase in investments in Israel and around the world, so this is the opportunity for women to enter the field,” says Carmit Oron, ACT FoodTech CEO. “We see a high representation of brilliant women in academia, especially in the field of food and agriculture, so there is also a real opportunity for innovation and business.”
The candidates will present their projects to senior judges from academia, the food and agriculture industry and the high-tech industry, including: Dr. Tami Miron, VP of Technology at Fresh Start – Tnuva and Tempo’s podtech incubator; Dr. Dorit Rosner, VP of Technology at The Kitchen Food Tech Hub – owned by Strauss; Professor Masha Ziv, Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, of the Hebrew University; Dr. Nitza Kardash, CEO of the Trendlines AgriFood Venture Capital Fund and Vice President of Trendlines Agtech Global, and other judges who are leading the industry.
The competition is supported by many partners who help entrepreneurs break through and succeed, including: Fresh Start incubator, The Kitchen Food Tech Hub, serves as a leading incubator for startups in the field, Mondelez – with brands such as Oreo, Tobelron and Milka, which invests and collaborates with Israeli startups in the field of agrifood tech, Millennium Foodtech, BAEMEK Technologies, Trendlines Agrifood, Amazon Israel (AWL and Perahan), Justice, Donna Griffith – Specialist in storytelling and the Brain Embassy, a co-working space complex that has hosted the project throughout its duration.
Hamutal Gozlan is leading the competition efforts.