Food waste has become a trillion dollar issue, each year more than 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted. Though awareness of this issue has risen in recent years among consumers, the vast majority of food waste takes place before the food reaches customers.
Meaning that the problem of food loss and waste must be addressed across the food value chain. “With Maersk’s global presence and substantial involvement in food transportation, we are well positioned to be part of the solution,” says Peter Votkjaer Jorgensen, Venture Partner at Maersk’s venture arm Maersk Growth. With this knowledge, Rockstart and Maersk launched the first edition of FoodTrack by Maersk.
Rockstart and Maersk coming together for this programme offered startups the best possible month-long acceleration programme. As Jorgensen points out “being part of the solution requires seeking out new ideas and new partnerships – we need to think and be agile like startups while driving execution with the high impact that mutations can do.” Additionally, the program provides startups with the opportunity to work with the global entity Maersk and Rockstart – one of the first multi-venture accelerates in Europe.
FoodTrack Edition One
The first edition of FoodTrack by Maersk took place in June 2018 in Copenhagen. The programme saw 10 startups come together with Maersk leaders, business mentors, and the board industry network of Maersk. This network supported the startups and offered valuable insights into how to further develop and validate their unique solutions, business models, and technologies. “We deep dive into concepts such as market needs, valuable position and we then build upon those with other elements such as go-to-market strategy, business model, capital allocation and in the end try to articulate all those elements into an investor-friendly message,” says Eduard Puig a FoodTrack Mentor.
The first edition gave startups an ecosystem that genuinely cares about creating a sustainable future for society. During the programme, each startup worked closely with Maersk Fight Food Waste venture team and Rockstarts Agrifoodteam. Through this opportunity to work with mentors, business professionals, and alongside other startups each participant greatly appreciated and benefited from this robust ecosystem.
“Programs like this create an environment for us to add onto ourselves what we lack,” says John Oroko, co-founder of Selina Wamucii a FoodTrack startup that developed a mobile solution that enables companies to source, aggregate, and redistributes fresh produce from African farmers.
From Saillog that uses AI technology to identify pests and crop diseases as to assist farmers in pest management to Cold Hubs which provides solar-powered cool storage to tackle harvest food lost. Each of the startups bought something inventive to the programme that met the aim of FoodTrack.
“The purpose of FoodTrack is not to offer training; it’s us investing,” says Jorgensen. “It is already quite a commitment for a startup to spend a month here in Copenhagen and we want to ensure we get the right startups participating; the decision for the startups should be about the value of a program with Maersk, not whether they want to release equity just to participate.”
“It was a great experience for everyone involved – we all learned something new over those weeks, and it ended with a very exciting Demo Day where the 10 startups pitched for an investment by Maersk Growth,” says Jorgensen.
FoodTrack Edition Two Launches September
After the success of the first edition of FoodTrack by Maersk, we are proud to announce the second edition has officially launched as of today. Once again we are looking for startups with solutions for global food waste and loss across the food value chain.
When the programme is completed, the FoodTrack startups will have a chance to get follow-on funding from Maersk or engage in a partnership. The applications for the first FoodTrack programme will be open from September 3rd to September 30th. The programme itself will kick off on November 14th and finish with a Demo Day on December 13th.
Are you a startup with a solution to food waste across the food value chain apply here before September 30th.
Press Release: rockstart.com
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