Tel Aviv-based speciality minerals company ICL is partnered with start-up accelerator StartLife headquartered in Wageningen, Netherlands, to invest in start-ups focused on new ways to address global challenges in food and agricultural production, ranging from increasing yields and tackling food insecurity, to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
ICL Planet Startup Hub is the vehicle ICL uses to accelerate innovation in the agrifood tech sector. Potential targets also include novel ways to recycle minerals, to extract them from waste streams and convert them to fertilisers, or to develop innovative functional proteins for clean label applications.
Hadar Sutovsky, vice-president of external innovation at ICL Group, said: “ICL Planet Startup Hub seeks to establish a new generation of plant nutrition solutions, and our aim is to invest in start-ups, which can make a meaningful difference. StartLife has a strong track record of spotting and attracting promising early-stage startups globally, and its position at the heart of the European AgriFood tech ecosystem, its focus on sustainable food systems, and its strong links with the world-renowned Wageningen University & Research were central to our decision to enter into a partnership.”
StartLife’s operations director, Laura Thissen, commented: “Through this partnership, StartLife aims to accelerate start-ups’ scaling journey and, at the same time, support ICL in finding the best start-ups, which match their innovation challenges. Our team is already identifying start-ups looking to partner and to help solve a piece of the innovation puzzle for Planet Startup. The scope includes crop nutrition, such as next generation fertilisers and biostimulants, but also precision farming and alternative proteins.”
“To boost innovation, StartLife actively connects start-ups to leading players in the industry. ICL’s core domain is complementary to our partner community value chain coverage. In our talks, we quickly discovered we have a lot of synergies in our activities and the same drive for sustainability in food and agriculture.”
Chosen start-ups will be given access to markets expertise and scientists, the ability to undertake sample testing, and agronomic or food application feedback.
ICL Planet Startup Hub is already an active investor in several agrifood start-ups, most recently in alternative protein companies Plantible and Protera.
Date Published: 20 May 2022