Welcome to Startup Riders, where we deconstruct outliers - startup trends, makers, mavericks - and share learnings along the way. Once or twice a month.
🌊 Wave: FoodTech.
🦾 Leverage: Basque Startup Ecosystem.
💵 Deals: 12 new investments.
This one is special to me because: 1. I love food 2. I’m Basque, and I love it there.
One of the birth-places of the industrial revolution in Spain, and the motherland to many phenoms including explorers, businessmen, surfers and artists. Many bright, loyal, tough and hard working people - currently building a great startup ecosystem.
What and how we eat is changing, fast.
Our current food system is one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss on our planet, representing a third of global greenhouse gas emissions.
A lot of attention has been given to eating more local/ km 0 food. Meanwhile, if we really want to reduce our carbon footprint, we must concentrate our efforts on what we eat, not whether the food is local.
Incremental improvements in the current food production and consumption system will not be enough to address the problem - we need a fundamental transformation of the entire agri-food industry.
Instead of "crushing" nature to produce food, our food must be designed so that nature thrives. Enter technology.
Bill Gates recently stated that “climate tech startups will produce 8 to 10 Teslas, a Google, an Amazon and a Microsoft” and that “future returns from investing in companies fighting climate change will be comparable to those produced by the largest technology companies to date.”
The emergence of new technology, including mobile app-based services and new alternative proteins, is transforming the way that the food industry operates, and giving rise to a new industry… known as foodtech 🍳!
Within the Foodtech vertical, we can find the following categories or subverticals:
“Gastronomy is the key to the incoming food revolution, and this key is a combination of science with perception and feelings, both at a personal or group level. A fascinating incoming revolution where a Gastronomy Sciences based university such Basque Culinary Center will have a lot to offer for the future Gastronomy revolutionaries”
Asier Alea, Director of Global Development at Basque Culinary Center
⏳ How we got here
If we look at the evolution of startups and unicorns in the foodtech sector, the first generation focused mainly on restaurant delivery and plant based. Recently, a growing second generation has been seen in the grocery and quick delivery sub-sector.
But what will the future of the sector hold for us?
There are still many fields to explore (cultivated meat, alternative protein, personalization of food), although some unicorns are already beginning to emerge in this third generation...
Another indicator that footech is booming - VC investments in the space 📈
“According to estimations, by 2050 there will be 9 billion people living on earth. This will bring enormous challenges and a critical thought on how to change today's model (artificial fertilizers, pesticides, hormones in meat production, deforestation for farms, methane emissions, water consumption) ... but on the other hand a great opportunity for investments through sustainable solutions. Time for a change has already started!"
Carlos Guerra, Business Angel and partner at Cupido Capital
🚀 Today's Market Map
If we look closely at the entire food value chain and the path that food takes from planting to when we consume it, we can observe that almost all foodtech unicorns are consumer-facing or in digital distribution.
But what about the rest of the food value chain?
The race for the first primary production unicorn is on!
A very visual example of the current state of the foodtech ecosystem in Spain is the one created by the newspaper “El Referente”.
You can see not only the agents that compose it, but also the different subverticals that I mentioned before in a very graphic way and coinciding with the gastro-food value chain:
+ here are some examples of the current state of other ecosystems around the world:
To understand this new foodtech revolution and be able to surf the wave correctly, I recommend the following tips:
This technological revolution has nothing to do with the previous ones, which focused on the purely digital and not so much on the physical product
Food is a human experience and goes beyond a simple app or physical product, as we have to "put it inside our body”
The key to the success of foodtech startups will come not only from creating a good product, but from being “validated by society”
In addition, they must have profiles and teams much more diverse than startups from other verticals (chefs, researchers, CTOs, marketing, influencers...)
The foodtech vertical is much broader than the rest of the verticals that have emerged in “Startupland” to date, and there will appear many hybrid startups that will be in more than one vertical in addition to foodtech
Investors will have to be bolder if they want to find the future foodtech unicorns, since the metrics and paradigms used to date will not serve 100%
“FoodTech must pay special attention to Gastronomy. The New FoodTech Revolution should integrate leading technology with all the knowledge that Gastronomy naturally includes in a common space: sociology, anthropology, history, science and cooking. This interaction could lead to better solutions for the current food challenges”
Juan Carlos Arboleya, Associate Professor and Researcher at Basque Culinary Center
🐇 Follow the White Rabbit 🕳️
🦾 Basque Startup Ecosystem Map
The Basque Country’s startup ecosystem has grown notably in recent years.
Here’s a summary on how to navigate it:
In addition, with all the data from the agents I have prepared an interactive guide that you can navigate to know more the ecosystem and all the agents:
And finally, for the nerds ;) , here’s an analysis created with Graphex in which I analyze the relationship between the different agents of the ecosystem:
The Basque Country, which is a worldwide reference in multiple fields (Industry, gastronomy, tourism, language…) must reach the same standard of excellence in the creation of a startup ecosystem.
I hope these reports have shed some light on what is happening in our little ecosystem and help more people understand it!
Eskerrik asko eta AURRERA!
👋 If you want to know more about foodtech and the Basque Culinary Center or about Basque Country’s startup ecosystem, get in touch with Ander at 👉 firstname.lastname@example.org
💵 Recent Deals In Spain
You love startups and want to enjoy a Spanish lifestyle? Come join the Spanish startup ecosystem. Here’s a list of recently funded startups:
Clarity (fintech) raised 44M
Abacum (fintech) raised 22M
Cleverea (insuretech) raised 5M
IntegraTx (biotech) raised 4.5M
UFounders (accelerator) raised 3M
iNuba (health) raised 1.3M
Rentall (fintech) raised 1M
Educatly (edtech) raised 880K
Napptive (cloud) raised 500K
Cuidkers (social) raised 470K
Nominis (edtech) raised 180K
Videogaga (edtech) raised 100K
Trainingym (fitness) raised funds.
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