Return to blog

FoodTech, AquaTech and AgriTech - where crazy people with big dreams are finding new ways to feed the world.

Anna Barlow avatar

Anna Barlow

Published on

FoodTech, AquaTech and AgriTech - where crazy people with big dreams are finding new ways to feed the world.

Over the past three months I’ve been reminded on a daily basis why I have the best job in the world. In December, Startupbootcamp started scouting for food tech startups from all over the world to find the top 10 to match our FoodTech Tasmania Accelerator themes.The team started with a long list of 18,000 startups and we have now reduced this list down to approximately 800 startups that we’ve started speaking to over the past 5 weeks. We speak to the founders of these startups and hear their stories, learn the WHY behind their ideas and find out about their people, business model and plans for the next 12 months.

So far I have spoken to over 50 founders from every continent except Antarctica. Most evenings after I finish my last call, I’m reminded of the line from Apple’s “Think Different” campaign: “because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do”.

The definition of crazy in my 1986 copy of the Oxford English Dictionary defines: crazy: insane; foolish, lacking sense (a crazy idea); colloq. extremely enthusiastic (about)...

Startup founders, including the ones I’ve been speaking to over the last 5 weeks and many others that I’ve encountered on my journey, are definitely a little crazy, however I like to think of it as “good crazy”.

Founders are people that have immense enthusiasm to solve the problems they have identified and are passionate about solving them. To those of us that are more risk averse, it's likely that the startup founder could be seen as foolish - for example if they have walked away from a steady income to chase their dreams.

What I love about speaking to founders and hearing their stories is that every single person I talk to has made a really brave choice. They aren’t sitting still and waiting for change. They ARE the change.

The startups we speak to that fit under the theme of Food, Aqua and AgriTech are  individuals and teams working on solutions that make the food, aquatic and agricultural production system safer, more efficient, more sustainable, more transparent and quite simply BETTER so that we can move forward as a human race.

To give some examples, I recently spoke to a founder from a beef farming family in Argentina, who are manufacturing plant-based proteins through fermentation. Another  startup uses solar power to ensure quality of fresh produce in Africa, with a “refrigeration as a service” business model that is helping reduce food waste and food insecurity. And there’s a business that uses sludge from animal farms like piggeries to convert into high quality fertiliser.

If you want to know who caught your lobster and which part of the Tasmanian coast it came from, there are traceability tech startups that could tell you. If you run a restaurant and are finding it difficult to manage stock control and reduce wastage, there are startups with food tech solutions for that too. If you grow crops and have issues with lack of water, there’s an AgriTech startup that makes polymers from organic citrus waste when applied to your crops that reduces the need for watering by 40%. And there are many startups finding ways to sustainably feed aquacultured fish, poultry and domestic pets with the help of the humble black soldier fly feasting on food and agri waste.

To continue to feed the people on our planet sustainable, we face a multitude of problems.  The latest reports show that these problems have increased since the pandemic began. The Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger, which aims to “End hunger, achieve food security by improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture” still has a very long way to go. I feel certain that if we continue to increase our focus to invest in, mentor and support the “crazy ones” we stand a chance to get there.

If you’d like to find out how you can get involved as a startup, investor, corporate partner or mentor on Startupbootcamp’s 2022 FoodTech Tasmania Accelerator check out our website and get in touch

Anna Barlow avatar

Anna Barlow

Food Innovation Partner @ Startupbootcamp Australia