All posts by Jantine

Founder Zzinga invited for lunch with the royal couple for excellent performance

Last week, Fabian Lindner of Zzinga, one of our startups, was invited to have lunch with His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima.

Once a year, they have an ‘uitblinkerslunch’ (luminaries lunch) with people who have been given a prize for their achievements to show their appreciation for these special people.

Fabian was invited because he has won the Student-Ondernemer Prijs (Student Entrepreneurship Prize).

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Boosting the Dutch innovation climate

PRESS RELEASE, Wageningen, March 18, 2019

Eight new food & agtech startups for StartLife’s Accelerate Program

A microbiologist producing sustainable proteins from micro-organisms and a technician who developed a robot for automated harvesting in greenhouses: just two of the eight promising high-tech startups selected to participate in the second StartLife Accelerate Program. It is the first program in the Netherlands entirely dedicated to supporting young food & agtech entrepreneurs in validating their businesses and raising funding. The startups were chosen from over 30 candidates, at the selection day organized by StartLife, March 12 in Wageningen.

“The selected startups have developed groundbreaking products and technologies that could have an enormous impact on industry and society – but only with an effective market strategy”, says Thomas van den Boezem, Program Director at StartLife. “That’s why we specifically chose them to participate in the StartLife program.”

Eight start-ups

The eight selected start-ups include:

  • FUMI Ingredients (sustainable proteins from micro-organisms),
  • PreMal (a high-performance mosquito trap),
  • SAIA Agrobotics (harvest and crop handling for greenhouses),
  • Wageningen Agricultural Monitoring (advanced monitoring of crop yields),
  • Clevabit (a smart decision-support system for cattle breeders),
  • Thelial (a nutraceutical that improves barrier function in the oesophagus),
  • TasteIndex (digitalization of taste to facilitate matching of food products),
  • PEF Technologies (non-thermal food processing and preservation technology)

StartLife Accelerate

Establishing a high-performing team, defining your value proposition, developing a go-to-market strategy and delivering a convincing investor pitch and business plan, and negotiating with investors, are just some of the elements that make up StartLife Accelerate both concentrated and effective. The three-month program is uniquely and entirely dedicated to guiding food and agtech startups towards growth and market success. Participants experience a high-quality curriculum and business support from Wageningen University & Research experts, and from qualified trainers and successful entrepreneurs. Each participant receives a €10k soft loan up-front, and €25k after successfully completing the program.

Selection procedure

Participants were selected via a two-step process: initially, entries were evaluated on their innovativity, stage of development (entrepreneurs need to have a prototype or most-valuable player) and market potential. Fifteen of these entries were invited to the selection day. The young entrepreneurs had to present themselves from three different perspectives:

  1. The people behind the startup and their personal drive and motivation.
  2. The value proposition of their product or technology.
  3. The market opportunities and challenges. The presentations were reviewed by the StartLife team together with independent investors.


StartLife believes that startups are the propelling force behind the food and agtech innovations required to meet future global food demand. The company fosters entrepreneurship in food and agtech, and supports entrepreneurs in translating innovative business ideas into global enterprises. StartLife collaborates closely with Wageningen University & Research and other knowledge institutes, multinationals, government organizations and investors. Since 2011 it has built, supported and funded 300+ startups, in bringing breakthrough technologies, to market.

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Startup Week 2019

The past weeks at StartHub were dedicated to the Realisation Program where students were challenged to realize their validated propositions. During the Startup Week, nine entrepreneur(ial) teams dedicated their time to learn more about sustainable business models, pitching, negotiating and implementing this knowledge to tweak their business plan. During the prototyping weekend a week later, students who passed the ideation stage were given the opportunity to create a tangible product to bring their idea forward.

Education Project Services

Education Project Services connects projects and assignments from society with the study programs of Wageningen University & Research. A company, startup, foundation or other societal partner that wants to start a project or assignment with students from the university, can enlist the help of Education Project Services.

Education Project Services asserts whether the question is suited for the students’ expertise and whether the assignment is complex enough and of an academic level. Then, it considers how the assignment fits in the curriculum. Education Project Services advises the commissioner in finding a suitable course and adjusting the definition of the question.

Mono- and multidisciplinary courses

Wageningen University & Research offers collaborations in education in mono- and multidisciplinary courses. In mono-disciplinary courses, students from one educational program or specialization deal with the problems posed by the initiators. This can be done in all domains of the university (see Figure 1). Students work part-time on a case in groups of 5 to 7 people for 1 to 2 months.

Figure 1: Domains in which Wageningen University & Research is active

For the multidisciplinary Academic Consultancy Training (ACT), Education Project Services looks for suitable assignments all year through. Teams of 5 to 7 students from different educational programs work on a case for 8 weeks. The commissioner gives advice to the students in the form of feedback. He also reimburses the students for incurrent costs. The course is taught five times a year. At the moment, Education Project Services is looking for projects for the period May-July (deadline: March 22). On the website you can find a form to submit a proposal. Do you have questions or an interesting case to work on with students? Contact Jelle Van Leeuwen

Meet up with the Agri-Food sector at the CROP Innovation & Business conference

At the CROP Innovation & Business conference on April 14-16, 2019 at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam you’re able to meet up with the international Agri-Food sector and explore business opportunities. Encounter new ideas. Expand your network. Engineer opportunities.

During this bi-annual conference the most influential trends that will affect crop innovation and value chain strategies will be addressed including indoor farming, whole genome sequencing, artificial intelligence, precision agriculture, consolidation, economic growth and sustainability. Want to know what the sector’s next big success story is going to be? It’s a story you could be part of!

The program

Take a look at the program with speakers from companies like BASF Bioscience Research – EuropaBio – Agrifirm – Anterra Capital – Bayer Crop Science – Bioseed – bloomon – Corteva – DCM – De Vegetarische Slager – Deroose Plants – Dümmen Orange – Fall Creek Farm and Nursery, Inc. – Iden Biotechnology – Inari – KeyGene – KWS Group – Limagrain Vegetable Seeds – Maïsadour Semences – Meijer Potato – Microsoft Corporation – Naturex – Nestlé SA – Olam – Plantum – Priva – PureCircle Ltd. – Rijk Zwaan – Royal van Zanten and Unilever.

Order your ticket now and receive a 10% discount by using the code STARTLIFE10% upon registration. Go straight to the registration page: 

Poster presentation for PhD students and Postdocs

PhD students and Postdocs are invited to join the poster presentation corner at the CROP Innovation & Business conference. For more information, please contact

Rabobank Sustainable Innovation Award

Thanks to the Rabobank Sustainable Innovation Award, the possibility of making a difference in society as well as in the sector comes a step closer. The Rabobank Sustainable Innovation Award 2019 is awarded in three categories:

1. Food & Agri

Innovations for sustainable agriculture and food supply
Innovations aimed at:

  • Improving food production by using new technologies
  • Providing the growing world population with sufficient, safe and satisfying food
  • Realizing less strain on the environment and surroundings
  • Pursuing more transparent chains and sustainable, efficient chain management

2. Circular economy & climate

Innovations for a more sustainable economy
Innovations with the goal to:

  • Close the cycle of resources or nutrients
  • Lower the emission of greenhouse gases
  • Lower or enhance sustainability of use of energy and resources
  • Innovative initiatives to create chains together

3. Vital communities & care

Innovations for vitality, quality of life and good care
Innovations that:

  • Promote vitality and quality of life
  • Stimulate initiatives in which people work together for a common interest
  • Safeguard efficient and sensible care for now and the future

Daring, feasible and profitable

The Rabobank Sustainable Innovation Award is for entrepreneurs that dare to bring their innovations forward and mean something valuable to society. They show the world feasible and profitable innovations that are in the final stages of development, with societal impact and to ultimately create a better world. It is for entrepreneurs who want to grow and contribute to the improvement of society.


In 2019, the Rabobank Sustainable Innovation Award will again be awarded. Do you have the invention with which you are making a difference in society? You can apply until May 31, 2019.