ICL, a leading global specialty minerals company, has partnered up with StartLife in its quest to invest in startups focused on new ways to address global challenges in food and agricultural production.  These challenges range from increasing yields and tackling food insecurity, to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.  With both organizations being fully geared toward accelerating the development and growth of early-stage startups, this partnership enables us to advance in our shared mission.

Headquartered in Israel, ICL Planet serves as the vehicle ICL uses to cultivate, nurture and accelerate innovation in the agrifood tech ecosystem, through open innovation and collaboration on a global basis.  Potential targets also include novel ways to recycle minerals, extract them from waste streams and convert them to fertilizers or to develop innovative functional proteins for clean label applications, among others.

Establishing new generation of plant nutrition solutions

“ICL Planet seeks to establish a new generation of plant nutrition solutions, and our aim is to invest in startups that can make a meaningful difference,” said Hadar Sutovsky, vice president of External Innovation at ICL Group.  Sutovsky first encountered StartLife through its annual summit – F&A Next – which is centered on disruptive agrifood technologies and brings together startups, investors and corporates from all over the world.

“Our aim is to invest in startups that can make a meaningful difference.”

~ Hadar Sutovsky

“StartLife has a strong track record of spotting and attracting promising early-stage startups globally, and its position at the heart of the European agrifoodtech 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,” continued Sutovsky.

Scaling and innovation puzzle

Laura Thissen (StartLife) and Hadar Sutovsky (ICL PLanet)

StartLife’s Operations Director, Laura Thissen, said, “Through this partnership, StartLife aims to accelerate startups’ scaling journey and, at the same time, support ICL in finding the best startups, which match their innovation challenges.  Our team is already identifying startups looking to partner and to help solve a piece of the innovation puzzle for ICL Planet.  The scope includes crop nutrition, such as next generation fertilizers and biostimulants, but also precision farming and alternative proteins.”

Thissen added, “To boost innovation, StartLife actively connects startups 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.”

Gains for startups

Startups have much to gain from a collaboration with ICL Planet, including market access, expertise and world class scientists, as well as the ability for sample testing.  As an on-the-ground industrial partner, ICL can also provide agronomic or food application feedback.  ICL Planet is already an active investor in several agrifood startups, most recently in alternative protein companies Plantible and Protera.

Startups interested in partnering with ICL Planet Startup Hub should contact StartLife to arrange an introduction.