How do I apply?
1) Go to your StartLife Account.
2) Search for a mentor who suits your needs and is available.
3) Request a connection and set your first meeting
Two people know more than one. Especially if one of them has years of experience under their belt. Add a critical foundational component to your new business by seeking advice and guidance from someone who has already travelled the road you’re on.
At StartLife we believe that startups are the driving force behind innovation and that innovative agrifoodtech startups can make a lasting impact on the world. However, the fact that only one out of every ten startups thrives past the five year mark, indicates that entrepreneurs who enter the food and agri domain face many challenges.
Research has demonstrated that 70% of SMEs that receive mentoring survive for five years or more. Well-known founders of the world’s leading companies have reached out to mentors in their early days, and often still do. So why not consider a startup mentor and double your chances of success? Go ahead, it’s free.
Your mentor is an experienced sparring partner with a passion for startups. He or she will share insights, information, knowledge and experiences around entrepreneurship and help you understand the nuances of the business and the varied nature of the markets at hand.
Your business is your business and your responsibility. A mentor will ask relevant questions but will not provide you with all the answers. Your mentor will not replace Google Search or you as the decision maker. So be prepared to listen, ask questions and reach your own conclusions.
Your mentor is most likely well-connected and might – but is not obliged to – open certain doors for you that result in access to early customer trials, strategic partnerships, potential customers, interested investors and more.
Most likely the moment you ask yourself this question. The start of a mentorship is often, but not necessarily, linked to an important business situation that requires a decision or a critical change that is about to happen. Sparring with a seasoned entrepreneur or professional at moments like that, can help you build up the extra confidence you need to do the right thing.
Depending on your need, your mentor will be available for a maximum of 4 hours a month. Together with your mentor you’ll agree upon the duration and number of interactions per month.
Our startup mentors once stood where you are now and are intrinsically motivated to help you any way that they can to enable you to build a solid company and grow as an entrepreneur. They offer their service free of charge, often in their spare time.
All mentors have signed agreements with StartLife that assure confidentiality.
1) Go to your StartLife Account.
2) Search for a mentor who suits your needs and is available.
3) Request a connection and set your first meeting
Purpose driven mentor with 20+ years food and non-food experience working across most European markets. Strong network with CPG players and retailers. Established consultancy business 68North with mission to accelerate sustainable and disruptive food solutions.
Compounding one degree shifts will lead to a whole new destination.
I have a passion for innovation and change. I have a lot of fun when I can help innovative start-ups further. Change is also the driving force when I coach people; who are stuck in any area and want to change something.
My strength is to keep asking questions and get to the heart of the matter. This is my basic attitude by nature, and has been reinforced by extensive experience in coaching, system constellations, and mediation. People describe me as strategic, driven and reliable.
From my own company “VanAltvorst” I am active as a coach and chairman of the Advisory Board of innovative companies.
As a business developer at InnovationQuarter, I support companies in bringing innovations to the market, for example by sharpening the value proposition and helping to improve business models.
I have a large and diverse network in international greenhouse horticulture, Vertical Farming and protein transition.
I studied plant breeding in Wageningen and obtained my PhD in plant biotechnology in Nijmegen.
The choices you make as a founder and activities you conduct in the early stages of your business are vital to maximizing the chance of becoming a true scale-up. If your startup is in this critical phase, I am offering you my support to help you reach your relevant milestones and prepare for future growth. I can you assist you with scaling your organization, provide candid and actionable feedback on your proposition and business model or simply create relevant entries by connecting parties and ideas.
I’m interested in any agri, horti, food and biotech startup with the ambition to make a significant positive impact by contributing to a more sustainable food system. Hence, the proposition should be scalable and the founder team competent, experienced and well balanced. In particular, I am keen on supporting B2B startups involved in Horti, protein shift, food waste, agritech and circular concepts.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
Ana Carolina Bajarunas is founder and CEO of Builders Construtoria. She is a creator of the Foodtech Movement, and has launched the first Brazilian AgriFoodTech Map.
Ana will utilize her experience building the AgriFoodTech Movement in Brazil, gathering all level of Food Chain stakeholders looking for precise, in depth information about this sector and generating new businesses. She enjoys the challenging entrepreneurism realm with resilience, hard work and focus in what really matters.
With twenty years of experience in Corporate Communication, Ana is a specialist in Business Innovation. She has worked in global companies such as Santander, Mastercard, FMC, Nespresso, Brastemp, Zurich and Bosch. Here she was responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring of Business Innovation projects in the Food, Agribusiness, Financial, Consumer Goods and Entertainment sectors.
Ana hold a bachelor degree in Communication & Advertising from Methodist University of Piracicaba. Ana is passionate about innovation and everything that can transform business and the human being in a positive way.
I’d be thrilled to share my experience building the AgriFoodtech Movement in Brazil, gathering all level of Food Chain stakeholders looking for precise, in depth information about this sector and generating new businesses. Also good talks about how to thrive this challenging entrepreneurism realm with resilience, hard work and focus in what really matters.
She is interested in startups in the field of AgriFoodTech in general, from farm to fork and beyond.
“I like the impossible because there is less competition”Walt Disney
Edwin Bark is an experienced c-level manager and investor.
Edwin is a senior executive who gained experience in the personal care, consumer healthcare and Food&Agri industry. He has worked extensively in the fields of Marketing, Sales and General Management and is passionate about Brands in the FMCG industry. As an investor, Edwin is involved in startups in marketing & advertising tech (Collider.io) and acts as a board advisor to private equity as well.
Through his most recent roles in Food&Agri, as well as in Consumer healthcare, Edwin developed a strong interest in health and sustainability topics. While investigating the possibilities to build an eco-system of innovation around Nestlé’s Tivall Europe, he got involved in StartLife and became very enthusiastic about the StartLife program and the opportunity to share his experience with young entrepreneurs.
Edwin has seen several startups optimizing and changing their proposition (pivoting) without quick market validation. The advantage of startups (versus big corporates) is their ability to test, learn and go fast, so that’s what they have to do. And this requires focus. Quite often, the entrepreneurs see plenty of opportunities and have difficulties in choosing one of them. Startups should think big and act big, but start small and focused.
Edwin is open to a conversation with startups from the StartLife network.
Huub Beelen is a recently retired general manager at Limagrain Benelux. With a long tenure in the breeding business, in the position of general manager and marketing manager, he knows the sector like no other. Aside from his in depth sector knowledge he is very skilled in business strategy, management and marketing. He also purchased seed treatments for Limagrain Europe for many years.
Today, in the spirit of the Limagrain cooperative, Huub is setting up a Herenboederij (Farmers Cooperative). The farmers co-op, also known as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), refers to a partnership between one or more farmers and a community of members. It is a small farming co-operative, owned by approximately 200 families (“Herenboeren”). Together they decide what to eat and what the farm will produce. The farmer, who is employed by the co-operative, grows a dozen types of fruits and vegetables and looks after the farm animals for the production of meat and eggs.
Huub obtained an engineering degree in plant breeding from Wageningen University & Research.
I can quickly identify opportunities and threats in agriculture, and have a broad network.
Jeoffrey van den Berg is a serial-entrepreneur who just loves the challenge of starting up new activities.
Starting up new activities is what Jeoffrey does best. He has been enjoying it for more than 15 years already. As as student he built a company that developed high-tech energy management systems for pleasure yachts. Later he built and successfully sold his company Flowid, which involved high tech chemical reactors that are implemented in production processes in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry worldwide. For some time he was interim CFO at SAIA Agrobotics, one of StartLife’s startups. And now he is actively involved with floating solar parks.
Jeoffrey’s strength is being able to translate difficult and abstract technology into understandable transparent concepts that makes people enthusiastic. With great pleasure he has given countless presentations that have led to different awards, but more importantly, in the trust and adaptation of a newcomer in a highly conservative industry. He likes to create motivated and professional teams and know how to convert relationships into win-win partnerships.
I’m interested in your story. We can share experiences, see how we can manage risks and most important, find ways to get your company up to speed.
Ciska is a hands-on corporate entrepreneur with a strong passion for the agrifood sector. As co-founder and CEO she launched a successful international corporate spin-out. Currently she is involved with initiating, developing and accelerating new business propositions in the context of Food System Transition within Rabobank. As a former corporate venture builder, she co-developed multiple propositions for several big corporates.
Her strength is an unstoppable drive to understand customer’s problems and subsequently test, (in)validate and iterate on a solution that solves the problem and turns the solution into a profitable business model. Her expertise covers the spectrum from idea phase up to and including product-market fit.
‘Vision without execution is just hallucination’ – Henry Ford
Through his background in marketing, Sebastiaan Bierma is a commercial guy with a strategic, long-term vision. He has been successful by building relationships both on the production side as well as in distribution. At the start of his international career, he worked with multinational organisations in food as well as luxury/lifestyle products in various countries.
After completing his MBA, Sebastiaan moved to work in different commercial roles for startups and scale-ups. There he learned that commercial success depends on the strength of the partnerships you create around you.
As one of the founders of Unica Global, parent company of Jovie Organic Goatmilk Formulas, he developed a specialty food product, while building a brand from scratch and rolling out an international sales network.
His most recent professional move is in the field of animal healthcare. A completely different field altogether, although strategic partnerships will again be the key to success.
Sebastiaan Grew up in Belgium, studied in The Netherlands (MSc International Business, Maastricht University) and in Spain (Executive MBA, IE Business School) and worked and lived in Belgium, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico and Spain.
Particularly interested in niche products with unique product characteristics that can make a difference in the lives of the consumer.
Experience in marketing and sales but above all relationship building. Strong cultural understanding. Experience in working with multinationals, large accounts as well as startups and scale-ups in various countries around the world. On your path to success, you will inevitably have to make countless decisions. Often, with only partial knowledge on the topic in question. I hope to be able to help guide you in this process and limit making mistakes.
If you want to grow your revenue fast, you must be ready to share it with others first.
Elise is an international, strategic, and creative marketing executive and senior leader with 25 years of experience in the (healthy) food business with global companies such as Danone, Nutricia, and Arla Foods. She is driven by a passion for creating relevant consumer-centric innovations, meaningful brands, and communication that triggers. When Startups have technical solutions but they do not know how to address this idea with consumers or how to position it in general to other companies, she can help. Through her work at Arla, she has also worked with agricultural needs and challenges and how to address them. With many years of experience working in an international environment and across functional teams, so she knows how big corporates work and this might be relevant for Startups pitching toward corporates. She has proven leadership and people management skills so can also help with team questions and expanding teams in times of growth. Elise brings high energy and speed and values clarity, honesty, and doing good for people and the planet. It is also important for her to have fun while working hard on achieving goals. Elise has an MSc degree in Economics and Business from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and is currently doing an Executive Leadership program at THNK, school for creative leadership in Amsterdam. She wants to use her broad international food experience to help drive change and transformation in the food system.
I can offer many years of experience working in big food companies, like Danone and Arla Foods. I know my way around big corporates and know how they collaborate across functions and markets. I have worked successfully on how to create innovations and how to roll them out across different countries. I am passionate about business ideas that make a difference to people and the planet.
Instead of a quote I really like the German word for passion which is:
It can be translated as the ‘act of suffering’. It means to me, that when you are really passionate about something you don’t give up. You dig deep to go for it with all that you have.
Having served in multiple international senior leadership roles, Alexandra is passionate about driving the full innovation chain from concept design to product delivery. She has extensive experience in science-based concept ideation, product development, clinical evidence generation, market introduction and digital service activation. Her long-term conviction is that tailored food supplements can support the health of vulnerable people and therefore she has spent most of her professional career in the category of specialized nutrition.
In her most recent roles, Alexandra led large and diverse international innovation teams for Danone Nutriciain the Netherlands and Singapore. In Singapore she has set up an incubator hub on digital health innovation for Danone Early Life Nutrition, engaging with multiple startups. Through these roles, she has developed a strong interest in driving innovation by connecting startups and their breakthrough concepts to larger companies with their upscaling facilities and operation & logistics capabilities. The aim is an acceleration of value creation for all. However, this is a complex interaction as startups and corporates are organized in different ways and are operating on different timescales. Her experience and network, which she is happy to share with young entrepreneurs in StartLife , may facilitate this interaction.
I like to share my experience and learnings on the interactions between startups and large corporations with you, with the ambition to accelerate innovation and together come to true breakthrough concepts.
I am passionate about nutrition concepts that are rooted in science and have a profound impact on people’s health and wellbeing.
“Food innovation is a key driver of good health.”
Tom van den Boogaart is a global account director at IQVIA, a leader in helping healthcare companies accelerate innovation. Tom has had a passion for the life sciences for the majority of his professional career which is due to a combined interest in biology and the wish “to contribute to solving the challenges the world is facing today”. Having worked across geographies, cultures, companies and disciplines Tom understands that commercial success is about integrative thinking.
While most organizations still have separate functions/departments that focus either on sales, marketing, business development and even strategy, it is the integration and alignment that is the key to success. Sales cannot work without aligning with marketing and vice versa, strategy is not about trying to do everything but about focus and deciding where not to play, and business development does not equal sales.
I offer you my above-mentioned skills and fields-of-expertise.
I am keen on helping startups with the ambition to tackle the bigger issues that our society faces today, and particularly founders that appreciate my ability to ask the difficult questions that need to be asked.
“That what does not kill me makes me stronger.”Friedrich Nietzsche
Martine Boon is global head banking for food education & engagement at Rabobank. Martine has a broad experience within the financial industry, in a wide range of financial product offering such as AgriProject Finance, Leverage Finance and Special Asset Management, and also in leadership roles.
Martine has demonstrated strong execution power, a good sense of engagement experience and has excellent cooperation and communication skills. She is currently member of the Board of Advisors of SantePartners (large care company in Holland) and is therein member of the Audit Committee.
Provide feedback on (financial) businessplan, sharing and access to Food & Agri knowledge, insight into Food Security Challenge and related topics, access to network in Food & Agri and potential investors.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”Charles Darwin
Holding a PhD in protein chemistry, Johan Boot has over 25 years of experience in food and food ingredient innovation. He has a broad knowledge of innovation process management, strategy definition, portfolio and cross-functional project management and business development for novel products for the business-to-consumer and the business-to-business food industry.
For over two decades, Johan worked at Unilever, both in central R&D and in operating companies, mostly in global roles. He lead large innovation project teams across functions and cultures in Europe, Asia and the Americas, providing him a proven track record of commercially successful product innovations and an extensive global network. Also later at Griffith Foods, a global family-owned food ingredient company, Johan was responsible for implementing innovation process management. Johan was also Vof the newly founded Hampton Creek Foods (now EAT JUST); a company that develops plant-based and cultured meat products for retail and foodservice outlets. Together with the company’s founder, he laid the foundation for this successful venture capital-funded startup in San Francisco.
Today, Johan is an independent consultant helping companies and startups in accelerating the protein shift and stimulating the circular economy.
Combining my technical and business expertise in both corporate and startup business environments, I can help startups define commercially viable ideas, translate these into product concepts and subsequently bringing these successfully to the market. My strength is creating fully integrated technical and commercial teams and ecosystems.
Startups that are instrumental in accelerating the protein shift: working on plants, algae, seaweeds or insects as novel protein sources. Startups that develop new ways of upcycling food side- and waste streams. Bringing these from the idea stage all the way to the scaleup stage.
“If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”
Erik has a background in the Healthcare and Nutrition & Health industry with 25+ years’ experience in various commercial, strategy and general management roles both with corporates and startups / scaleups.
Before starting his own consultancy company in 2014 and co-founding NutriLeads (food ingredients with proven health benefits) in 2015, he has worked for 20 years at Baxter International and Danone of which many years in regional and global executive positions.
At NutriLeads he and the team have built a health ingredient company from scratch based on 2 patents. When handing over his CEO responsibilities late 2022 NutriLeads had its first ingredient BeniCaros® (trains the immune system to respond faster) on the market in the US, Bayer Consumer Health as their launching customer and DSM as a distribution partner for premixes. The team was ready to grow the company with new ingredients and new territories to the next phase.
He is now exploring various new opportunities as well as supporting startups and scaleups based on his dual experience with corporates and startups/scaleups.
Erik grew up in The Netherlands, studied at the Technical University Delft, The Netherlands (MSc Mechanical Engineering) and at IMD in Switzerland (MBA).
Skills and expertise:
Interested in talking to people working on Nutrition & Health innovations both B2B and B2C.
Dax Denneboom is commercial director at Ahold Delhaize and founder of New Foodtech / Agtech Venture.
Dax has been guiding business strategy for small entrepreneurial companies and large corporations, credited with 10 years of food B2C business marketing (Nestlé and FrieslandCampina), and 8 years of online retail and e-commerce experience (Hema). Talent for developing and empowering large teams and launching innovative programs, recognized for growing sales, improving processes, and developing robust and scalable business. Lifelong learner and listener with a reputation for honesty and integrity. THNK-er. Strong passion for nature and food.
I love the unlimited passion that entrepreneurs have in developing their idea into a growing and healthy company. Their drive and unique perspective on reaching their goals is truly contagious. I bring a strong focus on consumer insights, setting priorities and delivering differentiated propositions to the market. I strongly believe in asking the right question on the right moment. This will bring the right reflection on solving problems or grabbing the right opportunities.
Besides my personal knowledge and competences, I offer access to my network in the categories (food, hard goods, fashion), in specific sectors (digital marketing, e-commerce, retail and FMCG) and capital (VC and PE).
Han van den Elshout is currently R&D Manager at Internsnack, a major manufacturer of potato chips and snacks in Europe. Han has a strong operational experience in FMCG, having been involved in operations and innovation management for the last 20 years. Starting in finance, he moved on to project management followed by innovation management of a broad portfolio. In this role he was also process and ingredient responsible and created clear strategies for business improvement based on lean management and continuous improvement. In addition, Han has strong experience with change management,
He has been actively involved in big organizational changes, like factory closures, several organization optimization projects and the creation of a European Centre of Operational Excellence in Paris, which has been his base for 2 years. In his current role as R&D manager at Internsnack, he is responsible for companywide Nuts and Peanut butter category as well as innovation management for the Benelux division.
Han has a MBA from the University of San Francisco, and a BSc in Agricultural Engineering.
A sparring partner who is willing to challenge and work together to come to optimized viable concepts or final applications. Doing this in a structured way, applying proven project management principles.
Ambitious startups in the food sector with a sound base idea or concept.
“Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”Steve Jobs
Nikolas Fhalskog is managing director of Innovation Catalyzer. Nikolas has more than 15 years of experience in breakthrough innovation and commercialization.
Examples: Philips One-Blade, Philips NutriU healthy food platform, HotBox startup Wageningen: Veggie meat business model, Greencovery: Business strategy
I help catalyze your innovation to healthy & sustainable experiences people will Love. Understand, Design, Deliver & Scale! Together we can make our world a better place!
I offer a unique mix of experience in Product & Service creation combined with Marketing & Business Innovation. Corporate and serial entrepreneur having created several Digital and Physical products (as a service) models. Fast and creative thought leader with hands-on advice to create solid proof fast (or pivot).
I’m most excited about food and Agri-tech products and services (digital and/or physical). My experience in Products & Marketing for among other things sensor (iOT) as a service, consumer engagement platforms, restaurant delivery services, kitchen appliances and even as professional cook may be of use for you and your team.
In my free time I’m passionate about Skiing, Rowing and playing music.
No one can predict the future, but we can decide what we prefer the future to be.
It’s no miracle, it is persistent curiosity, creativity and hard work! (leveraging our experience and network)
Bart Fischer is the owner of a company providing advisory support to companies operating in the food sector as well as start-ups/scale-ups ready for accelerating their growth. Currently, he is actively supporting SLE Enterprises (liquid encapsulation) and Verdify (personalized nutrition). Before this, he was a managing director at Accenture, a global professional services company for 25 years.
Bart is an enthusiastic professional combining excellent management skills with the ability to connect and engage, resulting in effective long-lasting cooperation and impactful results. He has over 25 years of experience in business development, account management, project management, innovation, digital marketing and transformation through multiple complex value-driven assignments within global high tech, medical equipment, retail and FMCG/ CPG companies operating in the front of their industries. As such, he has deep expertise in client delivery with a clear execution and result focus demonstrated by leading multiple complex and/or innovative engagements within complicated international client environments. In addition, he has performed several business development roles, always focused on opening up new markets, new clients, and realizing growth.
Bart has an MSc in Business Economics from the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Next to this, he is a certified Supervisory Board member from the Governance University. Finally, he has recently completed the education for being a professional cook at ROC Midden Nederland.
He is a passionate runner, reader, and traveler, especially to countries with tasteful national dishes. In addition, he volunteers at Buurtbuik (bring social cohesion by cooking meals from food surplus) and ImpactHub (focused on creating sustainable innovation) and PUM (enable the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries and emerging markets).
I am analytical and structured, sincere and no-nonsense, driven and curious, value-focused and persistent. Given this and coupled with my passion for stimulating new developments – especially in the area of food, technology and societal impact -, I can you assist you with scaling your organization, provide candid and actionable feedback on your proposition and business model or simply create relevant entries by connecting parties and ideas.
In general, interested in talking to anyone aimed at changing the eating habits of people, thereby creating less environmental impact, better health proposition or taking into account personal circumstances (e.g. personalized nutrition). In addition, interest in startups focusing on food services trends (e.g. dark kitchen, reduce waste).
“Life is short, eat dessert first!”
Gisella Frijlink is owner of Frijlink interim & advice and CEO of NIZO Group, a leading contract research company in food & health, based in Food Valley. Gisella has a strong background as senior executive in the Food industry and at Research Institutes. She has operated as executive and non-executive board member for numerous organizations, including Beko, Wageningen University & Research, Eurofins Analytico, Frieslandcampina, CSK and Aviko Rixona, to name but a few.
I am interested to help startups, who work in the field of a clear societal challenge, in the field of life science & health to define their business case, position the startup in the marketplace and find their market opportunities.
“An idea is only great if you are able to inspire others with your idea and make them part of the success.”
I am passionate about research and innovation that matters. I translate research, technology, and consumer needs to propositions that create societal impact. I am an industrial engineer by education and the first 10 years of my career I worked for Vodafone and Philips building, marketing, and selling propositions for consumers based on newest technologies. Then I switched to the agri food sector and worked with researchers, food companies, and entrepreneurs to help to change the food system towards a more sustainable one.
Don’t dream your life, live your dreams
Bernhard Herbort has longtime experience in the livestock, feed ingredient and additive industry. He occupied various B2B sales, business development, global technical marketing and market intelligence positions in enterprises like Nutreco, Cargill, Euroduna Group and Lohmann Animal Health. He holds a doctoral degree in agricultural sciences (Dr. sc. agr) from Goettingen University based on his scientific research on an animal health related subject at the former Federal Research Institution on Agriculture (FAL) in Germany. Furthermore, he holds a degree as Assessor of Agricultural Economics (Ass. agr.) based on a related post graduate traineeship (ag consultancy, teachership, administration) with the German federal state North Rhine – Westphalia, and a degree as Distribution Engineer (sales, marketing, project management).
Through his academic and business career Bernhard has gained very broad and deep technical, commercial and (innovation) project management competences, which makes him a truly valuable startup mentor. Through StartLife, Bernhard helps agrifoodtech startups to find and really understand the right target markets, manage their projects and successfully commercialize their ideas.
I offer you a life-time of experience in cross-functional technical marketing in and around agriculture, livestock, feed/food ingredients, animal protein production and related value chains. If you are looking for a sparring partner that helps broaden your view and raise critical questions that will improve your decision making, then I look forward to becoming your startup mentor. It will also be my sincere pleasure to help you further develop your ideas and conceptual/strategic approaches.
I am looking forward to supporting startups, in any stage of development, committed to any sustainable, future-oriented solution in the fields of…
Or any startup beyond the specific industries mentioned above seeking for a supportive sparring partner in matters of (B2B) sales, marketing or project management.
“So the problem is not so much to see what nobody has yet seen, as to think what nobody has yet thought concerning that which everybody sees.”Arthur Schopenhauer
Alex Hoogers is Sales Manager Food & Beverages at Friesland Campina I have more than 12 year experience in Export Sales & Account Management. I have worked in the Middle East & Africa as an Export Manager, trading commodities with local distributors and agents. I travelled through Europe as an international key account manager, building trust & business with the key infant food nutrition producers. I have sold creamers & foamers into the world of Food & Beverages on the European Market. From these experiences I have learned that you always have to have your basics in place. A good understanding of the needs & trends in your focus markets, a solution that fits the need of your customer(s) (or is at least appealing to him/her) ánd a competitive edge to your competition. Only then you can start working on a trustful relationship with your clients, so business can flourish. Managing this process from beginning to end is what makes my heart tick!
Lennaert Jonkers is the founder of DevelopMinded and venture partner at Social Impact Capital and actively promotes purpose-driven growth strategies that drive impact.
He has broad experience guiding high-growth companies on strategy execution, providing strategic advice and support in developing governments and corporations’ interventions. Lennaert serves also on various advisory & evaluation boards, an investment committee member, and an Expert Network member at the World Economic Forum. He is committed to developing the necessary execution capabilities and mindset to enable companies and organizations to thrive in today’s fast-changing world.
Lennaert has strong familiarity with the following technological verticals: fintech, health- & biotech, (agri)foodtech, smart city, agetech, earth observation and cleantech and he has worked with over 800 startup companies in the last six years with the majority of them being deep-tech.
Support with strategy, business development, proposition, investor readiness, team development
Strategy, Capital Raising and Operational Excellence Expert.
Jobbe Jorna, founder of Upstream Performance, has gained the trust of multiple (multi)nationals to guide and support them realize their full potential. He is known for setting the standard in the role of organization advisor, business coach and investor in various senior level positions, amongst others ING, KPMG, Philips, Signify (Horti Culture), Nobian and Nutreco (Animal Nutrition & Aqua Culture).
Seasoned trainer in Lean Six Sigma and Project Finance at various companies and institutions. Jobbe differentiates himself through a hands-on approach.
Whether your organization requires capital or seek operational excellence Jobbe is your dedicated partner to accelerate growth, optimize operational expenses and help realize your full potential. His main characteristics are a pro-active change & project manager with entrepreneurial mindset and result driven team player.
Jobbe has a master’s degree in business administration from University of Amsterdam.
• Agile/ Lean Startup• Investor Readiness and Capital Raising • Operational Excellence
Let us build the bridge together as you walk on it. With our head in the sky and feet in the mud. Feel free to contact me, I am happy to support you in order to accelerate growth and realize your full potential.
My key focus areas within AgriTech are around strategic design thinking, investor readiness and operational excellence. If this sounds like a fit with your startup, let’s talk!
When you can dream it, you can do it!
Ubald Kragten is the founder and owner of EyE on I, advising startups, investors and innovative companies on their insights, investment and innovation strategy and processes. He’s broad industry experience and knowledge in areas like the food and agriculture transition, the energy transition, mobility, urbanization and more. He’s working together with leading future focused companies and technology experts in various domains creating the leverage to support both small and large companies and connect market needs with technology opportunities.
Prior to starting his own company, he was co-leading the strategy process for selected growth areas like the protein transition at DSM, a global company focusing on health, nutrition and biosciences. He was also leading several pre-seed venture activities targeted at securing seed investment with a focus on food and biotech. He was strongly involved in shaping the long-term innovation portfolio of DSM, identifying growth areas, defining strategies to enter these areas, and developing strategies and key market insights.
Ubald has a global network along the food value chain, is frequently interacting with investors and various accelerators in EU and beyond.
I’ve build various ventures and I’m actively supporting startups in realizing their growth ambition in agri, food, biotech and sustainable materials. I can create focus, define key opportunities to capture as well as identify key risks to mitigate.
I’m interested in supporting startups active in the food transition, new, more sustainable and healthy food ingredients, plant-based as well as biotech and more. I’m also interested in startups working on AI/digital solutions for smarter, more efficient processes in both food and agri.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”— Margaret Mead”
Christine is R&D Director Food Solutions of Unilever. She truly believes in PURPOSE driven mentality. So everything she does is linked to her own PURPOSE: To do things that REALLY matter. Things that will make the world a better place: for all living beings and with people. Why? Because this is my energy engine and this is her purpose in life.
With over 20 years of experience in Research and Developing reaching from University education, clinical research in a medical environment, to food product development & experience in different Foods Business models (retail and out of home business), she is at her best when managing complexity, during change and dynamics in rapidly transforming markets. She combines her strong business mind, with her natural verve for leading people & embracing cultural differences. Motivational leadership is where she is at her best, especially in tough times and crisis.
Christine is powerful without being concerned for the hierarchy and builds her relationships on trust, accountability and doing the right thing. She does not have the reputation as someone to blend in to get along- and she is unafraid to go against the grain. She never thinks twice about standing alone, if it is in the interest of the business.
Sharing experience based on more than 20 years of experience in science development in industry, clinical research and university. Coaching and guidance, reality check (risk assessment), building short-midldle – longterm roadmaps. How to build a smashing selling story.
Early phase startups that need guidance. Out of the box ideas. Food or agricultural science. Medical/physiological based. Digital tooling & applications. Sustainability driven.
“If anyone had a not so good day today- do your best to rock that shit tomorrow. Life is too short for two days of bullshit in a row.”
Adrie Kuyper is an internationally experienced investor and entrepreneur.
An entrepreneur at heart, I love helping others with new innovative ideas to improve the world we live in. With extensive experience in scaling products and systems, I can help you evaluate and navigate the pros and cons involved.
From an agricultural background, with Food Science and Technology and business degrees, I have worked all over the world in Agri/Food, Banking, Consulting, E-Commerce and Fintech.
I would love to share the knowledge I have gained with start-ups and help them achieve their goals.
Feel free to contact me if you need support or advice in relation to supporting growth and expansion for people and startups to achieve their mission.
Harald Lek gained over 20 years of commercial experience in food retail, food service and the fast moving consumer goods industry before starting up his own business as an independent commercial strategy consultant. He held senior commercial management positions at Albert Heijn, Heineken, Makro/Metro and Marqt. For Albert Heijn, Makro and Marqt he organized startup pitch events to connect young entrepreneurs with retail and wholesale managers. He also coached startups in the field of selling to & negotiating with buyers.
Next to his expertise in category management and sourcing, Harald has a special interest in driving change in the food system through products that are healthy for both people and planet. With his extensive network in retail Harald is especially equipped to mentoring startups with a business to consumer proposition in food.
Please reach out if you want to better understand the food retail or food service industry. With over 20 years of experience in Buying & Category Management at large retailers and food production companies, I can offer my industry knowledge and my network for reaching out to specific retailers or wholesalers specialized in supplier-retailer cooperation and partnerships. If you want to reach out to corporates, I can share you valuable do’s and don’ts. I am happy to share my successful approach in relationship management with you and provide you with feedback on your proposition to corporates.
Startups with business-to-consumer propositions that aim to change the food system in a sustainable way.
“Make your pitch RETAIL: Realistic, Evidence based, To the point, Ambitiously quantified, Impactful, and Linked to the customer’s strategy.”
Josh is one of the world’s leading developers of robotic and AI systems for the food industry. He was the Founder and CEO of Root AI (acquired by AppHarvest), where he focused on the integration of advanced robotics, vision systems and machine perception to automate agriculture. Josh previously served as the Director of R&D at Soft Robotics Inc, was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Materials Science & Robotics at Harvard University, earned a Ph.D. studying Biophysics & Physical Chemistry at MIT and received his Sc.B. in Chemistry from Brown University.
“I love it when a plan comes together.”
Col. John “Hannibal” Smith
Benjamin was Product Group Manager Whey Proteins at FrieslandCampina Ingredients. Benjamin is an energetic and commercially driven business development and marketing specialist. He has held several business development positions within B2B environments. As a product group manager he believes in connecting people and by doing so driving product innovations at his employer FrieslandCampina. His personal drivers are to understand the role of nutrition for consumers life improvements, and health benefits in general. Using these skills and drivers he has successfully worked on new product developments and created several strategic partnerships for different markets. Examples can be found in the Food and Yoghurt market in China and the Performance Nutrition market in the USA.
Based on his experience and learnings Benjamin’s view is that the next step for any good idea, whether in a corporate environment, or for your own startup, is to continuously pivot your idea. Challenge it. Don’t overthink it, but share it with others. Connect it to your customer or consumer. Do it. Build it on data and process the feedback back into your idea. This is how Benjamin Maclean can help you progress, by strengthening your business case and helping you reflect commercially on your personal startup journey.
Benjamin has a BSc in Applied Physics, a certification in Strategic Procurement Management and is currently doing a Global Executive MBA at the Copenhagen Business School.
Sharing my expertise and enthusiasm for product development in food processing technology and B2B ingredients. My expertise is based on some clear mistakes in all stages of product development, including supplier collaboration, customer buy-in and international relations. The road to success can only be achieved by enjoying your learnings, for the better or worse. So if you aspire to embrace your personal F*ck-up festival let’s share to get you where you want to get.
“Many a mickle makes a muckle”Grandfather Maclean
(Meaning: Taking small steps repeatedly will make something big on the long run.)
John Mairlot is a fervent believer that business plays a key role in finding solutions to complex societal challenges. He is currently a senior investment manager at Aqua-Spark, a global investment fund focused on sustainable aquaculture. As part of this role, he is responsible for leading new and follow-on investments as well as supporting multiple portfolio companies. In parallel, he is also an active angel investor, with a particular interest in agrifoodtech.
Prior to joining Aqua-Spark, John worked as an Investment Manager at Cobepa, a Belgium-based private equity company, where he was responsible for due diligence, deal execution and portfolio management. Later, he headed the rural business development initiatives of the Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
John holds an MBA from INSEAD and a Master in Business Engineering from the Louvain School of Management, Belgium. In his free time, he is a passionate traveler, reader and skier.
I’ve invested in companies in a broad range of sectors and have significant experience in supporting entrepreneurs, notably by serving on the board of several high-growth startups. This exposure enables me to help you identify areas of improvement for your business and act as sparring partner to navigate complex situations. I can also help you see through the lens of a venture capital investor, and best prepare you for upcoming fundraising.
I’m interested to support any agrifood startup that has a convincing and exciting proposition and the ambition to build a cleaner, fairer and healthier world.
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” ~ Wayne GretzkyWalt Disney
Leo Melchers PhD has 30+ years of international experience in plant biotechnology research, seeds business strategy and technology licensing. He fulfilled various positions in executive management and leadership roles in a biotech startup company and with industry leaders, including Zeneca Agrochemicals and Syngenta.
Leo has extensive experience in driving major plant biotech R&D programs & leading international research teams. In addition, Leo operated as Global Head Licensing at Syngenta and worked closely with multiple crop leadership teams in shaping and delivering their business strategies. Leo is passionate about developing innovative ideas and technologies into successful, marketable products.
Since 2018, Leo works as an independent consultant with innovative startup companies, supporting commercialization of their novel technology, products and/or traits.
If you are ready to climb the Startup-Everest, I am looking forward to being your Sherpa! My deep industry knowledge, strategic competencies and first-hand experience at both a biotech startup and with industry leaders are fully at your disposal.
I am looking forward to engage with startups and companies involved in innovative research – or business activities.
“For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, and debate.”vMargaret Heffernan
CEO with strong track record in growing business in international food ingredients and life sciences industry, driving business development, innovation and change.
Passionate about building business, genuinely motivated to understand and leverage fundamental business drivers, the role of people, leadership, and culture. Positive, sees opportunity, and always seeks to improve. Easily zooms in and out, believes in the strength of each person and their contribution to the team.
Transformed Royal CSK, towards a clear market strategy, from customer driven to market driven, selling concepts instead of products, with product management and marketing to drive sales and negotiate innovation, professional and compliant. Realised a new large scale fermentation plant and an innovation centre in Wageningen, and finally sold the company to DSM through a competitive process.
Currently chairman of an alt protein company, and advising VC and other innovative companies in the field of food /ag tech.
Driven by his personal mission to contribute to transforming the global food system, towards improving human health and sustainable use of the planets resources. Excited by the prospect of (bio)tech to drive the protein transition and sustainability in food at large.
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.
Jigna Merchant is a true nutrition expert. After obtaining her masters’ degree in nutrition science at Syracuse University she has been active as nutrition scientist and manager for various multinational food companies across the globe, among which Danone Nutricia Research and UpField – the world’s largest plant-based consumer products company. Since March 2022 she has joined Kraft Heinz as their Capability Lead for Nutrition.
Food and Health Tech Startups
Pieter Meuwissen is responsible for acquiring and advising early-stage innovative agrifood startups that fit within the focus of BOM (Brabant Development Agency). He operates as a mentor, advising founders on the critical milestones for becoming scalable and investable and how to reach them. Besides his work as a business developer, Pieter leads the Agriculture & Food team of BOM. This is an interdisciplinary team, covering all the competences of BOM, i.e. ecosystem and company development, investments and internationalization.
Pieter is well connected with the most relevant triple helix partners (university, government and industry), both on a regional, provincial and (inter)national level. This allows him to offer valuable introductions to knowledge and strategic partners, hence accelerating the time to market for startups.
Pieter holds a master degree in International Business from Tilburg University and is passionate about coaching ambitious founder teams in the agrifood space in their quest to make this world a better place for future generations.
The choices you make as a founder and activities you conduct in the early stages of your business are vital to maximizing the chance of becoming a true scale-up. If your startup is in this critical phase, I am offering you my support to help you reach your relevant milestones and prepare for future growth.
I’m interested in any agri, horti, food and biotech startup with the ambition to make a significant positive impact by contributing to a more sustainable food system. Hence, the proposition should be scalable and the founder team competent, experienced and well balanced. In particular, I am keen on supporting B2B startups involved in protein shift, agritech and circular concepts, since these are focus subjects for the province of Brabant.
Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity, not as a threat. ~ Steve Jobs
An Michiels is an internationally recognized agtech innovation expert and founder of AgKnowledge, a global agtech consultancy firm. An is an inspirational leader with solid network and 15 years of experience in leading teams in the agtech industry. She has been instrumental in advising and leading startups, served on advisory board and has held director level roles for large international seed, technology and agribusiness companies such as Keygene, Bayer Crop Science, Nunhems, Limagrain, Hazera and Syngenta.
An has worked for industry, universities and (non) governmental organizations to develop and implement forward-looking initiatives in agtech innovation.
Areas of expertise are:
An has proven success as CEO starting an agtech company in the United States. She grew up on a family tomato greenhouse farm in Belgium and has a Master and PhD degree in Applied Bioengineering from the University of Leuven.
I can support you and your startup towards developing and adopting agriculture technology to improve crop efficiency for our farmers. I am happy to provide experience-based and pragmatic advice to solve key issues concerning your technology development pipeline, research and development initiatives, in line with your values and culture. I can help to bring key players together to build strategic partnerships.
I am interested in mentoring agtech startups that are working on any of the following themes
“Strategy is a commodity. Execution is an art.”Peter Drucker
Henri is a highly experienced R&D leader. Holding a PhD in Medical Sciences, he brings a strong scientific background in the field of molecular cell biology, combined with a successful business career in various global R&D leadership roles in F&B. He brings more than 30 years of working experience, including 10 years in academic scientific research and almost 18 years in various global roles in Unilever, the last five years of which as Global R&D Director for Unilever’s Out of Home business. More recently Henri served as VP R&D with Dawn Foods Europe & AMEAP, an American Sweet Bakery ingredient supplier, and as Chief Scientific Officer with Nuritas, a successful Biotech startup company in Dublin, Ireland. In June 2023 Henri has started his own Foods and Beverages innovation consultancy company.
Henri has a track record of successful Foods & Beverages innovations and NPDs in various Categories across multiple cultures and geographies. He has successfully delivered in each part of the innovation process (early discovery, proof of principle, prototype and product development, production scale-up and product launch). He translates business strategy into action and ooptimises innovation processes, combined with careful resource and portfolio management, to maximize delivery for success.
Henri is strongly driven by his personal purpose to “lead by example to inspire others giving the best of themselves to contribute to a healthy future for ourselves and next generations”. As a ‘people person’ he has a strong drive to develop and grow people helping them to get the most out of themselves and he builds bridges between people, across functions and across cultures.
• (Executive) R&D management
• R&D strategy
• Innovation project, program, and portfolio management
• People and team development
• Personal mentoring and coaching
I am interested in working with startups and helping them to find their way to success by sharing my experience and expertise gained in various international businesses. I am keen to help developing and sharpening R&D strategies and innovation programs, and I am passionate about supporting young entrepreneurs on their journey to develop and mature as effective leaders.
“If someone else has been able to learn it, I should also be able to learn it.”
I can support you and your startup by developing and scaling your website or technology. I am happy to provide experience-based and pragmatic advice to solve key issues concerning scaling an organization and building a high volume platform (website).
Pessimists are usually right, but it is the optimists that can change the world.
Victor Penev is a serial entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Edamam. He is also a mentor and investor in food technology startups and advises early stage entrepreneurs.
Previous to Edamam, Victor co-founded and sold Bulgaria’s largest Internet Company, NetInfo BG. Victor Penev also ran the international digital business of Playboy Enterprises, and was instrumental in starting the digital marketing efforts of BMG and in creating key e-commerce capability for Bertelsmann’s book clubs.
Victor holds a MBA from Stanford.
A journey of a thousand miles, starts with a single step.
Prof. dr. Marcel Prins is currently Vice President (Crop) R&D and Innovation at the Wageningen-based agbiotech company KeyGene. Marcel has a strong background in the life sciences, originally from a content point of view especially in plant pathology and reproduction biology. Throughout his professional career he has managed innovation processes. He has run various projects, was responsible for human resources and general stakeholder management. Marcel has also been head of laboratory in a biotech startup that produced pharmaceutical proteins in plants.
Marcel enjoys the process of taking an innovative idea beyond the ideation, from the intellectual property protection and prototype phases towards the creation of value within all segments of the chain.
Marcel has an MSc molecular sciences and a PhD in plant virology (1997) from Wageningen University & Research, and also studied at Nyenrode (2008) and INSEAD (2017). Since 2013 he is part time affiliate professor of applied plant virology at the University of Amsterdam.
I offer 25+ years of innovation experience, process and people management. I know what it is like to run a high tech / biotech company and how to make innovation happen: from ideas to market.
The people in a start-up make the difference. An ambitious team with a good proposition can move mountains. Early and later (scale-up) companies have my interest. Technology driven, with a clear biological compound, but also generic enabling technologies.
An ambitious team with a good proposition can move mountains.
Hans Roelofs has a passion for innovation in the food industry. Over 40 years, he lead technical and technological development projects from idea up to implementation. He has fulfilled various innovation and R&D positions at the global food corporations Nutricia, Campina and Hero Benelux. And after a long corporate career, Hans successfully continued his journey as food innovation entrepreneur. It is no exaggeration to say that Hans is a key driver of promising innovations.
With his extensive industry experience, Hans knows how to translate insights on an abstract level into concrete and pragmatic solutions and strategies. He builds necessary bridges between different company disciplines. He cooperates very well with partners of marketing, purchasing, operations and quality in order to realize the innovation targets on an effective and efficient way. Hans delivers the added value through a facilitating, vitalizing and coaching way of leading internal and/or external teams who realize the application of new technologies, raw materials and products.
As co-founder of the startup IXL Netherlands, Hans has build experiences as an entrepreneur who worked on the innovation of a radical new way of cooking by using Pulsed Electric Field technology. Combining science with cooking, and learning from their respective viewpoints, establishes a very fruitful dialogue.
Hans studied food technology at the Has University of Applied Sciences and Strategic Product Development at Groningen University and is passionate about building better and personalized nutrition for the world.
I am happy to share my insights, information, knowledge and experiences in Research & Development Food and innovation processes in the food industry. And, as a fellow startup co-founder, I also offer you my experience as an entrepreneur.
As a sparring partner I will challenge you and work together to come to optimized viable concepts or final applications. Doing this in a structured way, applying proven project management principles.
Food startups that have the ambition to make the world a better place by delivering better nutrition for everyone. The startups have a sound base idea or concept and are looking for a sparring and supporting partner.
Matthew de Roode is an enthusiastic innovator with a market mindset. He has an educational background in chemistry and bioprocess engineering (BSc in Delft, MSc in Amsterdam, Ph.D. in Wageningen).
His passion for market-driven innovation started when working as an innovation manager for Sara Lee Household & Body Care, where he worked on a diversity of products that you will find in the supermarket. He still finds himself re-arranging “his products” more neatly when the shelf is a mess. During this period he was also trained as a LEAN coach and mastered different management tools to enrich his ideas. His introduction to the food segment started when working for NIZO Food Research as a project manager processing.
Since 2012 he is innovation manager at Sensus (part of Royal Cosun) where he is responsible for the innovation strategy from field to fork. As a side step, he worked for Cosun HQ as a corporate development manager, a role that brought him in even closer contact with the dynamic world of startups and scale-ups. He has a broad network in the academic world and (food) industry and is not afraid to use it.
In his spare time, he collects antique chemistry books and comics. He also plays the accordion, the hurdy-gurdy, and tries to master the ukulele.
I understand and love “tech-talk”, but also have learned to speak and adore “marketing-talk”. Thus I am able to give substantiated feedback on your technological proposition but will always encourage you to explore the customer need, the business model, and the business case.
I have no preference for startups from a specific sector, but my background is in the technology realm and my experience is in food and household & body care.
“Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.”Mark Twain
Guliël Schuwer has over 36 years of multi-cultural experience in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) at Mars Incorporated, a leading manufacturer of confectionery, pet food, and other food products and a provider of animal care services. With a background in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, he has worked in eight countries in Logistics, Innovation Management, Strategy Deployment, Business Integration and Change Management.
For many years, Guliël has developed, launched and grown significant innovations in the confectionery market based on relevant consumer insights. His unique combination of experience in transactional business management, innovation leadership, European MT membership and post-merger integration makes him the ideal sparring partner for teams that are looking for support in bringing their ideas to the market, faster, better and more successful.
Guliël has a MSc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, has a NIMA certificate and is a certified Change Management Practitioner. He is passionate about building and coaching multi-cultural teams with a mission and vision.
If you want to support in the “Fuzzy Front-End” of innovation, I can share valuable insights and experience in structuring your innovation approach and ensure all business dimensions are covered to ensure a successful launch and roll-out.
Any agrifood startup with a focus on transforming the food-offer to consumers in support of the environmental and human health agenda.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”African proverb
With well over 25 years of experience you may call Dietmar Serbée a seasoned and entrepreneurial machine vision specialist. He started as an application engineer and via entrepreneurship he became Director Product and Market strategy at a listed European vision company. He then moved on to become managing director at one of Europe’s leading machine vision technology providers for science and industry. In March 2020 he retired from this position and started to spend his time on supporting innovative tech startups.
Startups need to interact with their target groups and stakeholders in various areas, but often do not take the time or lag the knowledge or network to do so. Here is where Dietmar’s experience with all stakeholders of complex technical products, such as users (OEM, machine builders, system integrators), developers, suppliers, manufacturers, maintenance teams, marketing, shareholders and even competition comes in hand. Dietmar can help you define the right functionality, industrial design, the Man-Machine interface, feedback from users, redevelopment, finances and support you on many other aspects of your business.
Dietmar has a MSc in Electrotechnical Engineering from TU Delft. Vision is his passion, providing “Eyes” to machines and robots.
You can first of all benefit from the pitfalls and possibilities of entrepreneurship, I experienced. Furthermore, I can guide you with product development, portfolio management, product roll-outs, product/market combinations, sales/distribution, financing and even on indeep technical issues (software, hardware, algorithms, Deep Learning, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence) in Robotics and Machine Vision.
Any agrifood startup that wants to get to the next level with a product; building a new strategy/vision, exploring markets/customers, product improvement, overcoming technical challenges or setting up production.
“Learn from your mistakes, enjoy the successes!”
Olivier is a Global R&D – Innovation Consultant with 19 years of R&D leadership in FMCG and broad business acumen. With deep expertise in end-to-end R&D as well as experience in Innovation Marketing and Procurement, Olivier has been delivering evolutive and transformative R&D / innovation strategies, technology programs and product portfolios. Working at the interface between business impact, consumer-centricity, long-term societal trends and emerging technologies, he can provide a critical assessment and sounding board of your value propositions and products and help you in stretching them.
Olivier especially has a strong understanding of the snacking category and health & wellbeing segment (formulation, technology & design, nutrition profiling and regulation). He has been engaged in startup ecosystems across product and ingredient technology for years and has a sound understanding of the critical path to start-up successfully and progress to scale up (capability development, product optimization for best sensory, cost and nutrition, IP ring-fencing, make or buy). With an extensive global network of manufacturers, suppliers, incubators, agencies and universities, Olivier can help you in optimizing your ecosystems.
He holds a Ph.D. in Food Science from Nottingham University and is passionate about getting the right product solutions to consumers.
I am happy to soundcheck product relevance & differentiation and help stretch product proposition toward best consumer centricity. I can leverage my industry network when helpful as well as help in optimizing start-up’s supplier and partners network.
Any Food & Beverage start-up that has a convincing technology and/or design-led proposition and the ambition to leverage those to solve real consumer and societal needs.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”Laozi
Evelien Sturkenboom is a finance team lead at Rabobank. Evelien is passionate about the world of food & agri and the challenge to nourish the world sustainably. Evelien has a degree in Management Studies from Wageningen University. Demonstrated work experience as a strong people manager with financial, international and change management experience, primarily in financing various Agrifood value chains.
With my positive energy, strong cooperative attitude and communication skills, I am passionately curious to develop and execute new ideas together.
Enthusiastic challenging and supportive coaching to accelerate your business – on strategy, commercial and financial risk management and your personal / team skills.
Any agrifood startup (or scaleup) with an entrepreneurial spirit and the ambition to contribute to a more sustainable world.
What got us here, won’t get us there”– Marshall Goldsmith
Passionate about innovative technology startups, Sibel Tunali is a talented international business executive with 30 years of strategic management, partnership and business development experience and a strong understanding of markets such as Canada, US, UK, Finland, Portugal, Turkey and the Netherlands.
Over the last 10 years, Sibel has worked with various technology startups in sustainable business growth. Since 2018, Sibel Tunali has spearheaded Startin Bodrum accelerator/collaborative platform creating business development opportunities between local investors and startups. Tunali is currently on the advisory board for www.biftek.co – cell-based growth medium to make cultured meat affordable.
Sibel graduated from Bosphorus University in Electrical Engineering and has a Corporate Finance Postgraduate degree from London Business School of Business.
I can develop and share contacts with the specific industry. I can support opening doors with key decision makers. I can help you to establish business goals, culture and professionalism in processes, bringing credibility to the business. I can share my international experience and help create a strategic marketing plan to bring a strong customer focus to the business.
Agtech and FoodTech startups looking to make an impact on sustainability.
“Success is going through one failure to another without the loss of enthusiasm”.Winston Churchill
eliever in the possibility to combine high purpose with superior commercial performance. He is fascinated by brands that innovate to help people live better lives and live more sustainably. And Jan likes to solve problems and create opportunities that arise from the Food Revolution that is emerging. Leading to ‘sustainable diets’ for as many people as possible.
Jan is originally from the Netherlands and a graduate of Wageningen University & Research, where he obtained a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics. Jan has recently relocated with his family to Moscow. He is a fan of many sports.
Thinking partnership on defining a sharp value proposition for customers, brand building and on designing a winning marketing mix. Help on shaping the commercial algorithm for a strong and sustainable economic basis for future ventures. Access to a global network of key actors in the entire Foods value chain. Let’s work hard, have fun and create a better future!
I am interested in coaching startups that contribute to a more sustainable food system and startups that connect consumers with better food choices (health, planet, communities).
“If you only do things where you know the answer in advance, your company goes away”.Jeff Bezos
Eric Uleman helps companies and innovators develop their strategy and expand internationally. His focus is on scaling up agritech businesses. He shares a passion for new ventures in agricultural innovation and technology, understanding all biological, technology and business aspects of growing crops and operating a high-tech organization.
Previously Eric spent over 25 years in financial services in the USA and Europe in management roles working for international companies, including JP Morgan, IBM, Pfizer, ING Bank. He also served on the board as a managing director for several large commodity trading companies responsible for strategy, acquisitions and technology. Eric has also built a leading European research farm lab in the Netherlands developing (technology) solutions for agricultural companies and manufacturers to improve sustainable production of crops
Eric graduated with an MBA from the University of Groningen and completed an MBA at the New York University, Leonard Stern School of Business..
Help committed, passionate and innovate founders in the agricultural landscape to succeed internationally.
Crisp, Clear Concise
Dr. Ir. Cecile Veerman is an experienced innovation professional who drives the development of agri, food, and biotech innovations. Cecile is an enthusiastic and experienced innovation professional. She worked for 15 years at DSM and has been responsible for R&D business development and managing global, multi-disciplinary, multi-client innovation programs in the area of food/feed ingredients and biomaterials. In addition, she has been coaching and mentoring multiple innovation individuals and teams.
Cecile is currently Chief Innovation Officer/Chief Operations Officer EU at Impact Food Systems. Impact Food Systems helps agricultural enterprises to solve their most urgent issues from the ground up and gradually grow towards a future-proof, sustainable and high-performing business. In addition, she is the owner of BioKite and helps companies to drive the development of agri, food, and biotech innovations by providing more focus, structure, and win-win partnerships.
A common thread through her career is acting at the interface of R&D and business, building bridges between both worlds. She gets much energy from connecting people, exploring new opportunities, and removing roadblocks in innovation trajectories to realize viable agri, food, and biotech innovations.
Cecile has an MSc and Ph.D. in Food Technology from Wageningen University and is a certified innovation driver from Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship and a certified scale-up board member from ScaleUpNation. She is a connector and a strong organizer with a pragmatic, customer-focused, approach and a strong drive for results.
I would like to share my experience and learnings about the various aspects of agri, food, and biotech innovation development such as partnerships, business development and program/project management.
My particular interest is in coaching startups that focus on (regenerative) agriculture, food application, or biotech-derived compounds, want to grow further via win-win partnerships, and need support in focusing and structuring.
“Be the change you want to see in the world”
Huib Vermeulen is commercial director of Herba Ingredients BV.
After my studies in Wageningen as a Food Technologist and an initial start as a Product developer, I gradually focused more on Commercial roles at the cross road of Innovation, Technology and Commerce, in the B2B Ingredients Market. Throughout my career I gathered extensive experience in Sales and Marketing, as well as Business Management, focusing on P&L Optimization, Building Strategies and Portfolio Management.
My passion is to convert Technology and Ingredient Functionality into Commercial success in Food and Nutrition, especially where Innovation supports Sustainability for instance related to the challenges we are facing with regards to the Agricultural transition that lies ahead of us. My area of expertise is specifically in Vegetable Protein, Preservation, Food Safety and Taste.
Contributing in sustainability issues and supporting others by helping them to achieve tangible results, gives me a lot of inspiration and pleasure.
Looking forward to providing support or advice in relation to Commercial B2B Ingredients issues: from setting up the Business Strategy to implementation of all Commercial aspects (Sales, Marketing, Portfolio Management).
Petra Vossenberg is an innovation manager with a demonstrated history of working in the food industry.
She has a background in bioprocess technology (BSc, MSc and PhD) and worked multiple years as process technologist within the food industry, both in the Netherlands and Asia. Formerly she was the Global Open Innovation Manager at FrieslandCampina. In this role she was responsible for setting up and developing partnerships with external startups, entrepreneurs, universities, research institutions and other companies.
Petra is passionate about (open) innovation and enjoys being a linking pin to drive new ideas forward, combining her technical background with an eagerness for sustainable collaboration and adding value to the world we live in.
I can share my experience on product and process innovation in the food industry both in Europe and South-East Asia with you.
Startups that think and act in a holistic and sustainable manner.
Within any collaboration, take time and effort to get to know each other, build a relationship, based on honesty and trust, and put a dot on the horizon together.
Bas van Vugt holds a strong background in innovation and venturing with +14 years of international experience at Heineken. He has held divers roles in various functions (i.e. finance, supply chain, commerce) at local, regional and global levels. With a track record of a “smart problem solver” and “connector”.
Bas fulfilled senior management roles in innovation. He pioneered new business models, initiated Heineken’s first activities in D2C eCom and investments in start-up and scale-up companies. In his last position at Heineken Bas led the creation of digital (D2C) businesses, joint ventures and partnerships with startup and scale up companies.
Most recently Bas started as Venture Partner at Rabo Frontier Ventures – Rabobank’s venture capital arm in food & agtech. In this capacity he helps portfolio companies to unlock growth through Rabobank’s global network and distribution power.
Extensive experience in business building, funding and network. Asking the right questions at the right moment in time.
Food startups that address clear pain points or benefits for customers and/or consumers.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done!” – Nelson Mandela
Alexander van Wassenaer is a seasoned private equity investor and entrepreneur.
I love working with an ambitious and truly committed team of starting entrepreneurs to help make their innovative idea and nascent business a success and lay the foundations for building a market leading company. Considering my own master’s degree from Wageningen University, I am especially keen on working with startups and scaleups in agritech in the widest sense.
Over the past 17 years, I have built my experience as an investor by putting capital and expertise to work in supporting smaller and much larger companies. It has been a privilege to work with many highly talented management teams and exciting businesses along the way. I also know first-hand how challenging and tough building, or rebuilding, a business can be.
I believe that, with the right combination of a brilliant new idea, talent, drive and sufficient resources, almost any new business can succeed and have a real, lasting and very positive impact on the world around us.
Don’t postpone till tomorrow what you can do today
Since September 2019 Floris Wesseling fulfills the role of Regional President / Senior VP of Danone Essential Dairy & Plant-based Europe. Floris joined Danone in 2000 in the Netherlands. In 2006, he became Country Manager of Danone Dairy Switzerland, and from 2009 until 2013, he was the General Manager of Danone Dairy Egypt. In 2013, he moved to China and took the role of General Manager for Danone Waters China.
Before joining Danone, during the period from 1996 to 2000, Floris has worked for the East Asiatic Company (EAC) in Vietnam and for United Biscuits in Europe. In May 2015, he was the Regional VP Waters Asia Pacific. And as of November 2017 he added the responsibility as Regional VP Essential Dairy & Plant-based for Asia Pacific & Middle East in addition to his responsibilities as Regional VP Waters for the same geographical scope.
A Dutch native, Floris earned a master degree of Law (MA/MSc) from the University of Amsterdam.
Through my extensive international background in consumer goods and more specifically food, I would be happy to contribute on strategic matters and be a sparring partner on consumer and channel relevance. If you want to reach out to corporates, I can share you valuable do’s and don’ts. I am happy to share my successful approach in relationship management with you and provide you with feedback on your proposition to corporates.
I’m particularly interested in plant-based, health, circularity and regenerative agriculture.
“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”Muhammad Ali
Vladimir de Ziegler is a project manager with Olam International, a global agribusiness company. He has worked on both strategic and implementation projects, across Africa, the US, and Europe. Currently, he is working on boosting the financial performance of Olam’s cocoa division in Europe. Prior to that, he held roles in both fast growing software companies, and in financial advisory. In those latter roles, he was focusing on their international expansion, and fundraising activities, respectively.
Vladimir can help you with getting those difficult, yet essential early leads to validate your value proposition. By gathering insights from your first customers, he will support you in refining your business model further. As you start to gain traction, he will guide you in setting up relevant KPIs, and to build an accompanying financial plan, so that you can ready up for investors and your next growth phase.
Finally, Vladimir is incredibly excited to contribute to closing the ag’s space food, land and climate gaps. He is convinced that it will only happen if emerging technologies can be smoothly, and profitably adopted by both corporates and family-businesses. He is fond of getting you there.
Happy to get my hands dirty and to leverage my network to help you get early traction and derive commercial strategies. By gathering customers’ feedback, I am happy to help you with developing an accompanying financial plan and a path toward early funding.
Any agrifoodtech startup, whose solution will make the ag space more inclusive and working closer to reducing its food, land and climate gaps. I am excited to assist technical teams, who are seeking to translate their technology into a valuable business case.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” – Chinese Proverb
Wouter Zwagemakers has 10+ years of experience in general management, strategy, transformation, business development, venture building, finance and M&A at large corporates (Albert Heijn/Ahold Delhaize, ETOS and AEGON) and more recently startups and scale-ups.
As industrial engineer by training, he loves to explore new frontiers, grow visionary ideas into reality and build sustainable change. Wouter is a curious and playful pioneer that loves to grow meaningful, innovative ideas to realize a brighter future for us all. Nature, food & tech and inspiring (younger) people is what gives him much energy. Next to 10+ years of working experience, he loves to help entrepreneurs and business teams with insights to grow and excel.
In 2021, Wouter joined the founding team of The Seaweed Company to build a regenerative, nature positive enterprise that is fit for the 22nd century. He is seeking to contribute to long term sustainable change in our short term world.
I am looking forward to being your all-round sparring partner with experience and network in variety of business related fields with a sense of today’s and future global challenges and opportunities. I can act as refreshing sounding board to share insights, feedback and advice to help structuring ideas, bring new perspectives and bring strategies into action.
I look forward to mentoring foodtech startups that work on smart solutions that help solve global food challenges.
“Be the change that you want to see in the world”Mahatma Gandhi