Rabobank and StartLife announced today that they have extended their strategic partnership aimed at supporting impactful food and agtech startups for another three years. Both parties feel it is vital to ensure innovative and sustainable solutions that help secure the future of our global food supply get the best chances to succeed. Now more than ever.
“The coronavirus pandemic has exposed alarming fragility in our agrifood supply chains. It demonstrates the undisputed urgency of investing in a more resilient agrifood system. We need the creativity, agility and eagerness of startups to make that change.” With these words Mariska de Kleijne, director Rabobank, underlines the importance of the partnership between Rabobank and StartLife. “Startups can help make the change, but need all the support they can get. Together with StartLife we can provide startups the support they need.”
First European platform for startups and investors
Jan Meiling, managing director of StartLife, concurs fully to Mariska’s words. “At StartLife we strongly believe that the innovative capacity of startups are, and will be, the driving force behind the innovations needed to meet the global food demand in the future.” At the same time Jan believes startups cannot manage by themselves but need collaboration with the big corporates for their mass impact and investors for their belief. “For this reason StartLife and Rabobank co-founded, together with Anterra Capital and Wageningen University & Research, F&A Next five years ago, which (still) is the leading European platform for investors, startups and scaleups in the F&A domain. We could not have pulled that off single-handedly.“
Agrifood startup nursery
Gerben Dijksterhuis, innovation manager at Rabobank, loves working with StartLife’ startups. “StartLife is a startup nursery in the field of agri-food, which makes it a great place to connect with the bright and ambitious minds that are the creators of innovative startups. Like FUMI Ingredients.” FUMI Ingredients, a spin off from Wageningen University & Research, developed the world’s first all-natural egg-white replacer that -at the same- is potentially cheaper than regular chicken egg protein. “They won the Rabobank Sustainable Innovation Award last year and have the potential to truly make a difference. It is exciting to see how such a company makes incredible progress in such a short period of time.”
Added value to startups
“It is undisputed that Rabobank and StartLife have a great partnership going,” says Jan Meiling. “The enthusiasm and helping hand of Rabobank and their staff is truly amazing. They provide our startups with valuable industry insights, help make connections with customers that are leading companies in the F&A domain and offer our startups friendly funding facilities like subordinated innovation loans. We look forward to continuing our partnership for decades to come.”
Photo: Because of the Covid-19 health protection measures the extension of the partnership was heralded with an energetic virtual high five by Mariska de Kleijne (Rabobank) and Jan Meiling (StartLife), facilitated bij Gerben Dijksterhuis (Rabobank).