Tag Archives: Verdify

Verdify Raises €750k To Create First AI-powered Platform For Personalized Nutrition

Screenshot website Verdify 13-10-2020

The Dutch Foodtech company Verdify, a StartLife alumni, has raised a seed investment of €750.000. Two private investors and AI-investment company Genzai enable the development of the world’s first AI-powered platform for fully personalized and guideline-based nutrition.

Verdify will use the funding to create the first international recipe platform with fully adaptive recipes. The company develops innovative software for assisting consumers online in healthy decision making. Verdify will enable consumers to set up their nutrition passport with detailed information about personal nutrition and health needs, fully adjustable to food and taste preferences. A wealth of matching recipe inspiration is generated on the basis of the nutrition passport, both on the Verdify platform and on the recipe websites of partnering companies.

Improving quality of life

Verdify operates from the vision that nutrition can play a fundamental role in the maintenance of health and the treatment of chronic conditions. Increased attention for nutritional intake in healthcare and -prevention settings can have a profound impact on the quality of life of many people and contribute to lowering medical expenditures. “Our aim is to provide a trusted digital environment for making food choices that are supportive of personal health. We are excited to welcome the new investors and together take key steps towards making a durable impact on health and social wellbeing” said the CEO of Verdify, Jochem Bossenbroek.

Investors

Together with AI-investment company Genzai, Verdify develops the software to power the personalized nutrition platform. Roy Lenders, CEO of Genzai: “Food is the biggest market in the world and personalized nutrition is one of the key themes in this market. We are excited to build artificial intelligent models with Verdify that can really enable personalized nutrition for consumers around the globe.” Theo Cuppen, Director of Joles B.V. and one of the private investors said: “Verdify is fully aligned with our motivation to invest in creative startups in the food industry that develop socially responsible concepts on the route from production to consumption.”

Platform integration

The recipe platform will be connected to the order & delivery systems of food retailers and meal delivery platforms to present a new level of convenience in planning and ordering personalized healthy meals. The company’s focus reaches beyond convenience in healthy eating: Verdify operates fully in harmony with national nutrition guidelines that are applied in the medical domain and dietary practice.

Verdify will also construct a software interface that can be used by companies in the food sector for personalizing their recipe content on their websites. This allows the companies to tailor meal inspiration content to the exact needs and preferences of consumers. Besides that, Verdify will offer the possibility to automatically create nutritious recipes around specific (novel) food products through application of its AI Chef.

 

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Founder Story of Verdify: Better Health Through AI And Personalized Nutrition

Image Verdify - 600x400

Healthy eating should be easy for everyone – including those with chronic medical conditions and specific dietary needs, according to the founder and CEO of personalized nutrition platform Verdify.

Launched in November 2019, Verdify is an artificial intelligence platform that links food retailers’ recipe databases with consumers who have special dietary requirements. Users can choose recipes they like on the retailer’s website, with ingredients that can be modified to fit their requirements and, if they wish, these are added to an online shopping list. Currently, the platform caters to those on low salt or low carbohydrate diets, pregnant women, and those with gut health problems, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s Disease.

Jochem-Bossenbroek-CEO-Verdify

The company’s CEO, Jochem Bossenbroek, has an MBA and a background in biotechnology and life sciences. He said Verdify stemmed from his frustration with health

providers’ overwhelming focus on treating symptoms rather than preventing them from developing in the first place.

“I got more and more frustrated to see how much money was going towards medicine for symptom relief rather than prevention,” he said. “At the same time, I was working with researchers who were studying the links between nutrition and health…Very little of this knowledge is used in practice, so that was really the spark to start this company, Verdify.”

An individual approach

The potential is enormous, considering how many people suffer from long-term health conditions that need to be controlled through diet. IBS alone is thought to affect as many as one in seven people in the world, and an estimated 1.1 billion people have hypertension, requiring a low-salt diet to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke. The low-FODMAP diet recommended for IBS sufferers excludes about 100 ingredients, so automating the process of adjusting recipes is particularly welcome.

People with health conditions often are given recipe ideas and dietary plans to follow, but what makes this platform different is that it takes into account everything from medical information to allergies and personal food preferences and then adapts to fit the individual. The company has a dietitian and recipe developer on its team – along with a medical doctor – whose expertise fed into the platform’s development, a process that took about two years.

“What we did was try to copy her brain into the software, her way of thinking about how to adjust a recipe to meet dietary challenges, and that’s why it took a lot longer than anticipated,” Bossenbroek said.

“It is not only about replacing ingredients, but also about changing the cooking instructions, which is even more challenging…We wanted to make it as easy as possible to follow a complex diet.”

Tapping into existing databases

Verdify partnership with Supermarket Albert Heijn

Originally, the plan was to build a consumer-driven platform, but the team soon realized they could achieve much more by working directly with businesses.

“Food retailers have a large online collection of recipes and they are used a lot,” he explained. “Some of the Dutch retailers have more than a million visitors a month just looking at these recipes.”

Verdify’s first step toward this business-to-business approach was sparked after it linked its consumer platform with the supermarket chain Albert Heijn. Members could see recipes that matched their personalized profile, and after selection, they could connect with the supermarket for delivery or pick up of the ingredients.

“We then got calls from other supermarkets who were interested in how we adapted and personalized these recipes,” he said. “…Then we realized we could reach a much bigger audience by implementing our technology on the recipe websites of retailers so that all their visitors were directly reached.”

“We are now working with a team that specializes in artificial intelligence to automate any steps that we are still doing manually at this time,” he added.

Apart from licensing its technology to supermarkets, the company also is targeting home meal delivery companies and even kitchen appliance manufacturers, which supply recipe ideas to inspire their customers.

Shifting ambitions

The shift from its initial consumer-focused approach to a business-to-business one has allowed the company to do more with less marketing investment, Bossenbroek said, but it also has required a change in mindset.

“We started with the ambition to focus mainly on the people with a chronic condition, and now of course we are talking with retailers whose consumers are more about the mass market and diet options, people who want to stay healthy or do more sports,” he said. “That’s a little bit of a shift in the mentality – in our mentality mainly.”

Broader applications

Verdify Personalized Food Pill imageStill, the idea is to adapt the platform to a wider range of medical conditions. Preparing people for chemotherapy is one area that particularly interests Bossenbroek, helping cancer patients to start treatment as well-nourished as possible, and to tackle common side-effects during therapy, such as a sensitive mouth and weight loss. In addition, he would like the company to help bridge the substantial gap that exists between life sciences and personalized nutrition, by linking results from DNA tests, blood tests and stool analysis with users’ personalized profiles.

The company also is making its technology available for use in clinical trials on a not-for-profit basis, and it is already working with researchers at Wageningen University on dietary interventions for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Study participants are guided in their meal decisions with Verdify.

“We would like to contribute to clinical trials that want to test dietary interventions,” he said. “I think there is a big need for randomized controlled trials to find out what the impact is on a large scale…We do want to take this internationally and expand the functionality to all kinds of medical conditions.”

Working with StartLife

Bossenbroek first came across StartLife at a conference, where he met one of the coaches and decided to apply to the programme. For him, working with StartLife brings three main advantages.

“Firstly, they are a good sounding board,” he said. “If we have any strategic issues, they can provide relevant advice…Later on, they could provide funding of course.”

Finally, he says being affiliated with StartLife provides a seal of excellence in itself.

“When we go to conferences, people recognize that we are part of StartLife and see that as a positive, that we are a serious company,” he said.

F&A Next - Next Heroes in Food- And AgTech 2020

Verdify already has received widespread recognition for its innovative platform. It was selected by F&A Next and Foodbytes! by Rabobank as one of eight Next Heroes in Food- & AgTech 2020, and on June 11, the company will showcase its technology in the finals of the Blue Tulip Awards.

 

 

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F&A Next Presents ‘Eight Next Heroes In Food- & AgTech 2020’

F&A Next 'Next Heroes in Food- and Agtech 2020'

For the fifth year in a row StartLife is one of the leading organizers of the international agrifood event F&A Next.  Together with Foodbytes! by Rabobank eight most promising startups have been selected as this years’ ‘Next Heroes in Food- & AgTech’. On May 13, they will pitch their innovations during a (free) live webinar of F&A Next to an international audience of agrifood investors, corporates, media and fellow entrepreneurs.

The eight startups were selected from a record number of applications. The applications came from 29 countries, from Sweden to Australia and from Hong Kong to the United States. Most solutions were in machine learning (28%), artificial intelligence (25%) and digital platforms (23%).

Next Heroes in FoodTech 2020

The following four startups have been selected as the F&A Next ‘Next Heroes in FoodTech 2020’. Join the live webinar to view their pitches.

 |  FUMI Ingredients (The Netherlands) : Develops functional food ingredients from microorganisms. The novel animal-free ingredients work as egg replacers and have no allergens. The production process allows a carbon footprint reduction of over 90% compared to conventional egg-white production.
 |  Connecting Food (France) : Tracks and digitally audits food products in real-time from farm to fork. The blockchain solution maps food supply chains and improve internal traceability. They also help brands and retailers improve their external transparency via a QR code & storytelling.
 |  COGZ (UK) : Offers a B2B online marketplace for food & beverage manufacturers and processors to buy surplus produce directly from farmers and growers. COGZ’s technology saves time, increases profitability and prevents food waste in primary production.
 |  Verdify (The Netherlands) : Enables companies active in the food domain to personalize their recipes for individual customers, supporting prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. Their digital platform fully personalizes meal recipes according to guideline-based medical diets, biomarkers and individual preferences.

Next Heroes in AgTech 2020

The following four startups have been selected as the F&A Next ‘Next Heroes in AgTech 2020’. Join the live webinar to view their pitches.

 |  Evologic Technologies (Austria) : Produces microbial bioactives (biostimulants and biopesticides) for seed distributors, thanks to its proprietary production platform technology. This allows distributors sell an upgraded product to farmers.
 |  Pebble Labs (USA) : Develops solutions to safely and sustainably increase natural crop yield and food security. Its mission is to develop breakthrough disruptive technologies that address the greatest agricultural, aquaculture, and environmental challenges facing the globe.
 |  FarmRaise (USA) : Unlocks public and private funding for farmers through cataloguing each grower’s unique options and simplifying the funding application process. FarmRaise makes it easy for farmers to invest in their operations today and steward their assets for future generations.
 |  Edete (Israel) : Offers a high-efficiency artificial pollination service solution for companies and growers. By reducing the deficiencies of erratic and dwindling insect-based pollination, Edete’s controlled and manageable solution has been proven to increase the yield of almond orchards.

Impact of the Coronavirus on the agrifood industry

F&A Next normally is a 2-day in-person event taking place in Wageningen (NL). Due to the Coronavirus pandemic the event is going digital, offering a live webinar on May 13th for free. For obvious reasons the impact of the Coronavirus on the agrifood industry has become a main theme. Top executives and opinion leaders discuss the impact of the Coronavirus crisis on business and consumer behavior. A panel of global investors will openly discuss if and how the current crisis affects investment decisions. And the above eight startups will pitch their innovations.

Join F&A Next Live Webinar for free

Registration is open to agrifood investors, corporates, media and fellow startups. Check the full webinar program here.

RESERVE YOUR FRONT ROW SEAT FOR F&A NEXT LIVE WEBINAR

 

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