The A-Z of Foodtech Incubators, Accelerators & Grants

Anna Ottosson
Jan 19 · 16 min read

At Trellis Road we’re always thinking about how we can be helpful for early stage high-impact foodtech startup founders, and one question that we often encounter is how to finance great ideas and products during the early days.

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Whilst we’re always happy to recommend great founder friendly investors in our network, we also encourage founders to also look into the many other great financing sources out there. Here we’ve put together an A to Z list of over 50 incubators, accelerators and grants relevant for foodtech startups that are looking for capital and meaningful support.

In addition, this is a really useful database with lots of smaller accelerators or investment funds based all over the world, with details of available funding and any application requirements.

As always with these things, it’s an ever-changing landscape so please add a comment or get in touch (anna@trellisroad.com) if there are others that we should add to the list.

The A-Z of Foodtech Incubators, Accelerators & Grants

A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) — Singapore: this government-funded agency offers different funding options to support individuals, resources, ideas and major initiatives. Its Alternative Protein program, for example, grants up to S$15M ($11.4M) per proposal, which must meet Singapore’s food security and food resilience goals. To be eligible, a company Director should hold at least 0.7 FTE primary appointment in a Singapore publicly funded research or tertiary education, run a laboratory or research program that carries out research in Singapore and have a track record of leadership ability in coordinating research programs and providing mentorship to research teams, as well as having productive research outcomes. Typical grant size: variable.

AcceleranceDenmark: the number one accelerator in the Nordics, established for nearly ten years, with a startup survival rate of over 88%. The program is funded by the Danish government and by leading Danish and International corporates with the goal of attracting talent and creating growth, so there are no fees and they don’t take any equity. The training is remote, but you do need to register your company in Denmark and have some activity there to qualify. Its Waoo corporate matchmaking program is seeking startups working with data, including predictive maintenance, anomaly detection, proactive customer service, data processing & cleaning and P2P mesh connectivity; application deadline is 4th February. Typical grant size: €67k for tech startups.

Batch VenturesUK: this accelerator is a pretty specific program to back innovation in baked goods, as it’s a partnership between Mission Ventures and the UK’s largest bakery brand, Warburtons. It offers a free 12 week intensive business review, and investment of £50k-£250k is available in exchange for a minority stakeholding. Typical investment size £50k-£250k.

Big Idea Ventures New Protein Fund & AcceleratorUSA & Singapore: this fund invests twice a year alongside providing mentors, advisors, a test kitchen and industry connections to ensure its companies’ products can be scaled to meet global demand. The accelerator takes five months and is very intensive, though the next program may start virtually if the current global situation doesn’t resolve itself. The latest cohorts include startups such as Novel Farms, Inc, Orbillion Bio, Biftek.co, Gaia and Peace of Meat, all working on cell-based meat or cell culture media. BIV also just announced that it is teaming with Ashika Group to launch an alternative protein fund in India. It takes applications constantly, so get yours in to be considered for the next cohort.Typical investment size: variable.

Blue Ocean Xlerator — Netherlands: BOX provides a support network for the admin side of a startup: writing a business plan, bookkeeping, funding, housing, negotiating contracts and monitoring networks, which all take a lot of time when you really need to be focusing on tech and creating a foothold in the market. At BOX you work alongside 35 colleagues and fellow entrepreneurs with relevant knowledge and experience and the same drive, and need to bring a winning mindset. You can apply any time. Typical grant size: N/A.

Brinc Six Worldwide Locations: this accelerator offers various programs in different locations. It comprises six weeks of on-site training followed by six weeks remotely, and the fund will invest $80,000 for a negotiable equity percentage. The catch, though, is that each startup needs to pay $30,000 to be included in the cohort. Applications are always open because the programs are so frequent. Typical investment size: $50k after fees.

Chobani Food Tech ResidencyUSA: this incubator is focused on helping packaged food and beverage brands to scale their businesses, and includes tailored programming based on the needs of the startups, held at Chobani’s premises. Applications are currently closed, and the program only caters to applicants from within the US. Typical investment size: $25k.

Dao FoodsChina: this accelerator’s Venture Fund 1 will support and invest in 30 alternative protein companies over the next three years. It invests 500,000 RMB in each company in a bid to increase the velocity of quality alternative protein development in China, which it views as a ‘huge business opportunity with massive social impact.’ Typical investment size: $75k.

Eatable Adventures Spain: it was the first food entrepreneurship community, first European early-stage food investment network, and has worked with over 25,000 startups and over 500 projects each year since its inception. Its accelerator program takes four months, is intensive and hands on, and connects startups with its international mentor network. Typical grant size: N/A.

EIC Accelerator EU: part of the European Innovation Council pilot to support market-creating innovations, with a budget which has nearly doubled since 2018 and now stands at €819M. If successful, projects will receive between €0.5M and €2.5M in the form of grants, and should take 12–24 months to complete. There is now an option to obtain extra financing through equity sacrifice, as well as access to business innovation coaching and a community platform for successful applicants. To be eligible, companies must be established in an EU member state or a Horizon 2020-associated country, and must be a for-profit SME. Typical grant/investment size: variable.

EIT Climate-KIC EU: invests in clean technology, agriculture and green energy and takes an ‘open innovation’ approach to mentorship. It works on an innovation model of knowledge exchange and technology transfer it calls the ‘knowledge helix’. Typical investment size: €20k.

EIT FoodEU: this umbrella covers several Food Business Creation Programs, including a Seedbed Incubator and a Food Accelerator Network for coaching and support, plus various seed funds as well as Innovation Prizes for early-stage agrifood startups, and even Legal & Accounting support. To apply for the FAN, agri-food startups must be in pre-seed stage, a registered company with technology and customer readiness levels between 5 and 8, active in the EU or EU associated countries and committed to the program. Typical grant size: €100k for the winner.

Fishing TechSpain: connecting the experience and contacts of leading companies in the fishing industry with innovative technology startups and companies around the world. Applications are open now, and there are zero equity requirements. Typical grant size: N/A

FoodBytes!USA: historically a physical pitch competition, FoodBytes! has gone virtual in 2020, continuing to deliver on its mission to build lasting connections between forward- thinking startups, corporates and investors in food & agriculture. 45 startups take part in a virtual bootcamp, which is three weeks of work spread across a couple of months, then the top 15 pitches are live-streamed to a global audience. No pressure! Typical grant size: N/A.

Food’Inn Lab France: the aim of this incubator is to create more links between research teams, students and entrepreneurs of AgroParisTech, with office space, labs and test kitchens provided. Typical grant size: N/A.

FoodStarsThe Netherlands: an option with a community feel. In exchange for 2% equity share, FoodStars will provide a 12 month program which covers a company deep dive, mentorship and training, networking and use of co-working office space. Applications are always open, or you can refer any startups you may know who may be a good fit. Typical grant size: N/A.

Food System 6 USA: a non-profit based in the San Francisco Bay Area whose mission is to support impact-driven entrepreneurs as they transform how we grow, produce, and distribute food. All participating for-profit companies contribute 1.5% equity to FS6 upon acceptance into the program. Typical investment size: $25k.

Foodtech.acPoland: the program, which takes place in Warsaw, held its most recent Demo Day in December. It requires two full days each week plus additional ‘homework’, and costs around $250 to get involved. Typical grant size: N/A

FoodTech Accelerator Italy: the team selects 10 startups each year to build and accelerate concrete pilot projects in a 15 week program, including the use of office space in Milan. Previous cohorts include plant-based egg producer Zero Egg, which just launched its products in the US. The applications for this year are closed, but get working on your pitch for next year when applications open again in June. Typical investment size: €20k.

FoodTECH HUBBrazil: it has a rigorous, five step selection process, but it has a variety of programs for all aspects of the food tech industry. Its four month startup program provides mentorship as well as access to the best venture capital funds in Brazil and abroad, alongside access to national and international events. You can register your interest at any point. Typical grant size: N/A.

FoodX Accelerator USA: claims to be the number 1 food innovation accelerator in the world, with access to startup capital as well as the potential for follow-on funding, alongside 160+ industry mentors. The applications for the next round have closed, and the program is planned to be virtual until it becomes safe to travel to NYC. FoodX has already helped grow over 100 startups and has funded over 30 seed rounds, and previous cohorts include artisan plant-based meats company The Abbot’s Butcher, plant-based jerky company Kojo and algae-based food company nonfood. Typical investment size: $75k.

Forward Fooding UK: the first ‘foodtech community’ in London, this innovation hub supports entrepreneurs as they ‘digitize’ their business, to create truly digital brands. There’s a shared workspace, a whole program of workshops and events, plus a media studio, dedicated to content creation. Applications to join the community are always open. Typical grant size: N/A.

Green Development and Demonstration Program (GUDP)Denmark: this is the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark’s food and agriculture program, and is focused on both economic and green sustainability development. Research institutes, manufacturers and food startups can apply for grants for development and demonstration projects with or without a research share with a duration of up to 4 years and with a total grant of DKK 0.25–15 million (approx $30k-$1.8M). Typical grant size: variable.

Good Food FundUK: This recently-established accelerator is focused on addressing childhood obesity, and has six brands currently active in its program.The 12-month program is free to the participating brands and includes expert coaching against specific business needs, as well as the potential for investment at the end of the program. Typical investment size: variable.

HatchNorway, Hawaii, Singapore: focused on aquaculture and alternative seafood innovation. It’s been established for two years and has already invested in more than 30 companies and raised its first $8M fund. The 2020 program is happening right now, and it’s being delivered via a blend of virtual and physical interaction. Typical investment size: $100k — $1M.

The HatcheryUSA: The Hatchery is a startup community space, where tech companies can use the state-of-the-art kitchen facilities plus access courses and events, networking opportunities, financing and mentorship. It takes applications constantly, so why not sign up to be considered? Typical grant size: N/A.

Horizon 2020 EU: this has been the biggest EU funding program for research and innovation over the last few years with a budget of €80Bn, and despite its name is still currently ongoing. It covers many different high-impact sectors, including Excellent Science, Societal Challenges, Future & Emerging Technologies and Science With and For Society. It was the first of the EU programs to recognise alternative proteins in 2020, and is open to all-stage startups in the hope of accelerating the best possible results. Typical grant size: variable.

IndieBio USA: one of the ‘big guns’, each of the teams in the intensive four month program receives seed funding, lab and co-working space and dedicated mentorship, as well as becoming a part of IndieBio’s large alumni network. It has accelerated 136 companies to date, with 42% female founders which is higher than in most programs. Typical investment size: $250k.

Innovate UKUK: part of UK Research & Innovation, and covers a wide variety of funding opportunities for startups across many different industries, handily listed in its funding finder. Grants are variable, but sizable, so if one crops up in your area of interest it is definitely worth applying. Typical grant size: variable

Innovation Fund Denmark Denmark: has many different programs including, but not limited to: Innofounder Graduate for applicants with a maximum of 24 months since graduation, which is a 12 month program for individuals with a monthly grant of DKK 15,000 ($1.8k), a grant of DKK 35,000 ($4.1k) for development, a mentor, a free work space and workshops; Innofounder Experienced for applicants with significant work or research experience, which is a 12 month program including a monthly grant of DKK 30,000 ($3.5k) plus a grant of DKK 100,000 ($11.8k) for development; InnoBooster for startups as well as established businesses with a grant size of DKK 50,000 ($5.9k) to DKK 5M ($590k). Typical grant size: variable.

Ivoro Spain: primarily an innovation hub, though did hold an accelerator in 2017. Successful applicants can use its Lab Kitchen to further develop and fully test concepts, and you can register your interest at any time. Typical investment size: $150k.

Katapult Accelerator Norway: this three month program is now a digital one, and it gets great reviews, with some startups claiming 600% growth through the training. Its fifth batch held its Demo Day in September, and though applications for the next batch are technically closed, you may still be considered if you register your interest. Typical investment size: $150k

Katapult FoodUK: part of the ‘Katapult World’ ecosystem, it provides a 3 month fast-paced, hands-on program based in London, plus access to a global network of mentors and investors. Typical investment size: $150k

KickstartSwitzerland: an annual innovation program in Switzerland that brings together later-stage startups with corporations, foundations, universities and cities in order to foster deep tech innovation. It takes place in Zurich from September to November, and is only open to Swiss startups. Pre-registration for the 2021 program is open now. Typical investment size: $10k.

Kitchentown Germany: provides a working space in the heart of Berlin for FoodTech entrepreneurs, with shared and dedicated facilities alongside expertise from professionals in the foodtech industry to help startups prototype and produce new innovation. It admits startups on a monthly basis, there are no application deadlines. Typical investment size: €30k.

Le Village by CAFrance: France’s premier accelerator, it provides a network of support, creating links between startups and national businesses, to further innovation and create employment. Typical grant size: N/A.

MistaUSA: rather than an incubator or accelerator, this is a new innovation platform for the food industry. It’s an optimiser, enabling start-ups and established corporations to optimise ideas, products, people and investments, and providing customised solutions for business needs. Applications are always open. Typical grant size: N/A.

NIA Coupon Thailand: this project provides financial support to innovative SMEs and startups, in the form of coupons up to a total value of 1.5M Baht (around $50k) to be used for commercial development purposes. To be eligible, business innovation models must be scalable, and run by a registered resident of Thailand who owns at least 51% of the share capital. Typical grant size: up to $50k.

Norrsken Impact Accelerator Sweden: this new impact accelerator was just announced and will run it’s first 8 week programme in Stockholm during the summer 2021. In addition to a $100k investment the startups receive support from successful and experienced entrepreneurs, including unicorn founders. The accelerator is sector agnostic and is open to startups in any area of impact, but this year the cohort will have a special focus on food-tech and agri-tech. Typical investment size: $100k. Note: We (Anna & Erik, founders of Trellis Road) are Venture Partners of the Norrsken Impact Accelerator so we’re obviously very excited about the program and are convinced it will bring tremendous value to the selected startups. Applications are open so fire away!

One Bio South Africa: the One Bio seed investment fund invests in early-stage biotech startups. Speed to market is critical, so startups need a prototype or form of IP which can be translated to a marketable product as quickly as possible. The fund allocates 85% of its resources to South Africa and 15% to the rest of Africa. It considers applications year-round. Typical investment size $30k — $1.2M, based on the achievement of defined milestones.

The Pearse Lyons CultivatorIreland: the world’s leading late-stage agtech accelerator, with four core focus areas: natural immunity, profitable production, sustainable agri-food and optimised nutrition. A three-month innovation program for the top 10 leading agtech startups from across the world. It’s always looking to connect with innovators, so you can apply at any time. Typical investment size: €15k.

Pepsico’s Greenhouse Accelerator USA: One major focus for this year’s cohort will be on food innovations and technologies that “improve the aging process through wellness and health management.” Companies worldwide are eligible for the program; they must have a product or service currently available in the market, and have more than $1 million. Each startup gets a $20k grant, but one of the cohort will receive an additional $100k grant at the end of the program. All of next year’s events will be virtual. Typical investment size: $20k.

PlantStation USA: its facility has two fully equipped kitchens, one for the creation of gluten-free products and one for plant-based food products, for use by food entrepreneurs looking to create, test, and produce food innovation. Entrepreneurs pay an annual fee to use the space, so you can apply at any time.Typical grant size: N/A.

ProVeg IncubatorGermany: one of the world’s leading accelerators for mission-driven plant-based and cultured food startups, shaping the future of food by exclusively supporting pioneering companies that are developing disruptive alternatives to animal-based products. It recently announced its latest cohort, and for the first time over half are female-led companies. It accepts the most impactful food startups from all over the world, in all stages of development, and applications to be part of its next cohort are open now until 7th February. Typical grant size: €20k, with the possibility of up to an extra €180k of investment in exchange for 9% equity.

Rockstart Netherlands: dedicated to AgriFood startups, driving positive change towards a holistic food supply system. There are various different programs for different areas of industry, and previous cohorts include an impressive bunch of innovative startups such as Saillog, whose AI tech allows farmers to identify and treat plant diseases and pests. Typical investment size: €20k.

ShakeUpFactory France: based in the world’s biggest startup campus, Station F, it’s a six month accelerator program designed to help startups scale their companies. It has an impressive list of ‘graduates’, including Ynsect, whose total financing now stands at $425M, the largest amount ever raised by a non-American agtech business. It’s taking applications now so sign up to get involved. Typical grant size: N/A.

StartLife Netherlands: since 2010, StartLife has built, supported and funded over 300 startups in foodtech and agtech, with €137M of investment, and has a pretty stellar team of business coaches. It’s constantly accepting applications. Typical investment size: $40k.

StartupbootcampItaly: ten high-potential startups complete an intense three month program and achieve progress which would normally take 18 months, ending with a Demo Day to introduce them to investors, industry leaders, corporate executives, mentors and press. Living expenses are covered, office space is provided, plus a bunch of other perks and discounts alongside the program, so it sounds like a pretty sweet deal in return for 6% equity. Typical investment size: €15k.

Til Sjávar Og Sveita Iceland: “For the sea and the countryside”, this is a business accelerator for innovative companies in agriculture and fishing tech backed by Icelandic startups. Typical grant size: N/A.

ToasterLAB France: focused on agtech, with 12 months of personalised acceleration support, plus free office space and accommodation during the intensive phase (2–3 months), based in Dijon. It costs €6k to join, but you don’t have to sacrifice any equity. Applications are open now and the deadline is 25th January. Typical grant size: N/A.

Unicef Innovation Fund global: provides up to $100k equity-free funding to open source frontier tech solutions showing promising results. The funding is intended for prototype testing and validation, and access to a tailored one-to-one mentoring program with the Innovation Fund’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Mentors is provided in a program which takes place over 4–5 months and concentrates on topics such as value proposition, competition map, stakeholder map, sales and activities, pricing and business models, growth plan, financial projections, and business and impact focused metrics. Plus, the team page has everyone’s baby pics, so that’s fun. Typical grant size: up to $100k.

Union Kitchen USA: with more of a focus on packaged goods, this Washington DC accelerator assists with all parts of the food tech supply chain to help brands build products which consumers want to buy. The program’s Kitchen, Distribution and Stores provide the platform to build and grow a company, while also lowering the need for additional capital investment. Union Kitchen has worked with over 650 businesses since 2012, which have collectively created over $350M of revenue. Applications are always open. Typical grant size: N/A.

Urban X USA: selects up to ten urbantech startups every six months, to take part in a 20 week program for startups facing the unique challenges working with and within cities, particularly in regulated industries and government procurement. Applications for cohort 10 close 8th April. Typical investment size: $100k

X-Europe Europe: covers all types of futuristic tech, but has a specific accelerator for agtech currently underway. It offers mentorship and training, both in-person and online, plus social media exposure and access to investors. Applications for its Smart Cities & Sustainability cohort will open in March. Typical grant size: N/A.

The Yield LabUSA: seeking to invest in early-stage agtech companies. Not currently accepting applications for its accelerator programs, which are two-day intensives, but it’s still worth getting in touch for other potential investment opportunities. Typical investment size: $100k.

+Impact Accelerator The Nordics: this accelerator focused on circular economy will run a batch focused on agrifood starting in March 2021. Accepting startups from the Nordic countries. All sessions are tailor-made for each startup’s specific needs and will be offered digitally. The program will have a physical hub in Stockholm for startups wishing to relocate for the program. Applications are open until February 8th. Typical grant size: N/A.

Investing in high-impact foodtech and agritech startups.

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