Agrifoodtech accelerator StartLife partners with Icos Capital and Kubota

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StartLife is Europe’s longest running and leading agrifoodtech accelerator. Its mission is to accelerate agrifoodtech startups shaping a sustainable food system. Since 2010 the accelerator has supported over 300 agrifoodtech startups that have raised over €180 million follow-on capital. Now two new StartLife corporate collaborations have been announced, one with Icos Capital – a market-leading collaborative venture capital firm, the other with Kubota – Japan’s leading agricultural manufacturer.

Investment Partner: Icos Capital

Icos Capital has joined StartLife as investor partner. Since 2005, Icos Capital has backed 20 ambitious startups and scale-ups at the intersection of digital and sustainable industry. The company believes that the new collaboration with StartLife will help it tap into the accelerator’s sizable ecosystem and actively engage with early and scale-up phase startups in the agrifood industry. Startups which could benefit significantly from meaningful training and business development support.

Founder and CEO of Icos Capital, Nityen Lal, said “We are impressed by the origination and professional contribution of StartLife to the agrifood venture capital industry. As an early stage venture capital firm with substantial interest in the agrifood sector, we look forward to working closely with StartLife and hope to meet high quality startups that have been curated and guided by the StartLife team.”

Investor Relations Manager at StartLife, Lin Zhu added “As one of the top agrifood investors, it is exciting to engage in a new partnership with Icos Capital. It feels very natural for us to build a relationship with the company as there is a lot of overlap in our ambitions and the ecosystems we are embedded in.

Global Collaboration Partner: Kubota

With World Headquarters in Osaka, Japan, Kubota has been a frontrunner in the manufacture of agricultural equipment for over 130 years and has over 40,000 employees and offices in more than 120 countries across North America, Europe and Asia.

StartLife and Kubota will work to identify challenges facing the agriculture sector, brainstorm new ideas and facilitate the exchange of conversation among partners in the industry. Kubota will also tap into StartLife’s ecosystem of visionary agrifoodtech startups to usher in fresh collaborations, such as pilots and proof of concept projects to deliver integrated solutions.

Through this partnership with StartLife, Kubota has access to a whole ecosystem of innovative agriculture startups to help overcome challenges facing the industry, including those emerging over the next decade and beyond.

Kubota also believes that this collaboration will generate a wide range of benefits for farmers, who are central to Kubota´s innovation efforts both now and in the future.

For both Jan Meiling, managing director of StartLife, and Peter van der Vlugt, General Manager of Kubota Innovation Center Europe, the partnership was a logical step, since both parties recently moved into the same office building on Wageningen Campus.

Daria Batukhtina, Business Development Manager at Kubota Group Innovation Center Europe, said “As our neighbors in the FoodValley cluster, it would have been a missed opportunity for us not to partner with StartLife, who we deem a very important facilitator in the agriculture ecosystem. We also believe they encompass the entrepreneurial spirit needed to face the challenges of the future.

“The partnership was the next logical step for us in achieving our goal to accomplish activities with early-stage startups and open the door for new collaborations, such as pilots or proof of concept projects. We look forward to beginning this journey with StartLife.”

Global Partnerships Manager at StartLife, Caroline Bijkerk commented “It is fantastic to have a new corporate partner in our community, especially a company so very well established in corporate startup engagement such as Kubota.” before concluding “We at StartLife already have a very clear strategy of how to move forward with Kubota and we eagerly anticipate working together in the future.”

Peter van der Vlugt (General Manager, Kubota Innovation Center Europe) Caroline Bijkerk (Corporate Partnerships Manager, StartLife), Jan Meiling (Managing director, StartLife).
– Background: Plus Ultra II building: a brand new incubator and multi-tenant complex on Wageningen Campus where StartLife and Kubota both hold office since October 2020.

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About Author

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Matt has worked in digital publishing for twenty years, holding management positions at Nature (nature.com) and William Reed Business Media (foodmanufacture.co.uk etc.). He has also worked with BBC Worldwide, Centaur Media, UKi Media and Mark Allen Group. Since 2010 Matt has been a digital consultant working with B2B media companies in the agricultural, automotive, aviation, robotics and technology sectors. As Chairman of his local allotment association Matt grows his own food whilst chasing the dream of a one tonne giant pumpkin. He is a member of the British Garden Media Guild and was a finalist in the Garden Media Guild Awards 'blog of the year' category in 2018 and 2019.

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