After 12 weeks of dedicated effort, the long-awaited moment arrived. We proudly hosted the 4th Demo Day in our headquarters. This year's Demo Day for Batch 4 brought together various stakeholders. Gathering a diverse audience that spanned from local startups and investors to corporate representatives, the event placed a spotlight on the values of innovation, collaboration, and the potential for cross-industry synergy. This event was organized in collaboration with esteemed partners like K+S, KWS, hannoverimpuls, GAFS, DLG, NBank, and Startup Niedersachsen.
RootCamp's progress in 2023
2023 was a year plenty of remarkable events for RootCamp. The first major milestone was achieved in February 2023 when we received the grant from NBank and startup Niedersachsen that propelled RootCamp's regional relevance.
As our alumni are rapidly growing the need for external capital increases. This is why this year’s focus was also much more on investors with the introduction of an exclusive “Investor Dinner” that took place in Berlin at Borchardt. The format was very successful and you can look forward to the next event in 2024.
Moreover, RootCamp's dedication to creating meaningful connections within the industry was shown in a newly developed product called “Deep Dives”. The objective is to identify challenges and define innovation gaps of entire value chains through the collaboration of stakeholders belonging to the same value chain. In April 2023, we arranged an insightful workshop on the topic of pea proteins. The event was the first "deep dive" of a long series. Industry, research, startups and other relevant stakeholders came together in Hannover for an intensive exchange to discuss challenges and potentials.
Navigating Corporate Innovation
The corporate innovation landscape is rapidly evolving, with startup collaborations taking on a pivotal role. In our panel discussion titled "Corporate Innovation and Different Ways to Collaborate with Startups," we delved into the challenges and opportunities at hand.
Effective deal flow management is fundamental for organizations, enabling them to identify the most suitable startups for their specific needs. Andreas Gockeln of Martin Braun, the investment arm of Dr. Oetker, emphasized that the primary objective of deal flow management is to pinpoint promising startups, evaluate their viability and growth potential, and make well-informed decisions. This multifaceted process involves various approaches, such as networking at events, conducting market research, participating in programs like RootCamp, and internal scouting efforts.
Once the deal flow is full with prospects, the challenge lies in selecting the right startups. Alexander Wiegelmann from KWS, the world's fourth-largest seed producer, highlighted several hurdles in collaborating with startups, including decision-making processes, internal and external influences, risk aversion, and venturing into areas distant from the core business. The "not-invented-here syndrome" was also noted as an obstacle.
Upon identifying a startup's potential, the next step involves designing the collaboration and outlining the project. A prime example of successful collaboration was presented by our alumni startup, Bioweg, in partnership with K+S, Europe's largest potash supplier for fertilizers. Prateek Mahalwar, CEO of Bioweg, underlined the great role played by RootCamp's structured process in facilitating these pilot projects. He emphasized the importance of clearly defining problem statements and establishing a roadmap complete with milestones and success metrics from the project's inception. Ralf Blessing from K+S explained that the most valuable aspect of collaborating with startups is the knowledge and insights gained. This is especially true when venturing into new areas outside the core business, as it encourages the organization to think differently and approach innovation with a fresh perspective.
However, some companies prefer equity-based collaborations, which grant them more influence and interaction with startups, as elucidated by Jakob Lilienweiss from High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF). HTGF, Europe's largest early-stage seed investor with over 700 investments, relies on Limited Partners (LPs) who provide capital to investment partnerships while maintaining limited liability and control over partnership activities.
One unanimous point made by all panelists is that the startup's solution and technology, particularly in the early stages, hold the utmost significance. A highly innovative product with a compelling value proposition remains the primary driving force behind successful collaborations.
Diversity and Innovation at the Forefront
Also this year the program demonstrated a great variety of topics from all around the world. The journey of the selected 7 startups from over 400 applications is impressive. The applications hailed from 58 different countries, exemplifying the global reach of RootCamp. Notably, a positive development emerged with the revelation that 5 out of the 7 startups selected featured at least one female founder. This number underlined our commitment to fostering diversity and inclusivity within the startup ecosystem.
Innovative SOLUTIONS OF BATCH 4: Meet the Companies Leading the Way
Taking center stage, the spotlight was shared among the startups from RootCamp's current acceleration program batch.
Aquanzo specializes in marine protein farming, producing sustainable marine ingredients for the aquaculture industry by farming Zooplankton like Artemia, aiming to reduce the environmental footprint.
Artenglück promotes nature conservation by creating local flowering meadows for companies looking to support CSR/ESG and sustainability initiatives, blending expertise in agriculture, conservation, and marketing.
Cultimate Foods is developing cell-cultivated intramuscular fat to enhance meat quality and reduce global meat consumption, supplying it as a B2B ingredient for alternative meat products.
Grassa offers a circularity concept that extracts surplus proteins from grass, suitable for human and animal consumption, contributing to sustainable protein production.
GreEnCAP focuses on sustainable plant protection solutions through encapsulation technology, reducing pesticide use while maintaining crop yields for environmentally responsible farming.
Poás Bioenergy converts agricultural waste into biochar and clean energy using innovative gasification technology, aiming to regenerate soils and sequester carbon.
Seedalive is a rapid seed germination test provider, revolutionizing seed quality control with a 4-hour test, saving energy and offering on-site testing with their user-friendly kits and app.
A Flourishing Partnership Network
The RootCamp Demo Day boasted a robust network of stakeholders who contributed to its success. Local startups such as eco:fibr were present alongside influential investors like Astanor and Greengenfund. The corporate world was represented by giants like Continental and Südzucker, demonstrating a deep commitment to fostering innovation. Network partners, including DIL and Rentenbank, added another layer of expertise to the event's dynamic ecosystem.
The RootCamp Demo Day for Batch 4 had not only showcased cutting-edge innovation and entrepreneurial talent but also served as a reminder of the transformative power that collaboration can bring to the forefront. Missed this event? Don't hesitate to reach out to us, and we'll send you all the pitch decks and videos. The next RootCamp event is already in the pipeline.
Join us at AgriTech Pitch Day 2023, hosted by High-Tech Gründerfonds, on September 28th.
Moreover in the next month the RootCamp team is hitting the road, traveling across Europe to attend top agtech and startup events. Catch us here:
🇬🇧 World AgriTech Innovation Summit |London| September 26th-27th
The World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit has become the annual meeting place for the global AgTech industry and brings together leading agribusinesses, entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers to accelerate the transition to sustainable and resilient agri-food systems. Get in touch with Gaia in London.
🇫🇷 NutrEvent |Rennes| October 17th-18th
NutrEvent offers a comprehensive program dealing with the latest market trends and R&D innovations in Food, Animal and Human Nutrition. We are delighted to announce that Philipp Ritterhaus will be a panelist in the discussion titled: "From Sustainable to Circular Food Systems: How to Systematically Harness the Value of Food Waste and Co-Products for Side Streams and Novel Resources?" The panel is scheduled for October 17th at 11 AM.
🇩🇪 Agritechnica |Hannover| November 12th -18th
After a break of almost 3 years due to the Corona pandemic, Agritechnica will finally take place again this year. More than 400,000 visitors are expected from all over the world. Get to know the latest innovations and don't miss out our daily Lunchtime Startup Pitch Session from 12:00 AM to 2PM at the innovation stage.