In the latest sign that the tech industry is pivoting toward climate and sustainability, Atlantic Food Labs — an offshoot of the Berlin fund Atlantic Labs headed by long-time tech investor Christophe F. Maire — is relaunching as FoodLabs, with a dedicated €100 million food tech fund to invest in food, health and sustainability startups.
Founded in 2016, Atlantic Food Labs has been an investor in startups such as Infarm.com, SanityGroup.com, Formo.bio, Mushlabs.com, Mitte.co, Choco.com, Stenon.io and Gorillas.io. With the new fund, FoodLabs is doubling down on the sector.
FoodLabs will focus on intellectual property and “scalable digital business models toward a more efficient and sustainable food industry from earth to earth, from agriculture, production, distribution, human health to zero waste.”
Maire said: “The food industry is the largest industry in the world, and it accounts for more than a quarter of greenhouse emissions globally. Transforming how we produce and consume food toward more efficiency and sustainability has a major impact on the planet and people. We strongly believe that technology and entrepreneurship hold the key to tackling the key challenges of our time. With the Food Fund we will back the most ambitious founders building outlier companies that pave the way for healthier nutrition, sustainable agriculture, better access to food.”
In a call with me, he said: “I started the food labs five years ago because simply I felt the food industry is one of the most relevant industries for human health but one of the most irrelevant industries to the climate. I believe that entrepreneurs can help us solve some of the key issues of our time. We started, relatively small, so we invested around $15 million, but along the way, I discovered that the potential is much bigger than I ever imagined. So now we are setting up this €100 million fund. I have a great team and all the people who are really into the mission. And I think this is the best thing I’ve ever done in my career. It’s a fantastic space and it’s very fascinating.”
The first companies across of the new fund include:
● Foodji (D), a digital solution for fresh and healthy food to go
● Habitual (U,K.) a digital health startup providing digital diabetes reversal direct to consumers
● Kitch (P) offering a software for delivery services
● Klim (D) with the mission to make agriculture more sustainable through carbon farming
● Voila (D), bringing fine dining from Europe’s best restaurants to everyone’s living room
● Microharvest (D) providing access to sustainably produced nutrients and proteins
● Myota (CH) a new approach to guy health
● Yababa (D) a fast-delivery company for oriental food
● The Plate, a culinary creator platform
● Airfarm (D) an agritech company providing a digital platform for farmers
It’s also announcing the launch of its Entrepreneur in Residence program for scientists.
Maire added: “We strongly believe that Europe will become the epicenter of food tech and agtech innovation. Europe has always been strong with scientific research and engineering expertise, but lagging behind with a support system for entrepreneurship. Our mission is to build an international platform for innovation and sustainability in the food industry, bringing together entrepreneurship, scientific know-how from universities and research institutions, as well as major industry players.”
Patrick Huber, general partner at FoodLabs said: “Over the last years we have been impressed by the scientists who joined us to build exceptional companies. We strongly believe that the collaboration of scientists and entrepreneurs will be key to bring radical innovation to the food value chain.”
Maire told me: “We start with agriculture and agriculture methods that will capture more carbon. So we have, for instance, a company that’s focusing on permaculture, which I think is much bigger than people imagine. We also look at aquaculture, new proteins, new methods of production, new methods of distribution. Quick commerce, local sourcing, new consumer behavior. So, food and health, because what’s fascinating about this space is that it’s not just a push on the side of the entrepreneur, it’s very much a pull up from the consumer.”