As for many, this is my favorite time of the year. Things will soon start to slow down, and we will enjoy the special spirit of Christmas. It is also enjoyable because it gives you an opportunity to look back at what you’ve done and what you can expect. For us at DigitalFoodLab, this December is a bit special. It is our “10th FoodTech entrepreneurship anniversary”. Then, I would like to share with you our path into FoodTech in the past decade and what we learned along the way.
In 2010, we (same co-founders, Jérémie and me) created our first startup at the end of our studies. In seven years, it went from a cooking companion to help you in the kitchen to a meal planner with nutritional advice from dieticians. FoodTech wasn’t even a word to describe food startups. When used, it referred to equipment used in food processing.
In the next five years, we raised a bit of capital, and at the time, raising almost a million euros was a landmark. Indeed, in 2013, the whole European FoodTech ecosystem raised less than €120M (€25M in France). Back then, delivery wasn’t even a thing (Deliveroo was founded in 2012 and raised significant capital only in 2014).
In 2014, we created the first FoodTech event in Europe. We called them DigitalFoodLab to focus on entrepreneurs providing services for the consumer or the industry. Launching a new food product seemed then overly ambitious and complicated. Retailers were not open to any kind of cooperation with startups (outside some “pitch contest”).
2016 was a pivot year for the European FoodTech ecosystem and us. Delivery startups were raising huge amounts of money, and entrepreneurs were moving more into this space. FoodTech was now a thing, media and larger corporations were talking about (this was the first time we get asked to talk to a board about FoodTech and get paid for it). The scope was broadening with innovations in agriculture, foodscience, and delivery. On our side, we had grown up to a mature team of twelve people, a product working well with many paid subscribers. Pushed by our investors to question what we should do next, we realized that we arrived at the end of a cycle and wondered if we were the best fit to move forward. We moved on to find an acquirer for our startup. With both luck and resilience, we managed to find the right company.
A few years later, fully dedicated to DigitalFoodLab, now a consulting company, we observe and help the European FoodTech ecosystem’s emergence. As large companies are making many acquisitions, we now have many public FoodTech companies (TakeAway, HelloFresh, Beyond Meat, DoorDash…), a growing number of unicorns (even if some may be overvalued), and a maturing ecosystem with innovation all along the value chain.
By working with many CPG companies such as Nestlé, Cargill, big retailers, and startups, we see that the will to innovate is only growing stronger. Each time we dive into a specific ecosystem to understand its trends, where it is going, and how our clients could benefit from it, we get more confident about the ability of entrepreneurs to solve the challenges of our food system. We can’t wait to see what will happen in the ten years to come.
For more information on current trends, look at our 2020 FoodTech trends and FoodTech brands reports. Should you want to discuss these trends (as an entrepreneur or larger company) and see how they could shape your business’s future, please contact us!
Merry Christmas & see you in 2021!
2020 TOP INSIGHTS FROM DIGITALFOODLAB
Here are the links to the top 10 DigitalFoodLab contents of the year (based on the number of view, download, likes, etc.):
- The European FoodTech ecosystem in 2020 investment report. Europe is still growing, and we can’t wait to work on 2021’s edition of the investment report to see how things have evolved. If you have suggestions or want to sponsor the report, contact us!
- FoodTech interrupted: how startups reacted to COVID-19. Written during the pandemic, it is maybe even more interesting to read six months afterward.
- Mapping of the TOP 25 French FoodTech startups: our top mapping of the year. We had a lot of great feedback and have already started to work on next year’s.
- Mapping of the keto startups: a discovery for many readers. Keto is still growing, and the first ventures are emerging in Europe.
- A set of resources on D2C and DNVB startups + our report on FoodTech brands.
- A video on how FoodTech startups are changing the world (in French)
- Top deals: Karma raises £252M for its cloud kitchens, Lactips raises €13M for its edible packaging, and Oatly becomes Europe’s first plant-based unicorn
YOU LIKE THIS CONTENT? SHARE IT WITH SOMEONE WHO MIGHT LEARN SOMETHING FROM IT!
We grow with your help. So, if you like this content and feel that it might help someone to understand how Ag, Food, and Retail will be disrupted in the incoming years, share this newsletter or subscribe him or her here!
As you can see, FoodTech is indeed moving faster than ever in 2020. But you are not alone. DigitalFoodLab is here to help you :
- Stay at the top of your domain. We provide exclusive insights and information through talks and our FoodTech watch.
- Prepare for the future. We help you make plans for long-term trends and their implications on your business and identify the right startup to work on your current issues.
- Innovate faster. We work with you to define the innovation strategy fitted to your business means and needs.
No matter if you are a startup or a food giant, we are here to work with you and change the world of food! (contact us).