We are often asked: “how can we have more startups here?”. The person I am speaking with, either a corporate employee or a lawmaker, expects me to say something about taxes, regulations or other benefits. My answer is often deceptive to them: “do nothing and learn to love innovation”. I won’t elaborate here on the importance of stability and hence of doing nothing. My point today is about genuinely loving innovation, being passionate about it, and supporting it. It also requires trust that things may not be ideal today, even a bit ugly along the road, but that everything will be better tomorrow. This can be applied to many instances to explain some ecosystems’ success versus others, such as in the examples below.
🇨🇭🍔 PLANTED, THE SWISS PLANT-BASED STARTUP RAISES CHF 17M
This deal is highly interesting. First, the company was founded by a student of ETH Zurich, a leading research university. The pilot production plant was set up inside the university, which also provided some funding to help create the company.
Second, the company will use the capital to scale its production capabilities. This choice of mastering production is rare among Europe’s plant-based startups as most of them tend to work with copackers.
😐 🚴♂️ IS SPAIN PLANNING TO KILL GLOVO?
As Barcelona-based Glovo is expanding fast, is Madrid trying to kill it? Indeed, Spain may become the first EU country to give gig workers employee rights. This comes after last week’s UK’s supreme court ruling saying that Uber riders were workers and not self-employed.
This idea is spreading across Europe and could threaten all the business models of startups that are reinventing both restaurant and grocery delivery (it can also explain why we don’t have startups equivalent in size to Instacart).
This debate is complex and multi-faceted but from the outside, it looks like Europe is trying to inflict another blow to its startup ecosystem. And these rulings also seem to go against a probable future where more and more of us won’t be employees but independents working with each other or larger corporations in client-supplier relationships.
👨💻 A NEW INDEX OF VEGAN STOCKS
Another recurring question we hear is: “Is there a real market for vegan product startups?” Here is a literal answer with this index of public alternative proteins startups. While the index is not listed (yet), it could be a valuable tool to follow the investors’ sentiment on this market’s prospects.
There is a call for this type of index. Other “vegan” indexes seem more driven by marketing motivations and include companies far from the food sector, such as Apple or Intel.
SINCE YOU’RE HERE
Great interview of Pasta Evangelists’ founder and how he sold a majority stake to Barilla for £40M – A new attempt to grow strawberries with urban farming technologies, this time by addressing the (very) high-end market, US startup Oishii raised $50M – Another “super deal” for Europe’s FoodTech: Infarm raised $270M and expands the number of products it grows by adding mushrooms, tomatoes and chilis – Better Origin, a UK-based startup raised €2.5M for its modular insect farms.