Amsterdam-based, early stage venture capital firm Rockstart announced it will be closing on its newly launched AgriFood accelerator and fund at €15 million (US$16.9M).
With state-backed Vaekstfonden from Denmark and family-owned De Hoge Dennen Capital from the Netherlands as cornerstone investors, the fund will operate out of Copenhagen, Denmark, and will leverage the strengths of the Nordic and Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) ag and food ecosystems.
“There is a huge potential for AgriFood technology in Denmark and the Netherlands as these countries have historically had a very strong agricultural and food sector,” said Rolf Kjærgaard, CIO, Vækstfonden. “We are extremely excited about the partnership with Rockstart who now launches their accelerator program in Copenhagen.”
Setting itself apart from its field of rivals, Rockstart’s AgriFood will be open to not only investing initial capital, but also pursuing follow-on funding for select promising companies up to Series B.
And taking a holistic view of the ag and food supply chain, Rockstart acknowledges that solutions must positively affect every phase of the chain from primary agriculture to consumption. Toward this end, the accelerator and fund will be looking to engage with startups developing solutions with large-scale impact in three areas: optimization of processes and practices; mitigating food waste; and driving transparency and sustainability.
“We are looking for exceptional entrepreneurial teams with Agritech and Foodtech startups that are using emerging tech and new business models to positively change or transform our food supply system,” said Mark Durno, AgriFood domain director at Rockstart. “The AgriFood industry should be considered holistically, so we are looking at solutions from soil to gut.”
The six-month long program, which Rockstart calls a “pressure cooker program”, will focus heavily on access to capital and market. Supported by more than 100 mentors and industry partners, the program will consist of four phases, each centered upon a specific phase of business development, which once completed, will prepare and position each startup for investment and global scaling.
“Adding to the local competencies that we already have, I am convinced that Rockstart will deliver both an international network and mindset that help the startups deliver on their business potential,” said Kjærgaard.
The application process to participate in Rockstart’s AgriFood accelerator is currently open. If selected, each startup will receive daily support from the accelerator’s management team, will have access to workshop events, and will be involved in a range of events organized by Rockstart – from Demo Day to intimate investor dinners, where participants can network with potential market partners and backers.
“We’re excited to be part of the next stage in Rockstart’s development in a sector that’s very close to our heart,” said Jelle Roodbeen of De Hoge Dennen Capital.
“With a growing world population, there’s a strong need for innovation in the AgriFood sector and Rockstart is perfectly positioned to enable this with a strong presence in Denmark and the Netherlands and an excellent track record in accelerator programs in various sectors.”
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