Amsterdam/Utrecht/Wageningen, The Netherlands: ScaleUpNation, Foodvalley NL and Rabobank announced today the launch of ScaleUpFood: a comprehensive support program dedicated to supporting food and agri scale-ups.

“Climate change, global population size and waste – are all opportunities for innovative, technology-driven enterprises throughout the value chain”, says Menno van Dijk, founder of ScaleUpNation. “Though many startups are launching and exist for some years, only those that scale will move the needle in terms of impact and economic value creation.”

Research by the ScaleUpNation Lab shows that less than 1% of early stage companies make it to $10 million annual revenues within 5 years. Scaling can be even more challenging in food and agriculture. The food and agriculture sector differs from other with respect to innovation speed and implementation due to growing seasons, long sales cycles, conservative customers and complicated regulation.


Food and Agri Scale-Ups in the Netherlands

Though the Netherlands has historically been a center of food innovation, this future is far from guaranteed – investment in innovative early stage companies lags behind other countries and too few of our young food and agriculture ventures make it to scale-ups.

“In food and agri the Netherlands has always been scale-up country, testimony our position of 2nd largest food exporter in the world. But many products have commoditized”, says Roger van Hoesel, Director FoodValley NL.  “This partnership will create a new wave of food and agri scale-ups focused on technology and sustainability.”

Jeroen Leffelaar, Managing Director, Rabobank Food and Agri Innovation, says that “current food production systems are simply unsustainable, even with today’s population. The need for true innovation in the F&A value chain is bigger than ever before. Many leading F&A corporates are realizing that fine-tuning their existing R&D may no longer be sufficient to keep up. If we wish to turn today’s new ideas and technologies into tomorrow’s game-changing solutions, we need to support the most promising early stage companies in scaling to disrupt a traditional and inefficient industry”.

Rogier Raaijmakers, Head of Rabobank Direct Investments, adds: “The Netherlands is a frontrunner in innovation, but clearly lagging in access to sufficient scale-up capital. With our networks, expertise and capital, we are fully committed to strengthen the global F&A innovation ecosystem, as well as the Dutch ecosystem around innovation and fast growing companies. The ScaleUpFood initiative clearly fits this ambition and we are determined to make it a success.”


The ScaleUpFood Program

ScaleUpFood will address venture scaling challenges first by carrying out ongoing fact-based research to uncover the success factors of global food and agri scale-up companies. Then, the invite-only support program starting in October addresses areas specific to food and agri scale-ups like strategic selling to large corporates, specialized finance, and data driven business model extensions. The program engages top Dutch corporates and innovative mid-caps for collaboration with the scale-ups. After the program, qualified ventures will be invited for longer term tailored support, collaboration opportunities and access to series-B level funding.

Anieke Wieringa, Director of ScaleUpFood, explains “Entrepreneurs who have made it to the scale-up stage in food and agri are the best of the best. But what got them here will not get them to the next level. We’re looking forward to unlocking significant growth opportunities with our first class this fall.”

About ScaleUpNation

ScaleUpNation supports young innovative companies to grow – specifically those that manage to combine a large social impact with attractive financial return. With the research lab, practice and investment focus, ScaleUpNation has supported over 125 impact scale-ups to date.

About Rabobank

Rabobank strongly believes that ground breaking startups and scale-ups in the food and agri value chain can help to nourish the world more sustainably. By offering pre-seed and venture capital through (captive) investment funds and the creation of platforms such as FoodBytes!, F&A Next and TERRA Accelerator and ScaleUpFood going forward, the bank leverages its global network and industry knowledge for thought leadership and strategic engagement with the best early stage companies, investors and innovative corporates.

About FoodValley

Foodvalley is the primary knowledge-intensive agrifood ecosystem in the Netherlands. Characterized by many world class innovative agrifood and food-related solutions and by the cooperation between companies, knowledge and educational institutions and governments with amongst others: Wageningen University and Research, FrieslandCampina Innovation Center, Unilever’s Global Foods Innovation Centre and many innovative food and agri companies. ScaleUpFood completes the support for startups and scaleups in the Foodvalley ecosystem:

  • StartLife helps startups and students with an innovative business idea grow into a successful startup through the incubation program, financing and coaching.
  • BOX (Blue Ocean XLerator) is an accelerator for startups in food, agri and life sciences focused on sustainable breakthrough technology.
  • Foodvalley Accelerator helps scaleups with a scalable product or service and a turnover of at least € 100,000 to grow to € 1 million turnover.
  • ScaleUpFood is a research, support and investment initiative for scaleups with a turnover of at least € 1 million turnover.

Foodvalley NL accelerates innovation, business development and growth by connecting companies to knowledge and educational institutes and government. Foodvalley NL works on speeding up the innovation performance of companies, both from the Netherlands and abroad.