A MARKETPLACE for kitchen space won over the judge’s hearts at Rabobank’s FoodBytes pitchfest on Thursday.
The competition, held at Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour, required eight agribusiness start-ups and fledgling ventures to pitch their business case to a panel of judges. The judge’s choice, Sprout Kitchens, bagged a six-month mentoring program.
The start-up provides a service to match the owners of commercial kitchens with small businesses looking for space to prepare food. Sprout also offers insurance and security for the premises. The business was founded by young entrepreneurs James Jordan and Caroline Aguesse.
Judge Sam Threthewey said the winners were “undoubtedly” the best pitch on the day.
“They painted a very succinct and clear picture of the problem at hand, their solution to it and the return an investor would receive,” Mr Trethewey said.
Mr Threthewey’s fellow judge, Rabobank North America Head of Start-Up Innovation, Manuel Gonzalez, said the entrepreneurial multiplying effect of Sprout Kitchens had star appeal.
“Sprout Kitchens’ platform could enable new entrepreneurs to find a way of developing their product in a professional and safe environment,” Mr Gonzalez said.
Originally launched in the United States in 2015, the FoodBytes! competition finds ground-breaking concepts in food and agriculture and helps bring them to market.
The FoodBytes people’s choice award was won by AgriWebb – a business founded by John Fargher and Justin Webb which delivers end-to-end farm management software.
The other finalists included:
- AgDraft – an online platform launched by Ella Shannon, Cowra, which connects farmers and job-seekers.
- IDLocate – a start-up which provides food traceability solutions founded by Ruth Money and Simon Bell, Auckland, New Zealand.
- Smart Robotic Viticulture – led by Dr Mark Whitty and his team at the University of NSW’s School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, this business develops products to help the viticulture industry.
- Phycofood – a food business launched by Dr Pia Winberg which makes and sells seaweed based products.
- Groterra – Olympia Yarger and Mick Thornett’s business which breeds black solider fly larvae for animal feed.
- Knewe – a New Zealand-based startup headed by Dr Graeme Coles which is developing an animal prebiotics product.