SmartCatch, Nectar and SAP! Beverages win top awards at leading food pitch competition
MONTREAL, May 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, 20 food and agriculture entrepreneurs pitched disruptive solutions for pressing food challenges to judges and industry leaders at Rabobank's FoodBytes! Montreal. SmartCatch, Nectar and SAP! Beverages took home the top three awards for their cutting-edge products and technologies at the first FoodBytes! event to be held in Canada. The event was hosted by local nutritionist and author Catherine Lefebvre at New City Gas, Montreal.
The 20 pitch companies were selected from more than 100 applicants. Winning companies receive mentorship and connections to develop their companies, including innovation experiences and expert counsel from the FoodBytes! family of sponsors. The winners will also pitch leading executives at Rabobank's Annual Food & Agriculture Summit in New York City on November 29.
Judges' Choice Award: SmartCatch of Woodside, Calif.
FoodBytes! judges selected the winner based on innovation, focus on sustainability and market traction. SmartCatch provides Sustainable Seafood Technologies to reduce by-catch waste, combat illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing and promote global sustainable seafood markets.
"FoodBytes! provides incredible visibility to the food and ag industry with great networking and mentoring," said Mark Dahm, CEO of SmartCatch. "Canada is a great maritime nation with incredible and productive fisheries; it's a target market for us."
FoodBytes! People's Choice Award Nectar of Montreal, Qc.
Nectar won the People's Choice Award, which was voted on by the audience and Facebook Live viewers using the same judging criteria. Nectar offers a data-driven apiary management platform to assist beekeepers in keeping honey bees healthy and productive using sensors and AI.
"At FoodBytes!, the people in the room deeply understand what we are building," said Marc-Andre Roberge, co-founder and beekeeper of Nectar. "The FoodBytes! experience is all about the entrepreneur and making sure we're in the spotlight."
FoodBytes! Highly Commended Award: SAP! Beverages of Burlington, Vt.
Judges selected the Highly Commended Award winner, SAP! Beverages, from the 1.5-minute pitch companies. SAP! Beverages makes sparkling superfood beverages out of maple and birch tree sap.
"We are blown away by the FoodBytes! community. This experience will take our brand to the next level at this critical moment for our company," said Chas Smith, co-founder of SAP! Beverages. "I'd highly encourage anyone thinking of applying not to miss this opportunity to connect with the right people."
The 20 pitch companies rehearsed the day before FoodBytes! Montreal and received coaching from mentors and judges. Each pitch company walked away from the FoodBytes! experience with invaluable feedback and a long-lasting network.
The FoodBytes! Montreal pitch companies were:
FoodBytes! by Rabobank is supported by Presenting Sponsor Agropur, Canada's leading dairy cooperative with its open innovation platform, Inno Challenge, designed to reinvent dairy by accelerating promising startups. Official sponsors include ADM, a specialty ingredients provider to food and beverage companies looking to get to market quickly with products consumers love, and Polsinelli, an AM Law 100 firm focusing on food and beverage, food- and ag-tech and health care.
Pitch applications are open for FoodBytes! London (closing July 1) and FoodBytes! New York (closing August 12). Follow FoodBytes! on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or view curated content via the hashtag #FoodBytes.
FoodBytes! By Rabobank
FoodBytes! is a next-generation pitch competition that aims to discover the most ground-breaking food and agriculture (F&A) startups and provide them the mentorship and connections they need to grow. Since launching in 2015, 190 startups have pitched on the FoodBytes! stage, 1,250 startups have applied from 35 countries and more than 3,000 people have attended events in North America, Europe and Australia. FoodBytes! is part of Rabobank's Startup Innovation initiative and is led by a global team based in New York City and Utrecht, The Netherlands. Rabobank is a leading global F&A bank, providing sector expertise, strategic counsel and tailored financial solutions to clients across the entire food value chain. Rabobank believes that sustainability and innovation are critical in promoting a thriving F&A industry that will feed the increasing global population, a key focus of its Banking for Food vision to grow a better world by 2050.