Foodland Ventures Founders. Source: Foodland Ventures

Foodland Ventures, the VC and Accelerator building a global ecosystem of food tech founders, held its first demo day on the 22nd of July and unveiled its very first cohort consisting of 6 startups who are solving the food industry’s most challenging problems. This is an exciting time in the food tech space – the global food and agriculture markets are expected to reach 6 and 9 trillion USD in 2021, respectively. And the role of tech is rising, with the food and agriculture technology and products market expected to grow from almost 500 billion to more than 700 billion USD by 2026. 

As serial entrepreneurs with decades of experience, Foodland Venture’s three Co-founders are subject-matter experts in software, technology, venture capital, and food industry consultancy. Each of them is dedicated to bridging the gap between modern tech-based innovation and the traditional food industry. They believe that technology is the solution to solve the food industry’s problems from farm to table.

At Foodland Ventures’ inaugural food tech demo day, the roster included Tsaitung Agriculture (smart supply chain), DOTDOT Inc. (in-store restaurant tech), 3T GDS Technology inc. (fintech), Yo-Kai Express (restaurant automation), KABOB CLOUD (smart retail SaaS / PaaS), and 3 SQUARE (cloud kitchen / virtual brands). The 6 companies already have a combined valuation of over 105 million USD. 

Enabling the growth of the food industry through technology 

The founders of Foodland Ventures believe that now is a golden opportunity to disrupt the food industry through technology. With well-aligned resources and investors from both the food and tech industries, they are much better suited to assist food tech founders than traditional sector-agnostic VCs. 

Co-founder and CEO Victor Chen has over 10 years of experience in software, and is also the founder of Food Innovation Summit Taiwan and the global food industry digest NOM Magazine. “Covid has accelerated the adoption of technology in the food industry. The difficult time now could be considered a turning point for restauranteurs to scale and grow even post-Covid.” He said. 

Co-founder Louis Lin has over 20 years of experience in restaurant consultancy and global F&B expansions. “Foodland Ventures connects innovative startups directly with valuable customers in the F&B industry, to help our founders find product market fit in the fastest way possible.” Louis mentioned. 

Co-founder Agnes Wang is a serial entrepreneur and an experienced venture capitalist. “What investors are looking for in a food tech startup is the ability to challenge the status quo of the food industry, and turn those challenges into opportunities to enable growth in the food industry through innovation” She said. 

Connecting World-Class VCs in the Global Food Tech Space – Fireside Chat Panel

Foodland Ventures’ Food Tech Demo Day kicked off with 3 world-class investor speakers – from Sequoia Capital India, SOSV and Scrum Ventures – to discuss global food tech trends in different geographic areas, the impact COVID has left on the food and food tech industries, and the expectations for food tech in the post-COVID world. 

Rohit Agarwal, VP of Sequoia Capital India and Ryo Hayashima, Managing Director of Food Tech Studio – Bites! of Scrum Ventures both highlighted the traction gains of “tech-enabled F&B brands” in both the South East Asian (SEA) and Japanese markets. Traditionally, food tech investment has been focused on pure “tech” companies, but with the boundaries of food and tech merging, tech enabled F&B brands are utilizing data insights to expand quickly and efficiently. 

William Bao Bean, General Partner of SOSV, Managing Director of Chinaceelerator and MOX, also shared his experience and insights with food tech startups on international expansions. He argued that unless your startup is from the US, China or India, you need an international presence to build a large-scale business. He also reiterated the importance for startups to be able to “solve problems” in the market they wish to expand to — “You want to go into a market where the product or platform or solution or service that you’re providing actually solves a problem in that market.”. 

During the discussion William also highlighted the continuous growth of e-commerce even while physical stores are recovering post-COVID. He stated that e-commerce, in terms of food products and food retail, grew by 20% in the first four months of this year. In Asia, traditional open markets and wet markets are taking hits as people are more and more conscious about food traceability after COVID. 

For Part 2, please click here