Yummy: Startupbootcamp launches foodtech accelerator in Rome
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Cacio e pepe, a traditional Roman spaghetti dish. Photo credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 DC / Wikipedia

Cacio e pepe, a traditional Roman spaghetti dish. Photo credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 DC / Wikipedia

If you’re going to launch a hub for food technologies and innovation, it might as well be in the Italian capital

Startupbootcamp is making its preference for pizza and pasta known by landing its first Italian accelerator in Rome around the theme of foodtech. The first class will open later this year and is currently accepting applications.

There is a combination of local and international sponsors for Startupbootcamp FoodTech (@sbcFoodTech). Gambero RossoLVenture GroupMonini and M3 Investimenti all hale from Italy, while Cisco will also be behind the scenes.

“This week Italy sets itself firmly at the center of the global foodtech arena,” said Peter Kruger, CEO and founder of Startupbootcamp Foodtech, in a statement to the press. “While Milan witnesses Seeds And Chips, the greatest global foodtech startup and investor gathering event, we are here to reinforce Italy’s role by launching the first global and independent foodtech accelerator in the world.”

Foodtech is a broad term for startup and tech firms whose services and products range from delivery to manufacturing to full-on agricultural technologies to better facilitate crop production.

Industry watchdog site FoodTech Connect tallied about $6.8 billion in global foodtech investments in 2015, though that report largely analyzes delivery services. The biggest player in the game right now is German-based Rocket Internet, whose acquisition of several delivery services (Zomato, Just Eat and Grubhub) has made it the most prominent delivery startup in the world.

Each participating company will get 15,000 EUR plus six months of office space at Spazio M3 facilities, which will also host the three-month-long program.

“New generations of increasingly low-cost technology hardware and software are challenging and disrupting the traditional models of producing, packaging, marketing, selling, delivering, securitizing, tracking, eating and recycling” food, said Paolo Cuccia, President of Gambero Rosso, the main advisor to the program.

Selection takes place October 20-22 and the program starts November 21. Demo Day will be March 10. The program touts 100 mentors, access to more than 1,000 angel investors and venture capital firms, and more than 200 food industry veterans.

“Agrifood is one of the most important industries in Italy and we believe that technology is key to  strengthen our excellence” said Agostino Santoni, General Manager of Cisco Systems Italy, whose company will sponsor the FastTrack tour part of the program. “We are ready to support the growth of the Italian foodtech innovation ecosystem.”

“The food sector provides great opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs as it is still widely open to ‘disruptive’ innovation,” said Luigi Capello, CEO of LVenture Group. “Foodtech is likely to become one of the hottest markets for investors and, considering the excellent Italian quality in the agri-food sector, we are expecting a very positive trend in our country.”

Applications are open now through September 19. The program will be led by Founder and CEO Peter Kruger as well as Co-Founder and Chairman Paolo Cuccia.

Featured image credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 DC / Wikipedia

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