Berytech called for applications for the second batch of candidates for the Agrytech Accelerator Program in June 2018, and received 120 applications, out of which 27 were admitted to the first phase – the bootcamp. From these, 14 agri-food startups made it into the second phase – the acceleration, and 9 graduated to the third and final phase – the incubation.
Startups that joined the final incubation phase of the program had either finalized their MVPs (Minimum Viable Product) or were in the process of completing them. The 9 startups and their respective co-founders received 6 months of support in learning and integrating industry best practices, finalizing their products, preparing to become investment-ready, and building their business strategies.
Phase 3 – Incubation Program
“In phase three, the incubation program focuses on preparing the startups to raise funds and scale. The teams strengthen their client relationship and validate traction in the market,” explains Fady Naffah, Agrytech Program Manager. “We can see this successfully happening when for example Quadra is one step away from signing their first deal and is in serious talks with clients in Qatar; Cubex raised $100K from the Dubai Expo 2020 initiative; Atayeb el Jabal launched in the market and have already catered for more than 25,000 people; and DigiMart onboarded a retailer and distributor and hired 3 sales people to grow their market shares.”
The focus of the incubation phase is on fundraising, operations and building healthy client and investor relationships to gain traction and scale. The startups received expert follow-up and mentoring on how to scale their businesses after launching their product in the market.
The program included private and group interactions that enabled the growth of startups participating in the group incubation phase. Group interactions included workshops, meet-ups, talks, group pitching sessions, and a bootcamp. Private interactions included clinics that tackle operations, finance, and investment readiness along with monthly review sessions to ensure that the startups were on the right path to achieve their goals.
Local and International Activities
The startups were also exposed to a program of activities both locally and internationally. The teams participated in the Agri-food Innovation Daywhere they had the chance to both show their solutions and pitch to a diverse audience. Four startups were selected to participate in the Seeds & Chips Summitin Milano; the summit exposed the startups to potential partners, clients, and the latest agri-food innovations and trends. Eight startups joined the Berytech space and demonstrated their products at the HORECA exhibitionin Beirut – dedicated to showcasing the latest in the food and hospitality sector. Three startups showcased at Agriteq in Qatar revealing them to an international audience of agricultural stakeholders.
Three startups traveled to the Netherlands for a soft landing, a vital part of the program that allowed them to explore the opportunities of the European market guided by local advisors and mentors from StartLife – the Dutch partner of the program.
Constantin Salemeh – Senior Investment Advisor with Berytech who leads on the Agrytech trainings explains that the success of the program is unraveled as “we expect at least 3 companies to receive a debt or an equity term sheet from interested investors by the end of the year and we will be working in close collaboration with them to ensure that these transactions take place in a win-win spirit over the next 12 months.”
For that, the startups have been armed with a business plan, a pitch deck, an investment teaser, financial projections and company valuation reviewed by their Berytech trainers, putting them on the right track to seek and receive investment.
“The Agrytech Accelerator Program has been a tremendous catalyst for RiginO’s growth, as we were able to work on our venture from concept to execution supported by the right people. Berytech pulled-in mentors when needed, provided exposure to investors and assisted in identifying potential partners. The framework and the credibility that the program brought to our startup was much valuable in terms of creating trust in RiginO’s concept and significantly contributed to our establishment. Everything from the day we were selected to the final day of phase 3 was just a wonderful journey directed by a wonderful team with different skills and backgrounds. The number of events they orchestrated, and the quality of the mentors they provided are beyond impressive. Always on top of things, the entire Agrytech Program team has been committed to our success,” details Sabah Corm – Co-founder of RiginO on her experience in the Agrytech Accelerator Program.
“Phase 3 has been an eye-opener for us. It helped us understand how to prepare well for investors while mitigating risks and planning ahead. The care we received was amazing and honestly couldn’t have been better with all the professionals on board,” details Kevin Boutros, Co-founder of Quadra.
“Words remain too little to express the gratitude we owe to Berytech for providing us with all the necessary tools to become good entrepreneurs, in a world that is full of competition and risks. As this batch is almost over, we hope that all the links established within the Agrytech Program continue blossoming better results and lead to nothing but a mutual success for both IOTree and Agrytech. We hope that IOTree would be able to raise high the name of Agrytech in future endeavors being a startup that has first seen light under the support of Agrytech,” shares Nisrine El Turky – Co-Founder of IoTree.
“I had a very fruitful year with the Berytech and Agrytech team, during which I received a lot of learnings, all the support I needed from a professional team and most probably without their support our startup would have been still an idea in my mind. Thank you for the great work you are doing,” comments Georges Aouad – Co-Founder of Digimart.
“While all the experience gained from Agrytech Accelerator is outstanding, Phase III has a very special place in my heart. We started Phase III on a very low level of motivation and the whole team was down. But thanks to great support from the Agrytech team and to our determination, we were able to put our startup back on track. This phase passed very quickly and some of the experiences were indescribable. I can never imagine where we are today and where we were one year ago, especially that no one believed in us. Thank you, Agrytech Team, Berytech and The Kingdom of The Netherlands,” adds Tarek Itani – Co-Founder of Turista Kit.
The Agrytech Program – Next Steps
Agrytech was a two-year program co-funded and launched by Berytech and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with the aim to source the most disruptive ideas in the Agri-Food sector and provide them with the technical, business, and individual growth needed to convert these ideas into sustainable and successful startups with a global impact.
The program now wraps up with the third phase in July 2019, while new activities are being launched to prepare for the third batch of the Accelerator launching later this year.