The fourth batch enrolled in Berytech’s Agrytech Accelerator has completed the first phase of the program: the validation phase. Over two months, the teams went through the validation phase of the program, receiving a grant of up to $2,000 each along with business and technical assistance defining their objectives and validating assumptions about the problem the startup is solving.
Phase 2 – Moving To Acceleration
At the end of the validation phase, 15 teams were shortlisted to join phase 2 of the program. The startups will use this 4-month phase to build their minimum viable product (MVP) and get traction with up to $15,000 support grant. Carl Safi; Loet Rammelsberg; Bernadette Sztojka; Elie Nasr; Rana Abdou; Hania Chahal; Nour Samhoun; and Fadi Fayad were members of the final jury representing local and international organizations spanning across multiple sectors and functions from food, science, technology, and agricultural backgrounds to choose the shortlisted startups. The teams selected are:
- Agricom is a digital platform enabling smoother cooperation among the different players in the agricultural sector by increasing efficiencies across the value chain.
- Agricultura Plus is developing a platform that links landowners and potential investors to facilitate the establishment of agriculture projects, extract consumable products and sell them.
- Agriwa is developing a patch made from organic, locally sourced materials that can be added to fruit packaging to extend the product shelf life.
- Carobio is developing a range of healthy carob-based products, including carob flakes.
- CrowdFarming Lebanon is a crowdfunding platform aiming to provide farmers with an alternative source of funding as opposed to traditional financial institutions.
- Douda Vermiculture is restoring the soil ecosystem using natural-based fertilizers ‘vermicompost’ from their worm farms.
- Fast Freekeh is developing a healthy fast-to-cook product targeting people interested in healthy food and people with special diets.
- Izraa/Elysium is providing technical information and support related to farming and food production, linking producers to each other and to end consumers.
- L’orientane (previously known as super powder) is a startup working on the recovery of polyphenols from agro-food byproducts. The obtained natural powder can be used in many cosmetic and food industries to replace expensive and synthetic molecules.
- Beirut Roma Beirut (previously known as Pasta) is manufacturing fresh pasta in Lebanon utilizing local egg and wheat produce.
- ITAP(previously known as PineMed) is a mobile application allowing pine producers to protect their pine production from pest invasion. Using image detection, the application acts as an early alert system that catches pine pests cold.
- Prochick provides locally produced, high-quality pet food made from chicken and vegetable leftovers.
- Spreadly (previously known as Sugar and Spice) provides healthy, natural, and delicious nut spreads.
- Yummy Tummy (previously known as Buddha Gourmand) is producing a baby food line based on the Middle Eastern diet that is healthy, nutritious and additive-free.
- Zubabati is a women-led startup that farms the Black Soldier Fly (BSF) to produce local and sustainable poultry and fish feed alternatives and organic fertilizer.
Phase 1 – Two Months To Validate
During the two months validation phase, 28 startups with promising venture ideas in the agriculture, food, science, and technology sectors went through a rigorous process of idea validation and prototype development. The startups were supported by local and international experts to help them better shape their ideas, get a closer understanding of their potential customer segments and build and test their prototypes. Some of the key workshops were as follows:
Design Sprint by Margriet Buseman, Robert Westerhuis and Hany Rizk, the objective of the 5-day Design Sprint is to transform abstract features, ideas, and concepts into tangible and (or) visual prototypes that are tested and validated (or) invalidated with potential clients.
Customer segmentation by Orfeu Lionor, the objective of the customer segmentation workshop was to frame the founders’ mindsets around well-defined customer segments that face unique problems and have distinct attributes.
Concept Initiation by Nadine Asmar, the objective of the concept initiation workshop was to help founders’ clearly define the problem and design the first solution architecture according to the chosen customer persona.
Customer Validation by Orfeu Lionor, the objective of the workshop is to take the startup through a journey of customer discovery to methodically achieve market validation and learn how to collect the data necessary to validate or negate a startups’ hypotheses.
Finally, the startups participated in the Avant-premiere to compete in an investment raising role play with real investors and industry experts to accumulate the highest investment possible for their startups. The event tested the entrepreneurs pitching and selling skills, and the attractiveness of their product/service
Agrytech Program – Phases 2 And 3
The acceleration phase ends with an expert jury selecting the top 8 companies to go into the Incubation Phase for 5 months. By the end of September 2021, up to eight startups will be chosen to go through the third and final phase of the program This incubation and growth phase is scheduled over five months, with $20,000 awarded in matching capital to the teams, who will start preparations for their scaleup. This phase is crucial in helping the participants receive investment from venture capital or angel investors.
The Agrytech Program
Berytech designed and developed the Agrytech program to make sure Lebanon has the most competitive companies that are sourcing, solving, growing and transforming food, as well as feeding the world from Lebanon. The Agrytech Accelerator Program is under the ACT Smart Innovation Hub, a new out-of-the-box approach by Berytech, co-funded by the Kingdom of The Netherlands, aims at strengthening business advancement and job creation in the Agri-food and Cleantech sectors in Lebanon. Berytech supports innovations across these sectors by offering startups the resources, knowledge, support, and funding worth around $100K, necessary to scale their ideas and grow them to penetrate international markets.