Berytech received 115 applications for the third batch of its Agrytech Accelerator Program, under four categories: food and beverage, hardware, software, and IoT.
35 shortlisted applicants were interviewed by 15 judges including a team from Berytech joined by Dr. Rodrigue El Balaa – Chairman of the Department of Agriculture at Balamand University, Joelle Hajjar – co-founder of GoBaladi, Dr. Hala Chahine – Researcher at Agricultural Economics and Horticulture at the Lebanese University, Dr. Aurore Assaker – Ph.D. in Agriculture, Dr. Marc Bou Zeidan – Head of Agri-Food Sciences Department at USEK, Souheil Khoury – Investment Associate at Berytech Fund II, Dr. Gumataw Kifle Abebe – Assistant Professor of Agribusiness Marketing & Management at AUB, and Lara Chikani – Consultant in UX.
18 teams were admitted by the judges to the first phase of the program focusing on market validation. Equipped with a grant of $2,000, the teams will go through an intensive bootcamp followed by a 2-month cycle of support during which they have to validate their ideas, create and brand their image and website, and work on building the foundations of their business.
Agrytech Program – phase 1
On October 15, 2019, the 18 startups will participate in an orientation session, after which they will take part in a 5-day bootcamp. During this design sprint bootcamp, the teams will attend in several workshops, including a design UX workshop, validation model workshop, and business model canvas workshop. In addition, each startup will be assigned a coach so that they can undergo personalized mentoring experiences, better known as clinics.
Lastly, they will attend several events including an ‘avant-premiere’ or preview scheduled mid-December. During the event, the teams will be able to practice their pitches, receive feedback and validate once more their provided solutions. A number of professionals and experts will be invited and given US$1 million in fake investment money. They will visit the 18 teams, discover their ideas and invest in the solutions that are most attractive to them. Startups who raise the most funds win the game.
Meet the Agrytech Batch III teams
Agri‐istic solution: Laser technology – a simple one‐time shot mechanism that can kill weeds with high accuracy.
Agrinovel: is a platform that gives a voice to rural women and aiming to promote and sell home-made organic and natural cosmetic-related products of premium quality.
TheBeeHaus: is an online platform linked to on land smart mobile apiaries. Wirelessly connected to a mobile application and a website, it allows the beekeepers to monitor, track bee progress and optimize honey production.
Beyond Dairy: are working on a whey‐less processing procedure as an alternative to the traditional methods used in the production of dairy products such as soft cheese and labneh, the method will help obtain maximum yield from the milk and 100% elimination of acid whey waste.
Cesar cider is fermented apple juice into Hard Apple Cider. It is fresh, smooth, and slightly fizzy to enhance the natural apple flavor. Caesar Cider works with rural agricultural cooperatives specified to enhance apple farmers Livelihoods in response to the apple crisis in Lebanon.
Grapak: is a research and development house that fosters a natural micro‐technology which incorporates grape residue and a network of natural fibers, to create environmentally responsible packaging, against single‐use plastics.
Ground ‐ Urban Agriculture: Population growth and the demand for food is the main concern nowadays. Water resources are rare. Urban agriculture is the solution with renewable energy and low water and electrical usage, the project can start from private residential units until reaching multilayer urban farms
Hive: will provide healthy on the go wholesome snacks. Their cookies contain bee pollen which is rich in protein, vitamins and antioxidants. Their snacks will not only provide the energy, nutrition and taste needed, but it will also turn customers into contributors of the beekeeping community
Karya: Through their mobile application, users can find hidden gems and rural SMEs; restaurants, guest houses and activities, book and pay online and enjoy the Lebanese rural areas. They aim to spread awareness about the local treasures in terms of natural sites, seasonal farming and small-scale producers while giving the mass new and interesting things to do.
Mouneh: is an eCommerce platform to empower local Lebanese farmers to access the European market by assisting in packaging, digital marketing, and payment solutions using story-based content and marketing strategy.
Mezzmix: Mezzmix is developing a new way to consume Garlic paste, in an squeezable, bottom-up package that has a long shelf life and can be stored without refrigeration.
Nature Beat: since there is a huge problem (a crisis) in discharging apples as raw material, this team is creating a new idea and a better solution to solve farmers problems while targeting those that would like to have healthy snacks.
OrganyClean: is providing green and sustainable hygiene products, while contributing in the agro waste management by turning those agro wastes into new, innovative and valuable cleaning products.
Prae Cultiva: is offering a service to farmers to help them identify problem areas in their farm using infrared drone imagery. The data, hosted on a web platform, will enable farmers to spot problems before they are visible to the naked eye and take necessary corrective actions to avoid incurring losses.
Safer Food Link: Because building the right food safety culture is a shared responsibility, Safer Food Link is a user-friendly online platform aiming to find solutions to food safety issues in Lebanon by enabling coherent communication and connection between food chain stakeholders and consumers, while offering easy access to sector guidance and legislation.
Self-Irrigation Project: Self- Irrigation Project is an irrigation system allowing to measure humidity and weather forecast.
Snacksy: one of the most challenging problems that face the Lebanese agricultural sector is the apple crisis with more than 40% of its crops going to waste. Snacksy will be the brand name of the innovative food products that will best utilize the apple surpluses in the North starting with apple chips and fruit-based jellybeans.
Storvest ‐ Storing Harvest: is a storage unit that combines geothermal cooling with controlled atmosphere to replaces the traditional refrigeration system. Preserving the quality of fresh produce while reducing the storage operational cost making it more accessible to farmers!
Agrytech Program – phases 2 and 3
By the end of December 2019, 12 teams will be chosen by Berytech to continue to phase two of the Agrytech program, whereby each team will be granted $15,000 to build their MVP, in addition to receiving training and coaching. At the end of phase two, the participants should have a functioning MVP with enough traction in order to be selected for phase three.
By the end of May next year, 8 startups will be chosen to go through the third and final phase of the program This incubation and growth phase is scheduled over 5 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 capitals or angel investors.