Separate software platforms devoted to food safety and voice data collection took home top prizes at Rabobank’s Food Bytes conference on Thursday.
The event brought investors together with food and agricultural industry members to hear about innovative foods being developed by start-ups selected by Rabobank. More than 120 companies applied to present at the event, with ten awarded the chance to give 60-second investor presentations.
An additional ten finalists were selected to give three and a half minutes to presentations about their companies in competition for prize packages that included legal, consulting and public relations consultations, in addition to the opportunity to present at Rabobank’s annual conference in December.
The People’s Choice award was given to ImpactVision, a California-based software platform that uses imaging technology developed for use in space to provide information about food’s nutritional content and freshness, as well as the presence of protein, fat or moisture.
“With this information food companies can reduce waste, maximize yield and deliver products of a consistent quality to consumers,” said co-founder and chief executive officer Abi Ramanan.
Ramanan described ImpactVision as an improvement over current quality-control practices that can be also used to address food waste and fraud. Targeting food producers, retailers and service companies as customers, ImpactVision plans to collect revenue through installation and a recurring service fee.
Another software platform, devoted instead to farmers’ need to collect data while their hands are occupied, took home the Judge’s Choice prize.
AgVoice uses proprietary analytics and voice file processing to enable agricultural professionals to improve productivity, increase the accuracy of records and help to optimize the use of resources.
In his presentation, chief executive officer Bruce Rasa showed a video of a dairy farmer recording observations about cows and examples of the inefficient systems AgVoice is hoping to replace, including notes written in marker across a farmer’s hand. Rasa summarized the product as “Alexa for agriculture”, later highlighting the involvement of Jeff Adams, former senior manager of the speech and language group at Amazon.
“AgVoice is a shining example of the powerful impact disruptive technologies can have on agriculture,” said Rabobank global head of food and agriculture innovation Manuel Gonzalez in a statement.
Other FoodBytes finalists presentations reflected many of the consumption trends that have animated recent private investment into the food and agriculture sectors, including traceability, ethnic foods, reducing food-waste, positive social impact and others.