© StartLife

Loans from a Wageningen accelerator have provided an economic boost by a factor of 30. A new investment round has now started for technical start-ups in the food sector in the Dutch province of Gelderland.

In the next few years, innovative tech startups working to make the food chain more sustainable can request subordinated loans from StartLife, the startup accelerator in Wageningen. The loans will vary from €75,000 to €250,000. Financing is from a new fund, Startup Fund Gelderland (SFG). This is stated in a press release on the StartLife site

The current food supply is under pressure and traditional production systems have generally a negative influence on the climate. By offering favorable, subordinated loans, StartLife enables young technology companies to realize innovative solutions for sustainable food production. For example, technologies that contribute to reducing greenhouse gases in agriculture, reducing waste in food chains and developing meat substitutes.

Wageningen University

StartLife offers the risk-bearing loans in combination with professional coaching and supervision. Under the motto ‘stronger together’, startups will also have access to the knowledge and experience of prominent corporates and investors in the agriculture and food industry that are affiliated with the accelerator. There is also a close collaboration with Wageningen University & Research.

Interested companies must also have technology that is both protectable and scalable. In addition, the company must create a demonstrable economic or social impact in the province of Gelderland (Netherlands, near the west border of Germany) by being located here or carrying out part of its business activities here. 

The fund has been set up made possible by the province of Gelderland and it is managed by the East Netherlands Development Agency (Oost NL). Loan applications from and the supervision of agrifood startups are handled by StartLife. 

From 6 million to 180 million

The loans are from a so-called ‘revolving fund’. Loans that are repaid become available again for new loans. With this system in place, StartLife expects to offer about 6 million euros in loans to agrifood startups in the next few years.

Jan Meiling, managing director of StartLife, pointed out that StartLife has already provided almost 8 million in loans from previous funds. And not without results. “The startups that we support have created about 1,500 knowledge-intensive jobs and raised about €230 million in total funding. That’s a multiplier of nearly 30. And the counter is still ticking. If we project this into the future, this new fund is likely to result in an additional 180 million in economic activity in the coming years.”

Eligible startups can apply for a loan throughout the year. Entrepreneurs who want to get the most out of StartLife’s support and its ecosystem can also register for the semi-annual acceleration program, StartLifeAccelerate. The upcoming program will run from March through June 2022. Registration is open until 1 February.

StartLife is Europe’s longest running and leading agrifoodtech startup accelerator. Since 2010, StartLife, which was co-founded by Wageningen University & Research, has supported over 400 startups that have so far raised over €230 million follow-on capital.

Also interesting: The possibilities of data for the agri-food sector are endless

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