Israeli startup Biotipac, a firm that has developed an innovative technology to extend food’s shelf life, was announced as the winner of the second annual Women of AgriFood Nation competition earlier this month.
The annual competition is meant to promote and invest in women-led ventures in the agrifood industry. This year, it was organized by ACT FoodTech, an Israeli company supporting startups in the food industry, along with Israeli venture capital fund COPIA Agriculture and Food Technologies L.P.
Biotipac will receive a USD 200,000 investment from COPIA to help the company innovate and expand its technology.
“There is a high representation of brilliant women in academia, especially in the agrifood field, so there is no reason for the [relatively small] presence of women-led start-up initiatives in the agrifood industry as well,” said Carmit Oron, CEO of ACT FoodTech. “A Forbes report published in 2019 showed that women-led technology companies enjoy a 35% higher return of investments. Yet only 3% of the money invested in the last decade went to startups founded by women.”
Ohad Zukerman, the managing partner at COPIA, highlighted the existing inequities these women are confronting and the importance of investing in women-led startups.
“Sixty-five percent of the agrifood research programs in our portfolio that originate from Israeli research institutions are led by women, while only a few of the startups we meet are led by women,” Zukerman said. “COPIA perceives itself as a leader promoting gender equality in the business sector. The business sector can and should lead the change, and this competition is the peak of our activity. We believe that the tools we gave to all six finalists will enable them to succeed in the future.”
Ifat Hammer’s technology “already has the potential to make a difference on many levels of the food industry,” a statement from the competition said. By naturally stimulating the growth of probiotic bacteria, rather than the more expensive process of adding these preservative bacteria as live cultures, Biotipac could extend the shelf life of food in a cheaper and more widely accessible way, all while reducing chemical dependence and allowing for more environmentally friendly packaging.
Hammer and five other finalists presented their ideas, scientific knowledge, and business plans during the contest, which is meant to promote and invest in women-led ventures in the agrifood industry.
All six finalists have innovations that could make a broad impact in the AgriFood industry. The other five finalists were Maolac, a company that develops protein-enriched food additives, led by Maya Ashkenazi Otmezgin; IncrediBowl, a firm that develops edible tableware, including alcohol shot cups, led by Adi Polak; Yo-Egg, a company that develops vegan eggs, led by Yosefa Ben Cohen; Fermata a firm that develops an AI and machine learning camera-based solution to monitor plant diseases in greenhouses, led by Valeria Cogan; and BugEra, a company that develops new strains of Black Soldier flies with high oil content that can convert organic manure into feed and biodiesel, led by Anna Malkov.
The article was originally published by NoCamels, a leading news website covering breakthrough innovation from Israel for a global audience.