We know that there is no shortage of food-related accelerators helping get the next generation of startups off the ground. But FoodShot Global, a new investment platform that launched today, doesn’t just want to get startups off the ground: it wants them to aim for the moon.
FoodShot Global is a consortium of venture funds, banks, corporations, universities and foundations including Rabobank, UC Davis, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Generation Investment Management, looking to fund “Moonshots for Food.” FoodShot Global has a $10 million fund that will be investing in innovative businesses in the form of either equity or debt financing. Those companies accepted into the main FoodShot Global program will also receive industry expertise, mentorship and other resources available through the FoodShot partner network.
At the same time, FoodShot Global will have a separate “Groundbreaker Prize” every year, awarding $500,000 in philanthropic capital to researchers, social entrepreneurs and advocates working in a specific field in food or agriculture. This year’s challenge is “Innovating Soil 3.0,” and they are looking for science and tech projects that “address the crisis of soil deterioration.”
From the press announcement:
Through Innovating Soil 3.0, FoodShot Global aims to identify breakthrough solutions that create the new soil operating system. Though soil began as a mixture of organic matter and minerals that enabled agriculture to take root (Soil 1.0), the advent of synthetic fertilizers and industrialized farming created a soil system (Soil 2.0) that improved global food security but wasn’t designed to maintain soil nutrient integrity, resulting in yields that have not continued to increase at the rate to meet the demands of a growing global population and a resource-constrained planet. A new soil system, Soil 3.0, is essential to nourish and sustain the planet as a whole. Focus areas for the Innovating Soil 3.0 Challenge can include input efficiency, reduced deforestation, improved crop resistance, and carbon sequestration. To develop a 21st century soil operating system, FoodShot is seeking innovators tapping into advances in biology, genetics, and chemistry, and solutions that lean on big data, smart sensors, blockchain and robotics to set the framework for a global food system that can sustainably and equitably produce healthy food for all.
Applications for either investment from FoodShot or the Innovating Soil 3.0 prize are due December 1, 2018, and can be submitted through FoodShot’s website.
The FoodShot website aims “To feed 10 billion people by 2050.” Hopefully finding and funding promising moonshots will give everyone on the planet a shot at more healthy living way before then.