Purple Orange Ventures (P.O.V.), a seed fund based in Berlin, Germany, announced the launch of a new fellowship program aimed at alt-protein projects and ideas.
Dubbed The Entrepreneurial Scientist & Engineer Fellowship Program, the fellowship will provide grant money and mentorship for scientists and engineers using, well, science and engineering to create products that mimic the look, feel, and taste of meat, dairy, and seafood without using any animal byproduct whatsoever.
“We want to accelerate the animal-free foodtech movement in Europe, UK, Israel & Singapore,” P.O.V. investor and Managing Director Gary Lin wrote in a blog post when he announced the fellowship. In keeping with that, the fellowship is open to those currently residing in those regions or countries.
The Fellowship, for which P.O.V. has partnered with The Good Food Institute, New Harvest, ProVeg International, and the ProVeg Incubator, differs from the usual startup accelerator or incubator in a few different ways. Most notably, the selection criteria is much narrower: the Fellowship’s homepage states that applicants should have a “Ph.D in science, engineering or related field with ideally commercial work experience or Master’s degree with a minimum of 2 years of commercial work experience.”
It’s also different in that it’s not about growing a company, as startup accelerators do, but rather, to validate whether a project is strong enough to warrant starting a company. To that end, participants will spend time testing their projects in the lab setting, receiving feedback from potential customers and stakeholders, and adjusting the product based on that feedback. The end goal is to get a project closer to a commercial reality.
The chosen few get €120,000 (~$135,379 USD) in grant funding across 12 months. The grant is non-dilutive. Participants also receive coaching and mentorship, networking opportunities, as well as a chance to work at P.O.V.’s facility in Berlin and a lab setting in Berkeley, CA.
Should a fellow choose to incorporate their company by program end, there’s potential for P.O.V. to invest, though that’s not a foregone conclusion.
Fellowships in food, food science, and food technology are becoming more plentiful these days. P.O.V.’s program joins the likes of the Future Leaders for Food and Agriculture (FFar) Fellows program, UC Davis’ Innovator Fellowship, and the Kirchner Food Fellowship.