Plug and Play APAC Announces First SEA Food and AgTech Program

Plug and Play will be holding a soft launch of the Food and AgTech Accelerator Program on June 29

Silicon Valley-based innovation platform Plug and Play’s Asia Pacific (APAC) wing, headquartered in Singapore, will be launching its debut Southeast Asia’s Food and AgTech Accelerator Program on July 29, 2020, in Bangkok, the company announced in a statement yesterday.

The program is meant to enable agtech startups in taking on “current challenges across the food production value chain from farm to table,” the statement said.

Plug and Play will be holding a ‘soft launch’ of the three-month accelerator via a virtual event on July 29.

Plug and Play Executive VP and Head of Corporate Innovation APAC Shawn Dehpanah, Global Director, Food & Beverage Brian Tetrud, and Greenline Strategy LLC Principal László Csuti will be speaking at the event.

“We plan to source and engage the most innovative startups to digitally transform corporations and provide new opportunities for investments in the [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] region,” Dehpanah said in the statement.

The program is geared towards technologies focused on digital and sustainable farming, animal feed and health, food processing, microbiomes (the genome of microorganisms), nutrition, and waste reduction, it continued.

The agtech accelerator will also include supply chain technologies, and consumer-driven processes such as analytics and retail, the statement added.

Established in 2006, Plug and Play has offerings in acceleration, corporate innovation, and venture capital. It set up its APAC headquarters in 2010 and has since expanded to Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Some of its portfolio companies to have recently raised funding include medical intelligence company DocDoc, which raised US$13 million in August 2019, and radar technology startup Bitsensing, which bagged $5.8 million in pre-Series A funding in June this year.

The Food and AgTech Accelerator Program was previously run in Silicon Valley, Brazil, and Fargo, U.S., according to the company website.

Automation has been a general trend across the world, industry no bar. However, for critical industries such as agriculture and food, innovation is of greater significance as the world is faced with a looming food crisis, and environmental costs of current farming practices, such as in the meat industry, piling up.

This has brought agtech and food innovation startups to the limelight of late. Faux meat startups, for instance, have been raising some of the biggest funding rounds in recent times following Beyond Meat’s massive initial public offering (IPO) last year.

The agtech industry has also made room for the applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, and between 2013 and 2017, agtech startups raised more than $800 million in funding.

Header image by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

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