POSTS

29
JAN

Agtips: Commercial Viability

This edition’s agtips will cover the commercial viability section of your submission. While the technology section describes the technological maturity of your product and the sustainability section explains how your idea makes optimal use of natural resources, the commercial viability section demonstrates that your proposition has the potential to become a commercially successful business in the UAE. Business plans come in many forms, but for The FoodTech Challenge, we recommend you include these 7 points:

Target Customers

Who are your target customers? Target customers can be segmented by age, location, background, income, and lifestyle. Defined customer segments translate to defined sales and marketing strategies, which achieve stronger commercial results. Read more here.

Opportunity Sizing

What is the market opportunity and growth potential? Understanding the market dynamics for your product or service, relative to your competitors, is crucial to forecast how your business will sustain its growth. Read more here.

Competitor Analysis

A strong competitor analysis establishes what makes your product or service unique in order to attract the market. There are various frameworks to evaluate competitors; check out this article from Entrepeneur Middle East to learn more.

Value Proposition/Competitor Edge

The value proposition of your business drives your competitive edge. It defines the unique value that your product delivers to the customer, compared to what the market offers. A strong value proposition makes your product or service an irresistible idea to invest in.

Cost

As the saying goes, “you have to spend money to make money”. It is important that your business model takes into consideration the required fixed and variable costs to set up and maintain operations. The business model ideally forecasts when revenue will begin to recuperate the initial costs and begin generating profits (i.e., the breakeven point).

Funding 

Each winning team is eligible to win up to $250,000 in prizes – how do you plan to use it? What are the key areas where you will invest in your product or service (e.g., R&D, new hires, capital expenses)? Describe how funding from The FoodTech Challenge will be used to grow your product or service over a defined period (e.g., 12-18 months). Throughout that defined period, what major milestones do you think you will reach with the funding?

Revenue

How do you make money? A robust revenue model is the foundation for a sustainable business. Here are 10 common revenue models for startup companies to get you to start thinking, but there are unique business models out there as well that have proven success in the market.

Get Inspired!

There are many resources out there to help you think about how to structure your commercial viability section. We recommend you to take this 8-point test from Investopedia to determine whether your business model is viable. Once you have all the business plan components together, read this article from Forbes about the important do’s and don’ts for investor pitch decks to make sure that your business case is in the best shape possible.

OTHER POSTS

Meet Our Finalists: Pure Harvest Smart Farms

31 August 2020


Pure Harvest Farms is a greenhouse system that allows year-round production of affordable, quality fresh fruits and vegetables. They are 1 of our 12 Finalist Teams who will compete in the upcoming FoodTech Challenge Awards Ceremony. Read more about them below. What makes your team excited about your idea and food technology?: We are excited by the opportunity to contribute towards solving one of the major food security challenges in The Middle East region and globally. The UN projects that the global human population is set to reach 10B by 2050, requiring us collectively to produce 70% more food. With climate change making it more difficult to grow food using traditional open-field methods of farming, technology-driven solutions are needed to meet the challenge of feeding 10B human mouths. In addition, consumer preferences are shifting towards more organic, locally grown products which, along with urbanization, are making it more difficult to deliver food supplies to populations. This sheer challenge presents us with an exciting opportunity to drive change, through innovative food-tech enabled solutions. What is the biggest source of motivation for your team to work on this project?: We as a team are motivated by the prospect of making a significant impact on solving major regional food supply challenges. Since our team began working in the agribusiness sector, we have been approached by senior political leadership from around the region. The opportunity to not only deliver a tangible food product to grateful local consumers but also to advise governments on food security strategy is greatly fulfilling. Could you tell us something unique about your team that makes you a strong contender to be in the Top 4 winners?: Our team has managed to successfully design and deploy an IoT- enabled growing system which is the first to demonstrate year-round production of fresh fruits and vegetables in the UAE. Compared to other more traditional startups in the software or internet sectors, we have collectively overcome huge challenges in constructing an asset-intensive, hardware technology for food production in the Middle East. This has included not only design and engineering work, but also construction, operations, sales, and fundraising (we raised the largest agro-tech seed round in the Middle East history). Lastly, if you are selected as one of the four winners, how does your team plan to use the prize money? Our team will use the prize proceeds to fund much-needed research & development activities on our farm. Among the priorities we are working on include the design of a new automatic roof washer, desert-friendly artificial LED lighting systems, and also a pilot commercial farm to produce algae for Omega-3 fatty acids production.

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31
AUG

Meet Our Finalists: Everfresh Biocoating Technology

31 August 2020


Everfresh Biocating Technology provides nature-based edible food coating to extend shelf-life and reduce food waste. They are 1 of our 12 Finalist Teams who will compete in the upcoming FoodTech Challenge Awards Ceremony. Read more about them below. What makes your team excited about your idea and food technology?: Everfresh addresses two challenges, post-harvest food loss and seafood waste disposal. These represent an economic and environmental burden to the UAE and to the rest of the world. Everfresh’s technology uses a sprayable chitosan-based formulation, which provides a protective, edible coating for agriculture produce while recycling seafood waste. In Everfresh, we utilize the main building block that nature has developed as protective barrier against a multitude of organisms. What makes us excited about our idea is that the application of Everfresh ensures that sustainable objectives will be met. These includes reduction of food waste, reduction of greenhouse gas emission, and positive economic impact. Reduction of food waste equates directly to increased revenue for distributors and retailers, and end consumers will find fruits and vegetables with improved freshness and extended shelf-life. The fact we can reduce food waste, and protect agriculture produce while recycling seafood waste is a win-win situation from a sustainable and economic point of view, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic, when the food security and nutrition of millions of people around the world are affected. In Everfresh, we believe that now more than ever it’s important to join efforts using science alongside nature to secure food supply and minimize food loss and waste. We are excited to start doing our part to make this world a better place, where there is more food for everyone and less waste. A better place for the present and future generations and for the environment. What is the biggest source of motivation for your team to work on this project?: Our biggest motivation is to join the fight against food loss and waste. We aim to promote sustainability practices through the application of our technology to agriculture produce. Our goal is to minimize food loss and waste using natural compounds for both retailers and consumers, and to make the fruits and vegetables last longer, resulting in better-quality and more food available for everyone. The sustainable approach we adopt in Everfresh rely on the use of the seafood industry waste as the main source of the raw material used for our innovative product. Could you tell us something unique about your team that makes you a strong contender to be in the Top 4 winners?: We all come from different academic backgrounds, have expertise in the field of biotechnology, chemical engineering, and sales & marketing. Most importantly, we share the passion and strategic vision of the company to make this business successful and achieve great performance, promoting economic sustainability, and bringing cutting-edge technology to the UAE. Lastly, if you are selected as one of the four winners, how does your team plan to use the prize money? If we are selected as one of the four winners, we plan to join the Catalyst Accelerator Program, and relocate to Abu Dhabi to establish our business. Patent application is among our first priorities once fund is secured as the technology used in Everfresh is novel. The initial investment will be mainly used to rent the facility, acquire equipment, pay operating expenses, conduct further R&D. Everfresh is seeking seed funding to build a pilot production line for the purpose of proof of concept, entering the market, building the brand awareness and attracting potential customers, and preparing its commercial launch. Everfresh team also seeks to contribute a specific percentage of the award money for charity purposes, particularly helping cancer patients.

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31
AUG

Meet Our Finalists: Jones Food Company

31 August 2020


Jones Food Company is an automated sustainable vertical farm driven by AI. They are 1 of our 12 Finalist Teams who will compete in the upcoming FoodTech Challenge Awards Ceremony. Read more about them below. What makes your team excited about your idea and food technology?: Vertical farming technology brings agriculture and food production to locations and areas which were previously limited by a number of factors including; climate, space, and resources. At Jones Food Company we are on a mission to be the World’s Farm, producing food for everyone, everywhere such that we are never limited in what we want to eat and how we feed our society. JFC’s idea so exciting because we bring this technology – and its huge potential – to the masses by constructing farms at affordable prices both for builders but also for the end customer. We believe we are unique in the vertical farming industry in this regard. What is the biggest source of motivation for your team to work on this project?: To achieve our vision; building reliable vertical farms – at scale – around the world in order to improve the ways we farm and consume food. Could you tell us something unique about your team that makes you a strong contender to be in the Top 4 winners?: Our team brings a hugely diverse set of experiences and achievements to one common goal. We also bring a huge range of corporate experience from the likes of Jaguar Land Rover and Gazprom to owning and operating our own consumer businesses and across functions such as strategy, finance, operations, recruitment, construction, and consumer retail. This combination of experience alongside our clarity of vision has created a truly dynamic team. We truly believe our technology is solving a problem that we can implement effectively. Lastly, if you are selected as one of the four winners, how does your team plan to use the prize money? Construction. Expanding into international markets carries plenty of risks so JFC plans to use this prize money to reduce risks associated with entering the U.A.E market, kick-starting the construction of a new vertical farm growing leafy greens within miles of the end consumer and harvesting on the very same day the produce is eaten.

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31
AUG