News & Analysis

Simplot Australia partners with Slingshot to launch FoodTech accelerator Simplot Ignite

- November 25, 2015 2 MIN READ

Just a few weeks after Slingshot announced the launch of a HealthTech accelerator in partnership with HCF, the organisation has partnered with food manufacturer Simplot Australia, the company behind brands such as Lean Cuisine and Bird’s Eye, to launch Simplot Ignite, Australia’s first FoodTech accelerator program for startups and scale-ups.

The program is looking for applicants working on solutions for one of several problems facing the food space, including nutri-genomics and personalised nutrition, customer acquisition and retention, food solutions for healthy ageing, agribusiness, and convenience in food.

The three month program will see participating companies receive $30,000 in funding in exchange for 10 percent equity, and the opportunity to receive a second round of funding of up to $100,000 from the Slingshot Venture Fund. They will have access to business training and development, marketing, infrastructure support, and legal and financial advice.

Of course, participants will also have the chance to pitch to investors and industry on Demo Day, but perhaps most importantly, they will have the chance to work with Simplot Australia throughout the program. Startups and scaleups will be given the opportunity to work with Simplot’s existing customers, and access services provided by Simplot’s strategic partners and sponsors.

The launch of the accelerator also comes just a few weeks after HackFood, Australia’s first FoodTech hackathon, was held at Fishburners in Sydney, seeing the creation of products including Chewsr, a ‘Tinder for food’. With Simplot Australia one of the sponsors of the event, managing director Terry O’Brien said HackFood gave the company a taste of the calibre of Australia’s digital innovation and it is eager to get its foot in the door.

“We want to bring some fresh thinking to Australia’s food system and work with entrepreneurs who are passionate about improving it. HackFood marked the first time innovators came together to tackle the challenges faced by the food industry and with the food market valued in the trillions, we know there is so much more Australian startups can bring to the table if given the right opportunities,” O’Brien said.

Liz Kaelin, founder of FoodTech startup You Chews and organiser of HackFood, said it was to Simplot’s credit that they have seen the importance of innovation and the application of technology to the food industry.

With Simplot following in the footsteps of companies like HCF and NRMA in turning to Slingshot to run a corporate accelerator, Slingshot co-founder Craig Lambert said more and more corporates are learning how to leverage the agility of startups to generate new ideas and grow their own business.

Lambert said, “Simplot Ignite is an effective, low-risk platform to stimulate creativity, improve productivity and develop game-changing technology for the wider food industry. By pushing the limits of digital innovation, Simplot and the program’s startups can have a direct impact on a market that is ripe for disruption.”

Applications for Simplot Ignite close on December 23.