Three Startups Mentored at the Technion Will Compete at the EU Food Venture Summit

October 30, 2018
Jennifer Frey

Three startups that were mentored at the Technion made the short list of 10 finalists selected October 24 to take part in EIT Food Venture Summit—the prestigious business gathering of the European Union’s agri-food innovation community. The startups, which include Jet Eat and Kiins, led by Technion alumni, will compete for three equity-free cash prizes of $68,000 each on November 28, 2108, at Station F in Paris. The third winning startup is Natufia.

Participants of the EIT-Food Accelerator Network program at the Technion

The finalists were nurtured in EIT-Food Accelerator Network program, a collaboration of academic and corporate entities aimed at fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in food research. An initiative of The European Institute of Innovation & Technology, the EIT program ran accelerators in locations in Switzerland, Germany and in Israel, at the Technion.

Some 40 participating agri-food startups, poised to change the world’s food system, received mentoring from academics and international industry experts as well as tailored academic programs weekly sessions with business professionals, co-working spaces and networking opportunities.

Ten startups took part in the accelerator program at the Technion, which was a collaborative effort between the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, headed by Prof. Marcelle Machluf, and the Strauss Group, whose CTO/VP of Technology is Technion Prof. Eyal Shimoni.

“This is a unique platform for entrepreneurs and early stage start-ups to engage in a tailor-made accelerator program,” said Professor Ester Segal at the start of the program in June. “We built a special curriculum for the food and agro arena and we provide informal access to the Technion’s faculty experts and its vast research infrastructure. We at the Technion believe that we should take a proactive role in shaping the future of these fields.” Biotech and Food Engineering Profs. Segal and Uri Lesmes were joined by Dr. Avital Regev Siman-Tov, head of the Technion’s MBA program, to lead the project.

About the three Technion-Mentored Finalists

Jet Eat is the first company in the world to develop 3D print technology for vegan meat substitutes. Statistics show that some $1.3 billion tons of food goes to waste annually worldwide. The startup, based in Tel Aviv, aims to reduce food waste and provide innovative solutions to feed the growing world population by printing food.

“The company is on a mission,” said Technion alumnus Alexey Tomsov, Jet Eat’s product manager. “After all, the prices of meat will rise dramatically, more and more people are becoming vegetarians or ‘half-vegetarians,’ and so a solution is needed with a commercial horizon.”

Kiins has developed a patent-pending technology that eliminates the need to clean domestic and industrial food-processing equipment. The innovative tech turns standard kitchen devices such as mixers and blenders, into smart appliances by installing a system that doesn’t require cleaning. Co-founded by father and son, Dr. Ehud and Tzvika Furman, both Technion graduates, and based in Haifa, the unique technology saves time, water and energy, and significantly reduces food safety risks.

“The system will save about 90% of the current cleaning costs in plants, stemming from the costs of electricity, water, working hours and halting operations of the machines,” said Dr. Ehud Furman. “Since our sheets are biodegradable or recyclable, there is no environmental damage.   On the contrary, we prevent the penetration of polluted water into sewage and the ground.”

His son, Tzvika, who currently works as Director of External Relations for the Faculties of Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering at the Technion added that the technology can also be adapted for paint, pharma, cosmetic and any other industry where surface cleaning is needed.

Natufia, headquartered in Tallinn, Estonia, is a fully automated garden system for indoors designed by chefs for use in the home or the professional kitchen. The innovative hydroponic machine has a sleek modern design that fits into most kitchens and provides a direct supply of fresh herbs and greens all year round free of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. And it plays music too!

For more than a century, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has pioneered in science and technology education and delivered world-changing impact. Proudly a global university, the Technion has long leveraged boundary-crossing collaborations to advance breakthrough research and technologies. Now with a presence in three countries, the Technion will prepare the next generation of global innovators. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world, innovating in fields from cancer research and sustainable energy to quantum computing and computer science to do good around the world.

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