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Technology

'Significant Disparities' Within FoodTech And AgriTech Startups In CEE Region

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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'Significant Disparities' Within FoodTech And AgriTech Startups In CEE Region

A new report has found that there are significant disparities within the CEE region, in terms of the size, venture capital activity and growth momentum of startups in the FoodTech and AgriTech fields.

The report, The State of the CEE FoodTech & AgriTech, produced by EIT Food, suggests that the startup sector in both Food Tech and Agri Tech has seen 'uneven development' within the CEE region, as well as 'strong geographical aggregation' of technology-intensive entrepreneurial and investment processes.

Sustainability Focus

Technologies leveraged by startups in the region have developed a range of solutions and products in areas such as net zero food systems, sustainable and efficient food production and consumption, and food waste reduction, EIT Food noted.

It said that the year 2022 marked the end of an 'extraordinary period', during which time FoodTech and AgriTech startups in the region saw increased interest from investors.

However, since then, investor interest in early-stage FoodTech startups in the CEE region has remained moderate. In AgriTech, investors have shifted their focus towards larger and lower-risk deals. Nonetheless, there is still moderate interest in innovative food and diversified protein startups raising pre-seed and seed rounds, according to EIT Food.

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It called for prompt government action to support the liquidity of startups in this sector. This support is crucial to help startups avoid financial stress and cash-flow challenges, ensuring they have sufficient capital for continuous product development.

Technology Surge

"In recent years, the [CEE] region has witnessed a surge in technological innovations, bringing forth a wave of advancements that hold the promise of enhancing efficiency, productivity, and environmental sustainability across the agrifood value chain," commented Marja-Liisa Meurice, director, EIT Food North and East Region, who added that startups are helping to meet the need for "better sustainability, resilience, transparency, and equality" in the food system, particularly in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic and Russian aggression in Ukraine.

"The CEE region has been witnessing a growing interest and investment in agrifood innovations. Innovators and the agrifood industry in this region have been actively working on adopting and developing technologies to enhance the efficiency, sustainability, and productivity of their agricultural and food sectors."

You can read the full report here.

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