EIT FAN Demoday 2022

EIT Food Accelerator Network (FAN) is an accelerator programme for food startups. So far, thirty companies have been accelerated by EIT FAN Helsinki Hub. On October 6th 2022, the programme was culminated in Demoday.
Day packed with content & audience

Maria01, the heart of Finnish startup culture, was packed with audience specifically interested in foodtech. Hosts of Demoday, Aline de Santa Izabel Alves, a Program manager at VTT and Osmo Mattila, a research coordinator for EIT FAN at the University of Helsinki, opened the event. After presenting key results of the programme, Aline and Osmo welcomed special keynote speakers to the stage.

Teemu Seppälä from the City of Helsinki told how Helsinki supports startups and explained why Maria01 has become one of Europe's largest startup hubs. Lotta Partanen shared the vision and strategy of VTT, the Technical Research Center of Finland. Mirva Lampinen from VTT continued by explained how EIT FAN is aligned with that strategy. Marja-Liisa Meurice and Pawel Ciach from EIT Food CLC-NE connected the event with other FAN hubs in the network (Cambridge, Munich, Paris, Bilbao, Haifa). Finally, Mari Sandell (Univeristy of Helsinki) provided recent examples on how entrepreneurship is promoted among university students and personnel and what kind of facilities partners get access to.

Startups pitching

After warming up the audience, startups were invited to the stage. Helsinki hub consisted of ten startups and on 6th October, nine of them were pitching on the stage of Maria01.

The first round was started by Alejandro Ortega, CEO and co-founder of Sibö shared their plans about unlocking the potential of insects as food ingredients and biomaterials with our unique Entowise® bio-refinery technology. The company is based in the Netherlands and operates in close collaboration with Wageningen University.

Second one on the stage was Ecobean. This Polish company gives a second life to used coffee grounds by upcycling them into novel oil, fiber and protein based products. Marcin Koziorowski, CEO and co-founder of the company explained their process and told good news about a successful investment round allowing the team to start building a pilot plant close to Warsaw.

After coffee, always have some water. Henna Niskakoski, CSO for a Finnish startup EOD Europe explained research behind their nanowater & oxygen saturated technologies and how they increase productivity and plant health in commercial greenhouses.

Fauna Smart Technologies from Denmark is helping farmers reduce the use of pesticides. Dragana Vukasinovic, founder and CEO of the company, explained their solutions to measure the status of plant immunity levels.

Before a break, Fermentful from Latvia was invited onto the stage to tell about their dairy alternative made of green buckwheat. Anda Penka (CEO and co-founder) had also brought samples of their tasty and unique plant-based kefir.

During a break, startups showcased their products and technologies. The audience had a change to familiarize themselves with, for instance, a water-ozonating machine. They also had a possibility to taste how good wood tastes after being processed in a certain way, and visualize the carbon footprint of their favourite food products.

The second batch of pitches was started by Montinutra. Antti Kämäräinen, market-development director of the company, explained how his team made food out of wood. The company already has a pilot plant and the team is preparing to expand to an industrial scale.

Chaitanya Dhumasker (CEI and founder) from MonitorFish conquered the stage. The company has a technologically unique approach to estimating the biomass in fisheries, also in muddy waters. The German company is currently expanding beyond the borders of German-speaking countries.

This was followed by Jukka Hänninen, COO of Biovaaka. The team helps industrial kitchens and restaurants reduce food waste. The company is about to take the first steps to international markets.

Finally, Ernesto Hartikainen, CEO of Biocode, came to the stage to present their digital solution to life-cycle assessments. The company serves food brands, producers and farmers to measure, understand and communicate their climate impact.

After a full day of pitches, Johan Jörgensen from Sweden FoodTech was invited to the stage to conclude the day. However, no one had a clue that the biggest challenge was still to be faced later in the evening: The Mega-Epic Karaoke Pitch Battle!