Germinator programme

Germinator is Viikki Food Design Factory’s pre-incubator programme for innovators with food system transforming innovations. The third season of the programme runs from August 2023 to February 2024.
Why join Viikki Food Design Factory Germinator programme?

1) VFDF Germinator supports teams developing solutions that enable the transition into sustainable food systems

Innovative solutions must be developed accounting for the whole food system, covering primary production, processing, distribution, consumption, recycling, regulation, policy making, related services and the research and teaching linked to the sector.

We are your guide in the food system and in making a systemic impact on the food and agri sectors.


2) VFDF Germinator provides a rapid learning curve from an invention to a product / service

Science and inventive people come up with new solutions. However, they turn into innovations that solve problems only in use. They must therefore be translated into value-creating concrete products and services for people and the society.

We provide you sector specific expertise through

  • Industry professional as coach-in-residence
  • Mentors and piloting opps from our vast food and agri networks in Finland and abroad
  • Demo lab facilities for prototyping


3) VFDF Germinator lifts the most promising teams to the Y Science pitching competition stage at Slush 2023

As on the previous year, four Germinator teams will get to rehears on their pitching skills and take the stage at the Y Science pitching competition, which is an official Slush side event.

We help you in gaining recognition and in connecting with investors both at Y Science and beyond.


VFDF Germinator Programme

A pre-incubator for productising and commercialising food system solutions.


Researchers, graduating students and free agent innovators with promising inventions for food system transformation and profitable business.


Providing sector and market understanding, tutoring and coaching + mentoring support for solution commercialization, lab facilities for prototyping and testing, piloting opps. with sector partners & networking with investors and industry.


  • Sustainable commercialisation & productisation tutoring and rehearsing
  • Peer-2-peer + coach sparring & iterating on a weekly basis
  • Experimenting, prototyping,testing & piloting
  • 1-2-1 coaching & mentoring
  • Presenting, pitching & networking within the food and agri industries and for investors
VFDF Germinator pre-incubator programme is best suited for science-based early phase inventions
What did Germinator teams 2022-23 think of the programme?

"We have made tremendous progress in our project in all areas in the programme. Undoubtedly the most valuable are the advice and teachings of the coaches and mentors and also the possibility of being part of a community that acts as a support network in all aspects. We feel the support not only of the Germinator people, but also of the people we have met through Germinator. We have been able to create a good network of contacts and without a doubt that has been the most valuable."

- Camila Gallo, CEO of Binkiapp

"Found the belief in the potential our project and product partly because of VFDF Germinator program! Strong connection between the part-taking teams was awesome.

Contacts, leads and events have been very useful for us. Lab space was crucial for the product development at early stages of our project."

- Ossi Paloneva, Creative Lead, MOLT FoodTech

"Germinator covers well all the important aspects of building a foodtech company. Most of the visiting speakers have been really good and also the concrete stuff/ experience from Laura and Reetta."

- Jere Vento, CEO Five Letter Foods

"I have really appreciated the programme trying to take into account the different situation and needs of the startups. For us, the valuable parts are the application industry connections."

- Jaakko Pajunen, CEO Montinutra

"The most valuable part of the program has definitely been the tight focus on food and foodtech. This has meant that every single team, no matter their background and how far they are in their journey, has something valuable to give and share with the others. In addition to the workshops, the VFDF networks have been more than valuable to get our business off the ground."

- Oliver Rotko, CEO Arctic Farming

"We have benefited for the possibility to use the Viikki Food Design Facrory demolab. The program has also challenged us to think more about our competitors and market that we'll operate in the future."

- Emma Kynkkäänniemi, CEO-to-be Three Mushketeers

"Great to have a program that is not just generic tech startup education. Food industry experts sharing their insights and connections are invaluable for an early stage startup."

- Janne Saarikko, Commercial Champion, Squee

The first two batches of Germinator teams (2021-2022) liked what they got!
Germinator batch #1

Average score for the programme 4,4/5

Delivering over or according to expectations on

  • Food and agri sector understanding
  • Coaching support from sector specialists
  • Building network into the food sector
  • Match-making with mentors
  • Pitching experience

Feedback measurement in Jan. 2022

“Hands-on guidance and mentoring with real concrete insight from industry on how to build food business case. Not just theoretical lectures from people who have never worked in the industry. Networking ability and sharing experiences /progress with other teams.” - Germinator participant 2021-2022


Germinator batch #2

Average score for the programme: 4,2/5

Delivering over or according to expectations on (above 3,5/5 score)

  • Product and service development
  • Presence and the Y Science @Slush
  • Market understanding & evaluation
  • Food sector understanding
  • Pitching experience
  • Business model development
  • Building the network into the food and/or agri sector
  • Match-making with mentors
  • User & customer understanding & insight
  • Internal team building

Feedback measured in December 2022

Germinator teams

2021-2022 batch

  • CompactGrowth
  • Mäsli
  • OleoFlow


2022-2023 batch

  • Arctic Farming
  • Binkiapp
  • BOLE
  • Five Letter Foods (5LF)
  • MOLT
  • Montinutra Ltd.
  • Three Mushketeers

2023-2024 batch

  • Acornia Greentech
  • Kitsain
  • MyShroom
  • Nuts about Nuts
  • Sustainable Organic Solutions (S.O.S)