Russian Nonprofit To Launch Country’s First Animal-Free Food Tech Accelerator With ProVeg
By Sally Ho
Published on Feb 1, 2021 Last updated Feb 1, 2021
The newly-established nonprofit Association of Alternative Food Producers (AAFPP) has teamed up with ProVeg Incubator to launch Russia’s first-ever food tech accelerator. The partnership will see the two organisations work together to support startups developing sustainable alternatives to animal-based foods using plant-based, cell-based and other related technologies such as 3D bioprinting.
Russia will soon see the launch of its first-ever food tech startup incubator, created by AAFPP, a newly-formed nonprofit organisation founded by Julia Marsel and Tim Ponomarev, co-founders of Greenwise, one of Russia’s first plant-based meat brands and a ProVeg Incubator alumni. AAFPP will work together with Berlin-based ProVeg Incubator for the new incubator that will support companies developing animal-free alternatives.
Based in the Moscow and Kaluga region, the incubator is looking for entrepreneurs in Russia or the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) or are targeting the Russian and CIS market. Startups supported include those working on plant-based and cell-based foods, ingredients or proteins, as well as those developing novel food technologies such as bioprinting.
“We started as a plant-based brand but, over the years, we’ve broadened the scope of our activities and now see ourselves as drivers of Russian food tech,” said Marsel.
“In Russia, and other Russian-speaking regions, the alternative food market is still in its infancy and needs support. That’s why we decided to set up an organisation that, together with the ProVeg Incubator, will support startups and help to achieve our shared goal of a future food system that doesn’t rely on animal ingredients.”
Startups accepted into the program will go through four modules, which will help them refine their business concept, give them guidance on technological, legal and marketing skills, as well as connect them with experts, potential buyers and professionals in the food industry. At the end of the incubation program, startups will also get the chance to pitch their innovations to a panel of investors.
We started as a plant-based brand but, over the years, we’ve broadened the scope of our activities and now see ourselves as drivers of Russian food tech.
Julia Marsel, Co-Founder, AAFPP
ProVeg Incubator’s know-how and expertise in supporting startups will be leveraged in this new partnership, given its role in supporting more than 45 startups globally and having helped them secure funds totalling more than US$36 million since its founding two years ago.
Among some of its successful graduates are microbial fermentation dairy firm Remilk who bagged US$11.3 million last year, and Haofood, one of the first companies to develop vegan chicken out of peanut protein.
The potential impact of this project is enormous, given that the target region has a population of around 240 million people.
Albrecht Wolfmeyer, Head of ProVeg Incubator
Greenwise, an alumni of ProVeg Incubator themselves, have since their graduation in 2019, are selling their plant-based patties, strips, jerkies, fillets and cold cuts across more than 2,000 retailers in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and have expanded their distribution footprint to Hungary, Estonia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
“We are excited to be developing the market for animal-free food innovations in the Russian-speaking countries, together with the AAFPP. The potential impact of this project is enormous, given that the target region has a population of around 240 million people,” commented Albrecht Wolfmeyer, head of ProVeg Incubator.
“We will bring our experience and know-how to the table, having already built a pioneering food incubator, and look forward to mentoring startup founders and connecting them to partners from Germany and beyond.”
Lead image courtesy of Greenwise.