Wageningen, 31 May 2022. StartLife and Blue Ocean Xlerator (BOX), two startup builders from the Food Valley in the Netherlands, have entered into a strategic partnership to accelerate the growth of start-ups that are developing sustainable innovations for the food supply chain. The parties also want to increase the international profile of the Food Valley region and draw more domestic and foreign start-ups and scale-ups to it. They offer a wide range of facilities, capital and access to their network.

The two organisations have known each other for a long time. There was informal contact, but no structural cooperation until now. “It was only a matter of time before we entered into a partnership,” says Jan Meiling, managing director of StartLife. “For years, both our organisations have been committed to helping start-ups make the transformation to a sustainable food and agriculture supply chain. We both do this in different ways. StartLife is a start-up accelerator, while Box is a venture builder. This is why we complement each other so well.”

“We get involved in technological innovations when they are still only rough ideas,” explains BOX partner Raşit Görgülü. “If we think a new technology looks promising, we will form an entrepreneurial team to bring it further if necessary. With our own R&D companies, we can also actively contribute to advanced product development. Of course, we also invest capital; we examine what each start-up needs and what we can contribute to it.”

Transformation to sustainable food supply chain

“We share an ambition to transform the food supply chain in to a sustainable system,” continues Görgülü. “Think in terms of new products like plant-based proteins, sustainable dairy products and meat substitutes. We all now realise that this transformation is badly needed and that it must take place as soon as possible. This demands focused and collective efforts, and by joining forces and actively supporting impactful innovations, we can help to accelerate this transformation.”

For this reason, BOX recentlyalsobecame a partner in F&A Next, the internationally renowned conference organised by StartLife in collaboration with Wageningen University, Rabobank and Anterra Capital, among others. On 18 and 19 May, 600 entrepreneurs, investors and major companies from 44 countries attended the seventh edition of F&A Next to share knowledge and explore new partnerships for a sustainable food supply chain.

“We’re proud to have made this event possible together with StartLife,” says Görgülü. “It was a major happening and helped put the Food Valley region on the map. With so much energy and inspiration, it will certainly result in beautiful new initiatives.”

Call for start-ups

StartLife and Box strongly believe in the power of cooperation – with each other, with start-ups and with all the parties in the Food Valley ecosystem.

“Now that we have joined forces, we can streamline our collective support processes and help achieve great things,” says Meiling. “Any start-up that would like to benefit from our support is warmly invited to connect with StartLife. It’s time for a sustainable food supply chain, and there is no time to lose!”