Medstrada, a new venture capital fund focused exclusively on food technology, was opened in Tel Aviv by former senior Pitango Venture Capital life sciences partner Ruti Alon.
The fund is still raising capital but has announced its first cooperation agreement with Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). The collaboration means that Medstrada will be funding companies in New York as well as Israel.
“The food industry is one of the world’s largest, with an $8 billion turnover, compared with $2 billion for the pharma industry and $1 billion for medical devices,” says Ilanit Kabessa-Cohen, Alon’s partner in Medstrada. Kabessa-Cohen comes to the firm from Osem-Nestlé. Nestlé has 18 pilots running at Israeli startups.
Food-tech has been growing in Israel. The Kitchen food-tech incubator in Ashdod is sponsored by the innovation arm of Strauss. The Israel Innovation Authority is launching a tender to establish a new food-technology incubator in the northern city of Safed.
Copia Agro & Food, a private Israeli investment fund, finds prominent industry partners to develop and commercialize groundbreaking agro and food technologies from Israeli research institutes.
WeissBeerger, which puts chips for collecting data on beer spigots in restaurants and pubs, was acquired earlier this year by Anheuser Busch for $80 million.
Medstrada says it will concentrate on new food (such as functional food and clean meat); personalized nutrition; information and analytics for the food industry; and sustainable technologies such as biodegradable food packaging, management of byproducts and environmentally friendly factories.
Kabessa-Cohen told the Globes business journal that consumers want unprocessed but ready-to-eat food.
“Even if what I really want is a plate of vegetables, innovation can mean that I get it at the right time and place, while preserving the freshness in production, transportation that does not harm the environment, and so forth.”