StartLife: “Our Program Provides Great Value to Both Our Startups and the Corporates.”

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Startup incubators offer a big chance for young companies with promising products and services. During the program they not only receive know-how, but also capital and multiple helpful network connections. One of these incubators is StartLife from Wageningen (The Netherlands), which includes the PHW-Group as one of its corporate partners. In our interview with Jan Meiling, Managing Director at StartLife, we received interesting answers on our questions about the program, the present startups and the amount of vegan companies in their portfolio.

How is StartLife supporting the (economic) success of startups?
StartLife supports early-stage food & agri startups with pre-seed funding, intensive coaching and access to a network of partners and investors. This way, we provide the infrastructure needed for startups to develop their company, attract investment and grow, to make global impact.

How many vegan companies do/did you support to present day?
There are no vegan companies, only vegan people. We work with about a dozen startups applying technology to develop plant-based alternatives to different food categories. Examples are seaweed-based pasta products, plant-based meat alternatives and vegetable wraps.

How important is the topic “veganism” in your startup-portfolio?
The topic is of increasing importance, as we see more and more startups entering this space. Not just in Wageningen or The Netherlands, but world-wide.

How big is the influence of a plant-based diet on the agriculture sector?
Huge. Agriculture at the moment is a large contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, current agricultural practices in some cases can have a negative influence on animal and human health. The transition to a more plant-based diet not only has positive environmental and health impact, but also provides the opportunity for farmers to contribute to a healthier agricultural system altogether.

You already have a good number of partners. What kind of partners are you searching for?
We’re always interested to meet with large companies that provide unique expertise, facilities and/or network to our startups. Our corporate partnership program provides great value to both our startups and the corporates.

Which guidelines do startups have to have in order to being able to apply? How can they apply?
See out website.

What are your plans for the future with StartLife over the next 3 years?
StartLife aims to improve our existing programs even further and also develop new activities that facilitate even more startups to be successful. We’re also starting to help build startups ourselves, based on unique technologies and research that we scout within academic institutions. Lastly, we’re experimenting in different ways to support a more international group of startups.

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