The stakes were high as 950 delegates made their way to Lausanne ready to meet and learn from one another.
With an action-packed few days planned with the who’s who of Food and Climate, the HackSummit promised to be an unforgettable experience for everyone taking part.
Here’s a look back at the highlights. Or if you missed it, a taste of what happened.
HackSummit 2023 at a glance:
- 2 stages (+100% vs 2022)
- 950 attendees (+72% vs 2022)
- 56 startup booths (+40% vs 2022)
- 6 cooking demonstrations (+200% vs 2022)
- 4,677 meetings via the app (+81% vs 2022)
5 Key Themes
Embracing Complexity - As World Fund’s Alexis Caporale pointed out, if we really want to support the most meaningful transformative solutions, the biggest emissions are in complex systems. He called on funds to unite and go down the ‘rabbit hole’ to understand how to completely transform the system to deliver the highest emission reduction potential and highest returns.
Multistakeholder Problems and Solutions - Fifth Wall’s Jennifer Place highlighted that if this is the decade for decarbonisation, we’re going to need buy-in from all three stakeholders: corporates, capital and policy in concert. Especially as McKinsey estimates we need to invest $275 trillion in the next 27 years to decarbonise the global economy.
The Power of SynBio and AI - We’ve barely scratched the surface of these technologies to help us achieve a greener, more sustainable future. As Piotr Grabowski of Foodtech.ac tells us: It's truly amazing to observe the evolution over the years. From the initial development of plant-based products to advancements in mycelium, bioreactors, and cellular agriculture, and now the creation of completely new and personalised food ingredients at the molecular and peptide level. It is incredible to see the use of AI algorithms to accelerate laboratory research.
Nature’s Role in the Climate Journey - Planet A Ventures’ Jessica Burley told us how Nature-Based Carbon Solutions offer proven, cost-effective strategies that are ready for deployment today. With the potential to save up to 12 gigatonnes of carbon equivalent annually, NbS could slash peak warming by 0.3C by 2030. And as climate and nature pledges rise, demand for carbon credits from NbS could soar to $30bn by 2030. If utilised effectively, this capital can catalyze truly transformative projects, delivering remarkable returns for nature and investors alike.
Mitigation, adaptation and resilience - Investor opinion was divided over which of these to prioritise and debated if we are too far past the mitigation phase. As Lowercarbon Capital’s Clea Kolster pointed out, one of the most damaging things we can do is aim for net zero by 2050 as it stops our ability to develop near-term solutions. After all, climate change is not far out, it’s happening today and what we do in the next 10 years determines what we need to do by 2050.
5 Hack Highlights
Taste it to Believe it 😋
The live cooking demos brought the future of food to Lausanne with the launch of Juicy Marbles all-plant ribs, New School Foods’ ceviche, Farmless’ world’s first food from methanol-eating bugs, Enough’s impressive texture in their alt chicken, Bosque Foods 7-ingredient mycelium-based chicken and Heura Foods’ versatile whole cuts from plants.
And at the Taste Lab Plantish, Cultivated Biosciences, Alfred’s FoodTech, Nosh Bio, Food Squared and Meala, all served up restaurant-quality experiences. And not least Ordinary Seafood who teamed up with 2 star Michelin chef Dennis Puchert.
And lunch time meant decision time as the food trucks served up: Heura Foods’ beef bao buns, Libre bacon cesar salad, Current Foods sushi rolls, Revyve burgers, Redefine Meat’s pulled beef tacos and Raging Pig Co x Kynda bratwurst.
A glimpse into the future 👀
The Founders and CTOs of 56 climate booths showcased what’s new and what’s next in Food and Climate.
A stroll up and down the aisles and you had the chance to catch demonstrations from ELECTRON Aerospace, try out Digital Bites’ VR headsets, take a closer look at Flexsea's bioplastic packaging, learn about Hortiya's AI for plants and check out Voltiris’ solar modules (to name a few).
Spoilt for Choice with Side Events 🎉
The HackSummit quickly became the catalyst for a full week of networking and fun.
While some of the secret side events are still, you guessed it, a secret, highlights included a pre-summit warm ups local bars, tour of Nestle’s R&D centre, HiiT session, a speaker dinner in Vervey, the launch of Alt Collective, The Kitchen Hub’s networking drinks reception, investor dinners and plenty of dancing on Friday night.
We tried, but no, it’s not possible to meet with the other 949 attendees during the summit, so these events gave us extra time to get to know one another in more relaxed settings and make lasting memories.
Cream of the Crop Competition Winners 🏆
12 pitch competition finalists took to the stage to reveal their breakthrough technologies covering carbon Capture, clean energy, bio-based chemicals and manufacturing sustainable ingredients and bioreactor bottlenecks.
In the end the jury couldn't decide, and crowned two winners:
🔋 Makoto Hamamoto Eyre of Homeostasis who are transforming carbon pollution into essential battery tech.
Why: The judges saw their huge market potential, gave credit to their strong business model and were impressed by the strong pitch and team.
💨 Karl Khalil of 2D Membranes who are reducing the pollution caused by heavy industry
Why: The judges were impressed by their simple solution to a big problem and recognised their strong business model and defensibility.
All 12 finalists are certainly ones to watch.
So too are Arkeon and Green Spot Technologies, who were crowned winner and runner up of the Givaudan Innovation Task Force Prize.
A ‘special unity’ scoured the HackSummit for talent that could be a potential collaboration for GIvaudan. More on why they won here.
Challenge Accepted for a Sustainable event 🎯
For a summit all about sustainability, we did our best to host a low-waste, future-focused summit with careful considerations on how we built the summit and who we worked with.
Take this 30 second tour of the venue to see what it looked like. Next time let’s see if we can reach (closer to) zero waste…
Here’s 4 ways we stepped up our efforts:
- The stage, exhibition area, welcome desk and networking structures were made from 6,000 fruit and vegetable crates. The day after the event, we folded them all back up and they’re now back in circulation.
- The lunch menu was all served in reusable dishes, thanks to Ozarka
- 7 different containers to sort recycling and reuse
- And it goes without saying that all food was vegan or vegetarian. And surplus food and drink was dropped off at a local food bank
Last but not least, let’s hear some of your standout moments
“I met someone after the HackSummit and I said: “I’m actually concerned. The Hack Team has a huge challenge now. How can they keep up adding value one summit after the other? Last year was fantastic and this year even better”. Broader and more profound content, a larger scope and a lot of new people. There is so much going on and I was (well) exhausted at the end with a lot of follow-on’s.” Alexandre Bastos @ Givaudan
“Of course - We already know that when an innovation has high capex, in an industry where margins are low, (for example in food, fashion) it's difficult to build an attractive proposition for customers and investors. The HackSummit put the spotlight on ventures that have found resourceful ways to make the business work, from vertically integrating, to dropping into existing processes, and eventually reducing or eliminating green premiums.” Puja Balachander @ Carbon 13
“The one thing that stood out for me was the big improvement in user experience in products that were demonstrated at the HackSummit. As an investor in FoodTech for close to 9 years founders and innovators have transitioned from products which are sustainable/healthy/ethical to products which are all that but first and foremost provide the taste and texture consumers expect, and the cooking experience chefs expect. This shows that FoodTech is maturing, and innovators understand that technology does not drive sales. User experience does.” Amir Zaidman @ The Kitchen
“The HackSummit brought together an international crowd of leaders driving the transition in Food and ClimateTech. As a scale up partner for fermentation and cell ag companies, we were thrilled to be part of a dynamic discussion on scaling and commercialisation challenges. The high quality networking also allowed us to meet in person with established and new players in the FoodTech ecosystem.” Erika Georget @ ERIDIA
“The HackSummit gave us fast-track exposure, opportunities, and connections as well as the chance to meet new people, peers, subject matter experts and also a platform to share my ideas on AgriFoodtech investment bottlenecks and other challenges. I was moved by next-gen novel ingredients, the technologies went above and beyond my expectations, the textures and taste are even better, I enjoyed great food and even better company…admit it…we had fun while doing good!” Hadar Sutovsky @ ICL Planet
“Attending the HackSummit was a great experience due to its vibrant atmosphere, diverse speakers, networking opportunities, and emphasis on continuous learning. The conference brought together passionate individuals, fostering a dynamic environment for collaboration. Networking sessions allowed for meaningful connections and potential collaborations. The event's focus on continuous learning left us motivated to make a positive impact. Overall, the HackSummit provided a unique blend of knowledge, networking, and inspiration, making it an exceptional experience and a must for next year.” Alexis Caporale @ World Fund
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