Swiss foodtech start-ups had the opportunity to introduce themselves to an international audience in Paris in mid-June. Thanks to Innosuisse and its programme of participation in international trade fairs, several new companies were able to take part in Viva Technology, an annual gathering dedicated to technological innovation.
The swisstech pavilion, with its green neon sign, attracted numerous visitors during the four days of the show. It was enough to put a smile on the faces of the ambitious CEOs and their colleagues, who were delighted to renew their acquaintance with “real” people. And so, this year, Swiss foodtech found itself in the spotlight with small dishes placed in among the big ones to attract all the attention: appealing to the taste buds with a bar serving (divine) coffees or sample tastings of (surprise!) paprika-flavoured insects, interactively with presentations on stage, and visually with a stand and a display for each start-up.
Sharp elbows were needed to get anywhere near these popular young start-ups because of the immense interest from the visitors. But it was worth the effort just to experience the enthusiasm when you got there. “The French market is very important for us and this event allows us to meet potential customers and investors,” said Matteo Panzavolta, CEO of Authena. The company specialises in the tracing of ingredients that make up luxury products such as perfumes, cosmetics, food and beverages such as wine and whisky.
The same is true of Voltiris, whose team develops solar modules that allow vegetable growers to create electricity in their greenhouses without shading crops or impacting plant growth. Its CEO, Nicolas Weber, says: “There was a time when I underestimated the impact of trade fairs. Now I realise that being in direct contact with people is an advantage.” And he continues: “The contact with other start-ups is also positive. We exchange experiences and advice. This even enables a great many synergies to be created.”
This exchange and exposure is something that the start-ups intend to take advantage of. “We’ve set up our own production unit and have recently launched commercial sales. Of course, like most start-ups, we are also looking for investment, mainly for our R&D centre. The timing of VivaTech is therefore perfect,” explains François Fidanza. The CFO of AgroSustain tells us that the company’s ambition is to export its technology to the European market, hence its presence in Paris. “AgroSustain develops biological fungicides, as well as natural coatings which, when applied to fruit and vegetables after harvest, reduce their water loss, prevent them from degrading rapidly, generally extend their shelf life and thus significantly reduce food waste.”
For other stakeholders, having a presence at VivaTech means the beginning of a great adventure. “We’ve recently signed partnerships with Google, SAP, Square and Coca Cola. We’re here to meet these partners in person and strengthen ties for the long term,” explains Andrea Tassistro. The CEO of Foodetective describes his product as “the Apple Store of the restaurant industry”, a platform that centralises all restaurant services such as order management, reservations, social networks and even payments. To date, 25,000 restaurants use this platform in Europe and the company intends to conquer the global market.
These four days, intense in terms of meetings and exchanges, will have provided the opportunity to present ambitious projects on the highly topical subject of foodtech and to show, with pride, what Switzerland has to bring to the international scene in this field. The excellent collaboration between the partners present in the pavilion, such as Présence Suisse, Switzerland Global Enterprise, Swiss Business Hub, Swissnex and even Innosuisse aura, also contributed to the smooth running of the event.
Reporter: Johanne Stettler
The swisstech pavilion at a glance:
- 15 Swiss companies present in the pavilion
- 4 daily shows on foodtech and agritech
- 4 to 5 sessions of daily pitches
- 5 swissnex quizzes on training in Switzerland on the Saturday
- Nestlé ROASTELIER coffee bar: 600 coffees served each day (compared to the 250 originally expected)
Last modification 08.08.2022