The pitch session was held as part of the AgroBioTech&Food regional tour. From amongst the ten startups, the members of the jury chose Mr. Podshivalov’s edible biopolymer coating that increases the shelf life of fruits and vegetables to almost twice as long as they would naturally last. In general, due to short shelf life, many products are written off and disposed of, contributing to an abundant amount of food waste worldwide. This innovation not only extends the shelf life of perishable foods but is also completely safe. It decomposes naturally over a month when composted and is also biocompatible with human and animal organisms.
Young entrepreneurs from around the country presented at the pitch session. The pitches varied from large technological solutions to niche ideas. Artyom Lepeshkin, a graduate of ITMO University presented his unusual “FOYT” mixture, a cocktail that fully substitutes a meal with all the necessary proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Nikita Melnikov shared his idea for saving people from cooking their own food. Under the name “Povaristo”, in the same way Uber delivers food, anyone can search for a nearby chef who is available to prepare freshly-cooked homemade meals. A female entrepreneur also presented her “No Need for Sugar” innovations, healthy desserts for diabetics based on bird-cherry flour, guarana, coconut oil, and other unconventional ingredients.
The pitches weren’t just about tasty and healthy foods but also about keeping them fresh. One team talked about how they can prolong the freshness of mushrooms, berries, herbs, fruits and vegetables, not only whole but also in chopped form. They use smart packaging with a modified atmosphere that preserves the weight of the goods at the expense of moisture control and the use of natural essential oils. One team, headed by Vladimir Bespalov, Professor from the Department of Food Biotechnology, took healthy food to another level, creating innovative functional food for cancer prevention. Soy isoflavones, lycopene made from tomatoes, healthy fatty omega-3 acids and dietary fiber cereals, resveratrol made from wine, and turmeric, are among the ingredients in this cancer preventative food.
Dmitry Muzaev from Sirius Labs presented a project in the sphere of yeast biotechnology and production of recombinant proteins. While many drugs are protein-based, he explains that their team is developing yeast-based products called P.pastoris. Proteins produced by these yeasts are cheap, and active, they can be used for producing medicines as well as for the food industry since there are no pathogens.
Another excellent pitch that impressed the jury, focused on agricultural industries, was the sensor that fixes the time cows spend grazing, and also a system for microchipping livestock from “Agroinnovations” which simplifies farm reporting and monitoring the condition and number of animals.
While all the startuppers presented excellent ideas, only one was able to skip the application process and qualifying rounds and go straight to the finals of the federal accelerator GenerationS.