Collaborative Innovation Summit

Icos and Bühler connect dozens of start-ups and corporates to accelerate sustainability

Uzwil (Switzerland), March 4, 2024 – Climate tech venture capital fund, Icos Capital, held the “Collaborative Innovation Summit” at Bühler’s CUBIC Innovation Campus on February 29, 2024. The event brought together investors, industry leaders, and promising start-ups from the food, chemicals, and biotech sectors to accelerate sustainable solutions. The partners intend to grow their ecosystem of collaboration and innovation to enable start-ups to scale up their efforts in tackling some of the most urgent and complex challenges in the food and chemicals industries. The main day of the event was preceded by the “Collaboration Day” in “The Valley”. The idea of ways for start-ups to collaborate with industry partners such as The Cultured HUB, ERIDIA, and Bühler was discussed.

“Our goal at Icos Capital is to identify and invest in next-level innovations to accelerate sustainability. Through our model of collaborative venturing, we bring start-ups specialized in sustainable food, circular economy, sustainable industry, and decarbonization into win-win partnerships with corporates, supporting their growth,” says Peter van Gelderen, General Partner at Icos Capital. The start-ups Icos backed since 2006 have disrupted and led their respective markets and have benefited from the Icos approach of considering financial, social, and environmental returns in equal measure. “The event here at Bühler’s CUBIC Innovation Campus is a great example of turning challenges into opportunities: we’ve connected forward-thinking entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas to solve major problems with investors ready to identify the next start-up to take to the next level and brought in industry partners equipped with the know-how and technology to accelerate positive impact at scale,” adds van Gelderen. 


Scaling up impact 

Over 30 start-ups from across Europe pitched their innovations and discussed collaborations with corporations, sparking mutually beneficial partnerships going forward. “We’re delighted to play a role in strengthening this collaborative venturing approach to scale impactful innovation,” says Ian Roberts, CTO of Bühler. The leading solution partner for the food, feed, and mobility industries works with selected partners, such as Icos, to build a global network of partnerships that support the transition to a sustainable food system and industry adoption of new sustainable solutions and practices. “With established supply chains and market access, we believe that corporates in the room can play a crucial role in the journey of start-ups and enable them to scale both their business and their sustainable impact significantly faster,” adds Roberts. 


Finding new ways 

Icos and Bühler see technology readiness levels increasing and positive changes in the market in precision fermentation, bio-based chemicals, and side stream valorization. MoA FoodTech is a start-up focusing on healthy and sustainable ingredients based on by-product valorization through biomass fermentation. “We valorize by-products from the agrifood industry into high value ingredients with excellent functional properties, nutritional value, and sensory attributes for the food industry,” says Bosco Emparanza García, CEO and co-founder of MoA FoodTech. “This summit is crucial for us to build partnerships with industrial capacity, knowledge, and drive to take our technology to the next level and accelerate our impact along the food value chains.” 

Another start-up that caught the attention of industry leaders and investors alike is Abolis. The French start-up develops bio-based solutions to produce foods, fragrances, chemicals, and agrochemical products in a more sustainable and clean way via precision fermentation. “We’re experts in the architecture of microorganism metabolism to replace a variety of chemicals in industrial applications. We had the unique opportunity to share our ideas and connect with industrial companies, potential investors, and like-minded entrepreneurs. Start-ups are mostly technology developers that don’t have the capacity to make full use of their technology. We need large industrial players to scale up, and the contacts we made today will help us to combine expertise, capabilities, and to grow,” says Cyrille Pauthenier, CEO of Abolis.  

The “Collaborative Innovation Summit” event was an early highlight for Icos in 2024. Their search together with Bühler for high potential, sustainable start-ups continues. “We’re always looking to expand our network and encourage entrepreneurs ready to scale to contact us directly at,” says Peter van Gelderen. More information about Icos Capital can be found here.

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