NCFIL Expands Global Reach with PeakBridge Partnership
May 16, 2022
NCFIL Expands Global Reach with PeakBridge Partnership
An exciting new partnership between the NC Food Innovation Lab (NCFIL) and PeakBridge investment firm is poised to positively impact the global food tech industry. Nadav Berger and Erich Sieber, Co-Founding General Partners of PeakBridge, created the fund to invest in technologies that are sustainable and can disrupt the food industry for the better. Building upon a decades-long relationship with Dr. Bill Aimutis, executive director at the NCFIL, this collaboration aims to help entrepreneurs in the food space get to scale.
Shaping the Future of Food
PeakBridge is an Alternative Investment Fund Manager and Investment Services Firm that was created “to be a bridge helping entrepreneurs to get to the peak” says Berger, not only by advocating money and investing in companies but also by helping new businesses navigate the complexity of the food industry so they can move from one peak to another. The only fund formed by two executives who grew up in the food industry, PeakBridge describes itself as a firm that “invests in, and connects, the people, technology and processes that will shape the future of food.”
Berger explains that food tech innovation can be both impactful and profitable by investing in companies that are trying to solve issues for market need but also create a positive impact on health. The “need to leave something better for our daughters” serves as motivation.
PeakBridge looks at five targeted segments when deciding on companies in which to invest, ensuring they are working toward “creating positive social and environmental impact to change today’s food system and the way we nourish ourselves.”
Five Investment Sectors
Ingredient Innovations: Innovating for improved ingredients or solving challenges of existing ones.
One investment example is iwi, a US-based algae cultivation leader producing food supplements and proteins that are 50% better absorbed in the body and brain. With the help of Aimutis and NCFIL, iwi is about to launch a 2-oz protein beverage shot.
Alternative Protein Technologies: Providing sustainable alternatives to animal proteins.
One investment example is The Mediterranean Food Lab, an Isreali startup that produces natural plant-based flavor bases for a wide range of meat replacement needs. Unami is one example, which is added to alternative meat for a tasty meat flavor and a clean label.
Digitalization & Food System 4.0: Transforming the post-harvest supply chain.
One investment example is Tastewise, the AI platform that screens over a million online menus and analyzes billions of data points to help food brands make smart, healthy, and sustainable decisions.
Nutrition & Health: Improving nutritional decisions, consumer health and wellness.
One investment example is Prenexus Health, a company growing its own proprietary sugar cane to create a superior prebiotic offering.
Alternative Farming Systems: Reinventing production of food sources.
One investment example is Vanilla Vida, a company working to solve the world’s vanilla problem by growing pure vanilla in greenhouses to meet the global demand. Using its controlled growing process, they can extract 200-300% more vanillin from each bean.
Partnering with NCFIL
“We understand how to move from R&D to scale across different markets. Everyone involved has food experience, and we’re working with some of the greatest scientists in the food industry,” Berger says. With offices in Malta and Tel Aviv, they’re looking for the best partners in the US that have their “boots on the ground.”
Berger describes NCFIL as an emerging epicenter for food tech entrepreneurs who want to scale. Gaining access to NCFIL's expertise and state-of-the-art facility provides new businesses with ideas for scale and the necessary equipment that can bring their product to market.
“NCFIL is one of those organizations we are truly looking to partner with. We are introducing NCFIL to many potential clients and big players who can support and do their tests at NCFIL’s facility. If Bill and team see something exciting, they can direct those companies to us. We can each achieve more with this collaboration.”
PeakBridge is focusing on its presence on the East Coast as Berger explains that the technology and R&D in North Carolina is exciting. “What Bill and his team have created is state of the art; I haven’t seen anything like it. NCFIL can create collaboration between hubs to support scale in creating revolution. Bill has formed relationships from Singapore to Germany to California. Nothing I have seen is comparable to what is happening in North Carolina.”
Creating Impact Beyond the Borders
Aimutis says there are several corridors of innovation in the food industry, including San Francisco, Singapore, and Israel. Thanks to connections made through this partnership, NCFIL is already working with a few Israelii companies. “There’s no big food industry or academia in Israel, but there are amazing entrepreneurs that are very opportunistic.”
Berger explains that in Israel, “there is great government support and three different incubators for food tech, but the typical entrepreneur knows there is no market in the country. Where should I scale? NCFIL.”
Get in Touch
NCFIL loves building relationships with organizations looking to better the food industry. If you’re interested in collaborating with us, please get in touch.