Chicago, IL – September 1, 2023
GrowinCo., a leading global platform for co-manufacturing. ingredient supplier, and co-packing providers, has emerged as a standout contender among 75 global applicants, securing its place in the highly selective 1871’s Foodtech Innovation Lab.
1871’s Foodtech Innovation Lab serves as a dynamic nexus for growth stage, late stage, and corporate tech enterprises, pooling their expertise to address challenges and opportunities within the food tech industry. The initiative, executed in collaboration with Barrel Ventures, is poised to catalyze innovation and drive transformative progress in the food industry.
Started in July 17th, 2023 and running up to October 5th, 2023, the lab welcomes a diverse array of innovators:
- Growth-stage startups, pioneering technology or products within the foodtech domain.
- Late-stage partners, aiming to amplify their brand presence as industry experts and influencers.
- Forward-thinking corporations at the forefront of foodtech advancements or keen on bolstering their capabilities through strategic partnerships.
The Foodtech Innovation Lab places emphasis on key focus areas where cohort members can delve, identify challenges, and engage in collaborative solutions:
- Agtech: Encompassing biotechnology, farm management software, robotics, mechanization, equipment, and novel farming systems.
- Food Innovations: Exploring novel ingredients, upcycling strategies, and nutraceutical advancements.
- Manufacturing & Packaging: Centered around midstream technologies and innovative packaging solutions.
CEO of GrowinCo, Raphael Traticoski, a visionary with firsthand experience in the consumer packaged goods sector, recognized the exceptional value of 1871. His journey began with a social media connection, which eventually led him to an event hosted by the Brazilian foreign trade agency in partnership with 1871 in November 2022. Fast forward to early 2023, Traticoski’s application to the Food Tech Innovation Lab marked the initial step toward his company’s selection in the summer cohort.
The Lab offers GrowinCo a pivotal opportunity to penetrate the US market, which has surged in importance in terms of both revenue and clientele since 2020. Amidst the backdrop of a dynamic customer base, GrowinCo ascertained the complexities in sourcing the right contract manufacturers, compounded by the continuous influx of new players.
Highlighting its strategic significance, North America constitutes a substantial 29% of the global consumer packaged goods market. The spectrum spans beverages, processed meat, and snacks, with the US boasting a staggering annual launch of 11,300 new SKUs, as per Mintel data. GrowinCo positions itself as the solution to expedite new product launches while aligning with sustainability, well-being, supplier diversity, and inclusion.
Raphael attests that the program, after just two immersive weeks, is already yielding tangible outcomes. Engaging with stalwarts from US corporate giants like Ferrero, Mizkan, Mondelez, and Conagra, and gleaning insights from experienced CPG entrepreneurs including Liquid Death, Banza, and Farmer’s Fridge, the program has ignited an exchange of challenges and triumphant narratives. Venture capitalists are tracking the cohort startups with keen interest, marking them as potential investment prospects. As GrowinCo navigates this transformative journey, the 1871 team’s proactive support and expansive network have fostered an environment akin to a nurturing home within Chicago.
“Airbnb of industries”
Operating across more than 10 countries, with an international client base contributing to 70% of its revenue, GrowinCo has firmly established itself as the definitive “Airbnb of industries.” This growth-stage startup, founded in Brazil with a global reach, is revolutionizing sourcing through its extensive network. Employing Artificial Intelligence, GrowinCo expedites the matching of projects with optimal suppliers, simplifying tasks and optimizing solutions. Bolstering its growth trajectory, GrowinCo recently secured a significant investment of $735,000 (R$ 3.6 million) co-led by GVAngels and Harvard Angels, key players in the angel investor network space.
A revered hub of innovation, 1871. stands as Chicago’s preeminent private business incubator, recognized globally for its unparalleled impact. Committed to nurturing visionary enterprises across all stages of growth — from inception to maturation — 1871 has provided a nurturing environment for approximately 400 technology startups and around 200 growth stage companies. With an extensive membership of over 1,500, this thriving ecosystem is bolstered by a comprehensive framework designed to accelerate growth and fuel job creation throughout the vibrant Chicagoland region. The holistic member experience encompasses both virtual and in-person access to workshops, events, mentorship, and more. This non-profit venture boasts an impressive roster of 350 mentors. Collaborations include over 200 partner corporations, universities, accelerators, and venture funds. Since its inception in 2012, 1871 has fostered the success of over 850 alumni companies, generating more than 14,500 jobs and securing over $3.5 billion in follow-on capital.