Finalists Announced for 2021 World Food Forum Startup Innovation Awards

Rome : The World Food Forum (WFF), in partnership with Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC), announce the 2021 finalists for the WFF Startup Innovation Awards.

The WFF Startup Innovation Awards are a global startup competition established to support and showcase innovators and entrepreneurs who are harnessing the power of technology to drive the sustainable transformation of agri-food systems in support of ending global hunger and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.


Thanks to our team of global agribusiness/agritech expert evaluators and some tough deliberations, twelve finalists were selected from over 3700 entrants in the 2021 XTC, for their standout entrepreneurship and promising potential for a positive impact on global and local agri-food systems.


Three finalists were selected in one of four categories and include:


Better Production

Wasteless – delivers an AI-driven markdown optimization solution for fresh food in supermarkets, allowing retailers to automatically price products based on expiration dates and/or waste risk.
Freshbox – offers refrigeration as a service (RaaS) model of solar-powered, modular walk-in cold rooms for preservation of perishable foods.
FarmSense – markets the next generation of insect monitoring, mitigating the harmful effects of insects while enhancing their beneficial impacts.

Better Nutrition

Pebble Labs – uses probiotics as the delivery vehicle for RNA or other bioactives to harness a plant or animal’s natural processes to repel pests or activate disease or drought-resistance protection processes.
Boost Biomes – markets active microbes that prevent fungi blights, using advanced causative data analytics to precisely formulate microbe interactions.
Orbem – provides AI-powered imaging technology that enables fast, accurate, and contactless object classification and analytics, with a current focus on the poultry industry.

Better Environment

Solercool- develops solar-powered post-harvest solution for rural areas.
ecoSPEARS – applies combustion-free processes that eliminate toxins like PCBs, dioxins, and other persistent organic pollutants (POPS) from the environment without carbon pollution.
Bondi Bio – leverages solar energy and water to sequester and valorize CO2 to solar bio manufacture high-value plant-derived natural products.

Better Life

Jai Kisan – offers a fintech platform that applies sophisticated modeling to provide low-cost credit for income-producing equipment and ag inputs to farmers.
The Live Green Co – deploys an AI recommendation engine to blend ancestral sciences of plant nutrition with biotech analytics to replace synthetic and highly processed ingredients in food products.
​Hillridge – offers a platform enabling novel parametric insurance for weather events for the agricultural industry.

A jury of leading experts from across the social entrepreneurship, startup and tech communities will select winners in each of the four categories, as well as one overall 2021 WFF Startup Innovator of the Year Award, to be announced at the Innovation Day of the WFF flagship event on 2 October, 2021.


The WFF Startup Innovation Awards jury panel will be chaired by the Deputy Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Beth Bechdol and FAO Chief Economist, Maximo Torero.


Jury panelists will include:

Khalid Bomba, Director of the Office of Innovation at FAO;
Young Sohn, Chairman of the Board at HARMAN International, Founding Managing Partner at Walden Catalyst and Co-Founder of Extreme Tech Challenge;
Bill Tai, Angel Investor, Partner Emeritus at CRV and Co-Founder of Extreme Tech Challenge;
Nicole Shanahan, Founder and President of Bia-Echo Foundation;
Michiel Bakker, Vice President of Global Workplace Services Programs at Google;
Priya Sultan, Founder and CEO of Social Impact Lab Japan;
Iride Ceccacci, Head of Advisory, Agribusiness, at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Useful links for media

WFF 2021 Flagship Event and Awards Ceremony Registration
WFF website
The Extreme Tech Challenge website