Checking in with the winner of The Hague Innovators Challenge (2019):

CricketOne: Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture Landscape

With the annual The Hague Innovators Challenge, the municipality of The Hague challenges startups, scale-ups and students to come up with fresh and innovative ideas to tackle global problems of our time. With the next edition coming up soon, we thought it would be good to check in with CricketOne, one of the winners of the Hague Innovators Challenge in 2019, to find out about their journey so far. What has happened to impact maker CricketOne after winning the 2019 The Hague Innovators Challenge? Check out this guest blog to learn more about their journey.

By participating in The Hague Innovators Awards in 2019, we did not only win prize money that we could use to fund our mission to tackle the global food crisis, but we also became part of the ImpactCity ecosystem that has helped us expand our network and create visibility.

Last May, F&A Next – an annual international conference took place at Wageningen University to address the global problem in food security and sustainable agricultural technology which attracted more than 700 attendees from all over the world from The United States, to India, China and most of the other European countries. The main 3 topics were discussed were 1.) alternative proteins to replace conventional animal protein, 2.) agricultural technologies to improve the existing practices to be more efficient and environmentally friendly, and  3.) food processing technologies to reduce food waste and upscale the circular economies.

F&A Next has been known as a strong platform where corporates get updated about the latest innovations which can be implemented in their operations and where investors meet up with potential market erupting innovators. With the support of ImpactCity – with its mission to support impact startups and StartLife – an incubator program from Wageningen, that connects FoodTech startups and innovations, CricketOne was invited to attend this fantastic event and took home a lot of results in term of business development leads, and potential investors interests.

The Food Tech and AgriTech investment landscape has been drawing lot of attention and growing significantly in the past 4 years, especially in The Netherlands where sustainability and impact are often placed equally toward commercial purpose when an investment is made. The Netherlands might not be in the top three of investment size in FoodTech yet, but there are so many practical supports financially and intellectually available you can tap into. Talking from our situation – CricketOne, a FoodTech scale-up with the global office located in The Hague which allows us proactively marketing and presenting ourselves to the international market, and with the production hub located in the south of Vietnam to utilizing the climate, and labor resources to produce the most affordable and sustainable protein source to tackle global food crisis and climate change caused by conventional animal farming.

With the great financially support via subsidy, challenge and awards from ImpactCity, The Hague city and RVO we were able to overcome the “death valley” of the startup journey to achieve great development growth toward our current investors. In the other hand, The Netherlands is the 2nd largest food exporter globally, just after The United States, so comparing to the size of the country then it’s really something to be proud of being a part of the national Ecosystem. Hence with their support exposing our company profile, we are invited to many specialized and closed events where we can mingle and pitch products to mega food and CPGs manufacturers such as Unilever, Pepsi, AH to have our products validated and opportunity to work with them, as well as having mentorship from experts in food industry is the biggest advantage for a startup like us to grow faster and reduce the mistakes potentially made on the way. Running a startup is a hard job, running a social impact startup is even more difficult. Luckily, we are now stationing full time at Apollo 14, a hub where similar minded-people working together under the same roof, sharing experience, working toward solving social issues globally.

We see The Hague as a stable and suitable landing-base for our company to grow globally. From here after 1.5 years, we are able to reach out to Russia where protein supply is always a problem for 8 months of a year. We obtained partnerships with 2 companies in The Netherlands to cover the rest of Europe where our main markets are. While it takes only 6 to 8 hours to get to The States. Furthermore, our office is just so close to Rotterdam where we have our shipments landed while still can live in this lovely city where heritage elements in architectures, cultures reversed and international environment run in every single citizen. Nevertheless, the beach is also a relaxing element for a stressful startup life here.

Are you working on solutions that tackle global issues? Is your company focused on doing good and doing business? Find out how you can apply for The Hague Innovators Challenge of 2020.