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IFT FIRST Startup Pavilion

Are you a startup focused on the future of food? Secure your place among the 100 companies featured at IFT’s Startup Pavilion, which will bring together global food and food-related startups at all stages of growth when it returns this summer to IFT FIRST: Annual Event and Expo.  

Centered around the theme “Collaboration + Innovation: How Can Food Science and Technology Transform the Food System?” this year’s event, held July 14-17 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, is expected to attract more than 17,000 ingredient providers, business leaders, product developers, food scientists, and other members of the science of food community.  

There’s no better place for startups to network, generate leads, achieve brand visibility, source ingredients, interact with buyers, and attract potential investors.  

The Startup Pavilion has experienced rapid growth over the past few years and is now the top-visited area at IFT FIRST. Last year, the pavilion attracted nearly 9,000 visitors who spent on average 41 minutes browsing and engaging with 86 featured companies from 14 countries. Innovations on display included the use of artificial intelligence in food innovation, methods for repurposing ancient grains, technology solutions that improve ingredient quality and safety, plant-based foods, upcycled ingredients, cutting-edge beverages, and more.  

Here's what two of last year’s Startup Pavilion participants had to say:  

  • “Participating in the Startup Pavilion was absolutely the best possible move for us as a supplier introducing unusual ingredients to the world of food and beverage manufacturers,” says Philip Teverow, co-founder and CEO at Yolélé, a West African-based supplier of products using the ancient grain fonio. “We encountered so much curiosity about our unique offerings from people responsible for formulating products for companies large and small.” 
  • “The Startup Pavilion was where the action was,” adds Sean Madison, director of global pet food & North American growth at the Paris-based biotechnology company Innovafeed. “The amount of attention and foot traffic led to successful engagement on all fronts: with clients, investors, media, and more.”  

If all that exceptional exposure weren’t enough, there’s more. All Startup Pavilion participants are eligible to take part in the IFT Startup Pavilion Pitch Competition, a multistage rapid-pitch competition spanning three days where companies compete for a $10,000 prize, presented by Seeding The Future Foundation. Each round is judged by a panel of professionals who represent all aspects of the global food ecosystem—venture capital firms and startup incubators, innovation leaders, academic researchers, research and development professionals, and government officials. All startups have the opportunity to attend an invitation-only founders and funders networking event that connects companies and social enterprises with VCs and incubators. 

Ready to secure your spot in the Startup Pavilion? Take a cue from Innovafeed’s Sean Madison: “There’s no better bang-for-your-buck conference option for startups trying to crack the food business.” You’ll need to act fast. Space is limited to 100 spots—and they’re selling out quickly.  

Learn more about the Startup Pavilion and secure your spot today! 

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