Announcing the winners of the World Food Forum Startup Innovation Awards!

Join us as we celebrate the outstanding achievements of the 2023 World Food Forum Startup Innovation Awards winners!

🎉 Congratulations to category champions:


🧺 Better Production

CEO Buffy Okeke-Ojiudu pitched for Zebra CropBank, which is building Africa’s post-harvest services platform for farmers to store, manage and monetize their produce.

Photo: From left, Nicolas Autret, Beth Bechdol, Buffy Okeke-Ojiudu and Victoria Slivkoff


🥬 Better Nutrition

Sustainable Planet‘s green initiative is focused on growing water lentils (45% protein) scaled at industrial level, an opportunity for the African and middle eastern regions to secure food. Chief Operating Officer Susan Payne pitched Sustainable Planet.

Photo: Nicolas Autret and Susan Payne


🌏 Better Environment

Organicin Scientific is focused on minimizing the reliance on chemical antibiotics in farming, which is known to contribute to environmental pollution, antimicrobial resistance and disrupt biodiversity. Instead, they leverage bacteriocins, naturally occurring antimicrobial proteins, as a sustainable alternative. Mathew Mitchell, Co-founder and CTO, presented the pitch.

Photo: Marcelo Cabrol and Mathew Mitchell


💚 Better Life

Stellapps is a dairy-led deep-tech solutions company that helps significantly improve productivity, quality and traceability in the dairy value chain. This increases farmers’ profitability and reduces their carbon footprint. Stellapps leverages deep-tech such as IoT, Cloud and AI/ML while working with rural Indian farmers, livestock and milk. Umesh Prajapat, Business Head-Retail and Marketing, pitched for Stellapps.

Photo: Corinna Hawkes and Umesh Prajapat


The World Food Forum Innovation of the Year Award went to Zebra CropBank.


XTC’s Nancy Yuan hosted the final pitch round and awards presentation, which was held October 18 at FAO headquarters in Rome.

The Top 8 startup finalists pitched to a distinguished panel of judges, with a live audience and viewers from across the globe.


Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to our esteemed panel of judges:

Nicolas Autret – Partner, Walden Catalyst Ventures

Beth Bechdol – Deputy Director General, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Marcelo Cabrol – Chief Scalability, Knowledge & Impact, IDB Lab

Corinna Hawkes – Director, Division of Food Systems and Food Safety, FAO

Victoria Slivkoff – Executive Managing Director, Extreme Tech Challenge


Judges admittedly had a tough time choosing winners for this competition. “This was a very close one for us, as many of them were,” said Beth Bechdol as she was presenting Zebra CropBank with the Better Production award. Corinna Hawkes echoed the sentiment when presenting the Better Life award to Stellapps, saying, “You thought of everything! That really impressed us!”

Congratulations once again to all the winners as well our Top 8 finalists. As XTC Executive Managing Director said as she closed the event, “You’re all winners in your own right.”


Stay tuned for the full event recap!



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