Wageningen University & Research and impact investor Pymwymic are to collaborate in the domain of sustainable food systems. The partnership aims to support innovative ideas and technologies. The parties will not enter into an overarching partnership but focus on a new fund for which Pymwymic is currently raising capital.
Throughout the world, there is a visible shift in agricultural production, the way our food is processed and transported and in our diets. This is the result of climate change, sustainability, living and working conditions for farmers and other businesses involved in our food system, and the desire to provide sufficient food for all. Moreover, there is an increasing focus on healthy food.
In addition to farmers, small businesses and corporates, governments, consumers and researchers, start-ups are highly relevant in this transition. They face the challenge of implementing novel solutions in a complex sector. This is why an investment fund is needed with a long-term perspective that understands the challenges these start-ups face and supports them in their development.
However, merely providing money is not a solution. Thus, the expertise of Wageningen University & Research scientists is indispensable. They know, like no others, what innovations in a particular domain may influence a possible gamechanger in another domain. This interdisciplinary approach is one of the reasons Wageningen scientists are highly acclaimed in the international world of research.
Sustainable food systems
Ivo Demmers is programme manager at WUR. He supervises an interdisciplinary team of researchers involved in studying how we may transform our current food system into a more sustainable alternative. Demmers feels that investors such as Pymwymic are instrumental in helping start-ups reach their next development stage. ‘My role within WUR is to build partnerships and to bridge the gap between the experts and scientists that work with us and the outside world.
By getting Pymwymic on board, we are able to add a new perspective -that of the impact investor- to the organisations we already collaborate with, such as corporates, development banks and international research institutes. All these parties are valuable. The way Pymwymic operates is complementary to WUR. Pymwymic is pioneering in this respect, so we knew it would be an excellent party with which to collaborate.’
Shaping the collaboration
As part of the collaboration, WUR experts will join the Pymwymic Investment Committee and Impact Committee. Moreover, Pymwymic collaborates with StartLife, the national accelerator co-founded by WUR in 2010. StartLife also holds responsibility for the annual F&A Next event, where start-ups, investors, and corporates meet and learn from each other.