AI factory for AgriFood is the third class of the Microsoft AI factory, after AI factory for green energy and AI factory for health. The start-ups will be jointly supported by Microsoft and Danone, one of the world leaders in the agri-food sector, and will benefit from a three-month acceleration period.
AI factory for AgriFood for sustainable food and regenerative agriculture
AI factory, Microsoft’s support program for start-ups specializing in Artificial Intelligence, is organized around five major economic and societal challenges – health, environment or energy, transportation, financial services, and agri-food. The aim of the AI factory for Agrifood is, on the one hand, to accelerate the digital transformation of each sector, and on the other hand, to support these young companies to continue their development in artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Real startups accelerator, this program aims at being a co-innovation laboratory that links start-ups, the world of research, and various players in each sector. Thanks to these synergies, the AI factory for Agrifood intends to encourage projects serving regenerative agriculture (soil health, animal welfare, support for farmers), sustainable food, waste minimization, and optimization of supply chains.
Personalized support for a full ecosystem
The AI factory for Agrifood start-ups will benefit from Danone’s ‘One Planet One Health’ vision, which links human health and the planet’s across its entire value chain. They will also benefit from access to real use cases under demanding real-life conditions of quality and performance. Microsoft will offer personalized support through its technological skills and the services of its Azure platform, as well as its sales network.
Inria, the national research institute in digital sciences, France Digitale, FaberNovel, EIT Food, and Seventure Partners, is also teaming up alongside Microsoft and Danone. The companies will intervene during the different stages of the program – AI start-ups sourcing, selection process, coaching, among others, to bring their respective expertise.
Agnès Van de Walle, director of the One Commercial Partner Entity at Microsoft France, says, “Our ambition is to help develop digital intelligence for healthy food and sustainable agriculture. This partnership with Danone will offer the selected applicants with in-depth expertise and personalized support, thus accelerating innovation throughout the agri-food sector.”
Cécile Cabanis, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Danone Cycles & Procurement, says, “At Danone, we believe that artificial intelligence can contribute to the food revolution by improving our agricultural systems and our food’s value chains. That’s why we are delighted to launch this program with our partners at Microsoft in a key area such as food and agriculture. It is essential to encourage collaborative initiatives, knowledge sharing and the emergence of new, more inclusive, and more sustainable solutions.”