Dubai meet spotlights startups leading in protein innovation

Startups from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan took center stage

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Pitch2Fork 2024 Winner, Hello Tempayy with the judges and USSEC’s Janna Fritz, Vice Chair and Kevin Roepke, Regional Director - South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa (SAASSA)

Right to Protein powered by the US Soybean Export Council (USSEC) hosted its second Pitch2Fork program in Dubai, UAE. With a focus on innovations in the protein industry, this platform provided a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs across Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan to pitch their rising businesses to a panel of investors. Shortlisted companies that leveraged this unique opportunity included Gladful, Hello Tempayy, Poulta, and WeGro.

While South Asia ranks as the fastest-growing region in the world, it is challenged with meeting the rapidly growing demand for protein. Reflecting on the potential impact of Pitch2Fork, Kevin Roepke, regional director of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa (SAASSA), USSEC, commented, “Pitch2Fork is strategically positioned to facilitate the networking needed between startups and investors, accelerating innovation. By embracing disruption, proactively investing in the future, and addressing protein challenges, we create a path towards a more nutrition-secure tomorrow.”

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WeGro, a nominee from Bangladesh pitching their startup

Hello Tempayy, an innovative Indian start-up reshaping tempeh production was awarded the Pitch2Fork 2024 trophy for ‘Protein Start-up of the Year.’ With their user-friendly and flavorful offerings, Hello Tempayy is expanding the array of soy-based protein options available to consumers in India. On seeing the value of winning the title, Hello Tempayy’s Cofounder and Nutritionist, Malavika Siddharth, from India added, “As a nutritionist, I witness the effects of protein deficiencies on an individual’s health on a regular basis. That’s why we founded Hello Tempayy – to bridge this gap. Platforms like Pitch2fork present an invaluable opportunity to amplify our mission to raise awareness and offer nutritious and delicious high-quality protein options.

Providing insight on their experience as a nominee in Pitch2Fork from Pakistan’s poultry segment, Khushbakht Ashraf, GM of Global Sales and Marketing, at Poulta added “Presenting Poulta’s innovative solutions for traceability, vertical integration, and data-driven decision-making in front of such a great audience was an immensely valuable experience. We are committed to farm-to-fork traceability while maximizing the production of protein and this perfectly resonates with USSEC and its mission. It has been a pleasure to network and connect and discuss future collaborations and partnerships for increasing awareness of protein.”

Md Mahmudur Rahman, founder of WeGro, another nominee from Bangladesh’s Agri-tech sector added, “At WeGro, we empower farmers by providing access to finance, inputs, and markets. We acknowledge Pitch2Fork as an excellent platform that celebrates innovative solutions addressing the protein gap for a more sustainable future.”

Attendees were inspired by the triumph of Agroshift, an agritech startup from Bangladesh and the Winner of Pitch2Fork 2022. Agroshift operates as an omnichannel agri-supply chain platform that helps farmers sell their goods to businesses and consumers enabling fair pricing and better market access with increased affordability, quality, and convenience to buyers through its micro-fulfillment distribution network.

Pitch2Fork’s speaker lineup included Janna Fritz, vice chair, USSEC; Henry Gordon-Smith, founder and CEO at Agritecture; Roma Roy Choudhury, founder & COO at Evolved Foods; Deeba Giannoulis, regional head of US Soy Sustainability and Marketing at USSEC-SAASSA; and Roberto Vitón, founder and managing director from Valoral Advisors.

US Soy has been at the forefront of innovation and sustainability, continuously improving to deliver solutions to its customers across the globe. With a commitment to nourishing the world sustainably, US soybean farmers support platforms like Pitch2Fork and deliver solutions like the Soy Value Oil Calculator, Specialty U.S. Soy Database, In-Pond Raceway Systems (IPRS), the International Aquaculture Feed Formulation Database (IAFDD) and the Soy Excellence Centers to name a few.

Right To Protein is an awareness campaign powered by the US Soybean Export Council (USSEC) to educate people about the importance of adequate protein consumption for better nutrition, health, and well-being.

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