Meeting the team for Grey Silo Ventures’ 2nd anniversary: Christian Pichler

Meeting the team for Grey Silo Ventures’ 2nd anniversary: Christian Pichler

Two years into the journey of Grey Silo Ventures, we continue delving into the advancements in the FoodTech arena, navigating the challenges posed by developing pioneering novel functional ingredients and innovation at large.

For this fourth interview with the members of our Advisory Board, we sat down with Christian Pichler, Chairman and Managing Director of GERBER-RAUTH Srl, to delve into his vision for cultivating a genuinely sustainable agrifood sector and we sought his insights on the most promising technologies in ag-tech and functional ingredients.

  • How does Grey Silo Ventures differentiate its investment strategy within the food-tech and ag-tech sectors compared to traditional venture capital firms, considering the unique challenges and opportunities these industries present?

Grey Silo Ventures (GSV) distinguishes itself within the food-tech and ag-tech sectors by leveraging the extensive resources and expertise of its parent company, Cereal Docks Group, which boasts a 40-year legacy. This integration enables start-ups to expedite their launch and scale-up processes by tapping into Cereal Docks’ assets, market insights, and operational know-how. With a direct line to industry challenges and opportunities, GSV benefits from accessible communication channels and extensive visibility across the entire oil seed value chain and wider industry. Moreover, the infrastructure within Cereal Docks Group facilitates product testing and fosters a robust feedback loop, enhancing the start-ups’ value propositions. Notably, GSV has cultivated a team with deep scientific and practical industry experience, allowing for a thorough evaluation of technological aspects with a focus on scalability in real-world industrial settings and volumes.

  • Could you discuss a recent successful investment or partnership within the food-tech and ag-tech sectors that Grey Silo Ventures has been involved in, and what factors contributed to its success?

A recent successful partnership exemplifying GSV’s approach is its involvement with XFarms. By leveraging Cereal Docks’ network of suppliers, XFarms successfully tested its software and value proposition, leading to an investment from GSV. XFarms not only gained access to capital but also tapped into GSV’s industry know-how and reputation, culminating in a strategic partnership that extends beyond mere economic returns. Such collaborations underscore the symbiotic relationship between start-ups and established players, paving the way for mutual growth and innovation.

  • What are in your opinion some of the most promising technologies within ag-tech and functional ingredients that could make the biggest impact on the current food systems?

In the realm of ag-tech and functional ingredients, a multitude of promising technologies stand poised to revolutionise food systems. Chief among these are strategies geared toward optimising resource utilisation and mitigating methane emissions, both critical for sustainable innovation. Embracing greener, more circular practices is paramount to fortifying our food systems against accelerating climate change and overexploitation. Additionally, the advent of novel food technologies presents a compelling avenue for enhancing sustainability, as they often demand less land, water, and energy compared to traditional methods. However, the efficacy of these innovations hinges on their ability to deliver requisite nutrition, underscoring the paramount importance of health in the equation. Complementing these advancements are sophisticated plant-based technologies, adept at refining extraction processes to isolate nutritional components. Their scalability and consumer acceptance offer distinct advantages over nascent novel food tech. By synergising these diverse approaches, we can forge a resilient and sustainable food system.

  • What are the fundamentals pillars and characteristics that an early-stage company in agri-food tech should mandatorily have in 2024 in order to secure funding and keep growing?

For early-stage companies in the agri-food tech space to secure funding and sustain growth in 2024, certain fundamental pillars and characteristics are imperative. These include a robust proof of concept, a clearly defined strategy, and a commitment to capital and resource efficiency. Moreover, assembling a seasoned team with industry experience, complemented by strong internal governance and a culture of continuous learning and improvement, is essential. Embracing humility, long-term vision, and a willingness to collaborate are also key traits that resonate with investors seeking enduring partnerships rather than short-term gains. Furthermore, it’s crucial for these companies to think beyond shareholders and consider the broader impact on the community and environment in which they operate. By embodying these qualities, early-stage ventures can navigate the complexities of the food tech landscape and chart a course towards sustainable success.

About us

Grey Silo Ventures is the Corporate VC arm of Cereal Docks Group. With an international focus, we invest in innovative foodtech startups that want to be part of the food technology revolution.