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Sodexo Launches a Food Accelerator in India

Sodexo has launched the country’s first-ever food accelerator to help start-ups in the $14 billion food services ecosystem

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Focus will be on start-ups solving real-life problems

Onsite food management and facility service provider Sodexo has launched the country’s first-ever food accelerator to help start-ups in the $14 billion food services ecosystem.

However, these start-ups need not necessarily be food apps. They can be companies solving some real-life problems with or without the help of technology.

The accelerator will be operated in partnership with Zonestartups that will help in conducting bootcamps, connecting start-ups with companies and investors in the food ecosystem and formulating go-to market strategy.

Rishi Gour, Country President, Sodexo On-Site Services India, said: “The urban food market continues to offer tremendous growth potential for Sodexo India and is at an inflection point with rapid digitalisation, evolving consumers and the entry of new players. With start-ups offering innovative technologies and business models, we look forward to creating new services together and generating a differentiated experience for our consumers.”

He further told BusinessLine that while the accelerator will not be making any investments in the selected start-ups, it may use their services through partnerships, or in future, if there are synergies, it may also look at acquiring a few of them.

Investment through fund

In France, the company has picked up a majority stake in a food delivery company called FoodCheri that was a part of its food accelerator.

Similarly in China, Sodexo has partnered with a food AI company called Aeye-Go that reduces billing time by just scanning the food on a plate through its food recognition technology.

B2B companies

“Here in India, we are looking at certain B2B food companies. We are at present inviting applications, and by the end of January, we will select a few,” Gour said.

He added that if Sodexo identifies a start-up that has the potential to scale up globally, its €50 million venture fund might look at investing in them.

Sodexo, which is well-known in India for its flagship Sodexo meal vouchers, is globally known for its facility management services which include operating cafeterias and food canteens for corporates, manufacturing units and institutions. In India, the company is also trying to reach out to the consumers indirectly through its on-site services.

Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Managing Director of Zone Startups India, said that, “In the last few years, food-technology has been disrupting the start-up ecosystem. This has led to the emergence of several innovative consumer brands that need funds and hand-holding to scale up further.“

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The Hindu Buisiness Line, Priyanka Pani  Mumbai | Updated on December 11, 2018  Published on December 11, 2018