Vitafoods Insights and Nutrition Capital Network (NCN)—both part of Informa’s Global Health & Nutrition Network—present this interview with Dr Rob Beudeker, senior investment manager at DSM Venturing. Dr Buedeker chatted with Grant Ferrier, CEO of NCN, about their upcoming Innovation Partnering Conference and why DSM is inviting pitches from food-tech and biotech entrepreneurs.
NCN: This is the fifth in your series of DSM Connecting Bright Innovations meetings. How does this align with your overall innovation strategy, and how do you balance internal and external innovation?
Rob Beudeker: As a science-based company, the ability to deliver innovative products and solutions is essential to DSM’s business success and positive societal impact. We cooperate extensively with external R&D institutions in specific, bilateral academic collaboration efforts, as well as in broader public-private partnerships. DSM also collaborates with many companies—large and small—in our industries in many forms. Through our DSM Venturing activities, we invest in early-to-late stage innovative companies in areas strategically relevant to DSM’s current and future businesses. The Connecting Bright Innovation events provide us with a valuable conduit to connect with some of the many initiatives that are taking place around our value chains and business ecosystems.
NCN: What relationships can you make with entrepreneurs or early-stage developers to advance both parties’ interests and accelerate growth?
RB: As an industry player and champion of open innovation, we differ from pure financial investors by also being able to make our know-how and networks available to start-ups and newly commercial companies where relevant. This can take many forms along the chain, ranging from sourcing raw materials, through formulation and upscaling, all the way to commercial and market contacts and relationships.
NCN: What are your focus areas for the meeting in the Netherlands in September?
RB: DSM’s Innovation Partnering Conference ‘Connecting Bright Innovations 2017’ is focused on new and innovative products and biotechnologies that enable better food for everyone. From a broad perspective, our mission is to support the development and efficient production of food that is healthier, more affordable, better tasting and with less waste, without compromising safety or quality.
Specifically, DSM is seeking entries for innovative technologies and products with both near-term (less than three years to commercialisation) and longer-term applications in: sugar reduction and natural alternative sweeteners; bio-preservation solutions for food and beverages; salt reduction and other natural taste modulation solutions; solutions to improve digestive health and bioavailability; food chain efficiency and food waste reduction solutions; fermentation and enzymatic technologies for new ingredients; and the role of proteins in healthier, better tasting, more sustainably food products and production systems.
Dr Rob Beudeker is Senior Investment Manager at DSM Venturing, where he is responsible for the investment in start-up companies active in nutrition. Prior to this, he was VP Innovation for DSM’s Human Nutrition and Health activities. Rob is also Theme Director Nutrition and Health at TiFN (Top Institute Food and Nutrition).