is it fresh? - Fighting the World’s Food Waste
For those of you who haven’t heard of is it fresh before, the startup from Jülich in Germany is tackling the problem of food waste. Each of us produces an average of 180 kilograms of food waste each year. Around 30-40 percent of this amount is thrown away due to misconceptions that the food is spoiled just because its expiration date has passed. is it fresh’s printable nanoelectronics addresses this issue, preventing the disposal of fresh food in the future. The startup’s sensors measure the freshness of food in order to overcome reliance on a fixed expiry date. Is it fresh’s technology also informs consumers about the product’s origin, manufacturing date, contents and enables traceability all the way to the farm. Indeed, the “freshtags” are NFC-enabled and can be read out wirelessly!
Awarded Funding by the EU Horizon 2020’s SME Instrument Phase 2
is it fresh has been awarded funding by the EU’s SME Instrument Phase 2 for its sensor technology that enables users to monitor the freshness of products in real-time. Only innovations with high potential receive funding from the Horizon 2020 work program which is a project within the framework of the European Innovation Council pilot (EIC), an initiative that funds innovators in the EU. is it fresh impressed the judging panel and achieved one of the highest evaluation scores of all the applicants for funding. Although the chances of receiving funding were only at three percent, the team around co-founders Alexey Yakushenko and Jan Schnitker succeeded and will now be provided with funding over the period of 2018-2020.
Conquering the Asian Market
is it fresh’s success is not limited to Europe - it has also received praise and funding from further afield. The team was selected from thousands of international startups to join the K-Startup Grand Challenge 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. Additionally, is it fresh secured its first paid collaboration with a big Asian corporate. This collaboration already provides the startup with an early revenue stream, which is especially helpful given that their product is not yet fully ready for the market. We are sure, there is more to be heard from is it fresh’s international success soon!
The Accelerator and Beyond
According to the team’s Co-Founder, Alexey Yakushenko, is it fresh’s time in the Merck Accelerator has been a crucial step in getting them this far:“We received so much input when it came to the business side of the idea and learned a lot about the financial aspects of a startup. We were able to completely re-develop our business model, thanks to the feedback from the coaches and Accelerator team.” The team even got one of the coaches on board! Both during the program and since graduating, is it fresh has continued its connection to the Merck Accelerator. They have met lots of potential partners, clients, and investors through Merck’s vast network, says Yakushenko.
Looking to the future, it will take around two to three years until the freshtags are mass produced and visible on products in our everyday life. Currently, the team’s main aim is to prepare the product for launch on the market and ensure that it passes all tests involved in this process.
Joining the Merck Accelerator 2019
For us, there is great pleasure in supporting ideas like is it fresh’s. Through their time in the Accelerator, their innovative and eco-friendly business model was able to flourish and even became multinational. The Merck team at the Innovation Center is very proud to be part of this development. If you have a startup with a game-changing idea in the field of Life Science, Performance Materials, Healthcare or additional fields such as Bio-Sensing and Interfaces, Clean meat or Liquid Biopsy, we’d love to help you get your business up and going. Explore new possibilities with us and take the chance to access the Chinese Market extending your stay in our Innovation Hub in China. During the three-month program, your startup will receive up to €50,000 in funding, office and creation space at our headquarters in Darmstadt, and access to advice from a global network of over 50,000 Merck experts. We can’t wait to hear from you!