Startup Weekend Novi Sad #09 – Agrotech is approaching, so we talked with the Head of Business Development of the BioSense Institute, Grigoris Chatzikostas. For the first time BioSense is one of the Startup Weekend organizers, and who to talk about agrotech better than Grigoris.
In order to maintain the of the answers, we have published the interview in the language it was conducted. 🙂
Introduce Yourself, how log have You been in Serbia, brief resume. What do You love the most about Serbia?
Grigoris Chatzikostas: I am Grigoris Chatzikostas, I am Greek from Thessaloniki and I arrived in Serbia in the spring of 2013. All my previous life I have been working as a business developer mostly managing large scale projects in the agtech sector. What I love about Serbia is the passion of Serbian people and their eagerness to throw a party at all times!
What is Your opinion on the current state in agriculture in Serbia?
GC: It goes without saying that the agri food sector is among the big opportunities not only for generating income, exports and jobs but also for branding Serbia as a great place to visit. I have met amazing individuals that were able to export Serbian agrifood products to US, Europe and China and I strongly believe we need more of those.
How important is AgTech in the world and here in Serbia? What countries would You say are leaders in this field?
GC: Obviously I ma a bit biased because I work in the sector but to me going digital is the way to meet the challenge of feeding the growing world population in a sustainable way, providing that we will be able to properly combine technology with business. It is not a surprise that countries with sometimes limited natural resources but great entrepreneurial spirit and scientific achievements such as Israel and Netherlands are pioneers in agtech worldwide.
There are more and more fund which support innovations in AgTech. Is this proof that AgTech is the fastest growing sector in the world? Which fund would You say is the best?
GC: The best is always the fund that matches the needs of the founders. From pre-seed funds and incubators to more mature ones there are now a lot of specialized investment professionals who understand the sector and can drive it forward. At the international level I would say that I admire the work of AgFunder and Anterra Capital but also what The Kitchen FoodTechHub in Israel is doing is also amazing. At the local level, South Central Ventures are more and more active in agtech with two investments already placed in Serbia and Croatia.
In the world of entrepreneurs, innovations and startups, success stories spread like wildfire. Are there success stories from AgTech? In Serbia maybe?
GC: Absolutely! The team of Agremo, led by Milan Dobrota, Agrivi from Croatia, led by Matija Zulj and the Origin Trail guys from Slovenia are the local “unicorns” that we can all be proud of in the scene. Many others are almost there as well and very soon the list will be much longer!
To whom would You recommend to apply for the upcoming Startup Weekend Novi Sad #09 – Agrotech, and why?
GC: To anyone who dreams of doing something in the sector! To the determined but also to the curious ones.
What do You expect from this Startup Weekend, given the vertical?
GC: First of all to have fun! StartUp Weekend is a great experience for everyone! Also, I would be super happy if we meet some teams that are interested to participate in the ecosystem we are building in BioSense with our Accelerator activities.
The prize for the winning team is a place in the BioSense Accelerator. Can You tell us more about that. If there are more teams with great ideas, can they also hope to get a spot in the programme? How does BioSense and the Accelerator help Agtech?
GC: Indeed the winning team can have a place in our Acceleration program that is starting in October 2019. We are not only a program for startups but also a startup program ourselves, this is the first time that such a sector-focused program is delivered in the region and we look forward to support startups with international experts, mentors from the region and our own resources. We don’t give funding and we don’t take equity but we offer a three months hands-on tailor made program that will help ambitious and promising teams to move their ideas forward and get integrated in the agtech and food tech ecosystem! For more information please visit our web page.
We would like to thank Grigoris Chatzikostas for taking his time to talk to us and for bringing the industry closer to everyone. 🙂 For all of you who think they can make a difference in AgroTech use this form to apply for the upcoming edition of Startup Weekend Novi Sad scheduled for 27. of September in the Business Incubator Novi Sad.
Follow our website and on Facebook for more information about the event. See you soon! 🙂