Japanese Entrepreneur turned Investor Taizo Son, Founder & Chairman, Mistletoe, has launched ‘Gastrotope’, an accelerator platform in association with India’s leading tech accelerator, GSF India and Indo-Japan business consultancy firm, Infobridge. For Mistletoe, the initiative aims to step up from its investment-only-model to help integrate the entire AgriFood startup ecosystem, enabling startups to face challenges at multiple layers.
Although, the official announcement of the launch was made today, Taizo had already announced his plans regarding the launch of the accelerator, during ‘Farm To Fork’ event in Bengaluru on September 13, 2017. The event was organised by digital media firm Inc42, in association with Japanese investment firm Mistletoe, in order to addressing the challenges AgriFood sector startups are facing.
Speaking on how India could become the centre of global Farm to Fork chain, Taizo, younger son of Masayoshi Son, Chairman, Softbank stated, “While India has immense talent pool of engineers and rich food culture, Japan is also a country with deep agriculture technologies and food culture as well. Our aim is to work as a catalyst for this new movement of ‘Farm To Fork’ permaculture.”
Gastrotope: “A Community-driven Approach” By GSF And Mistletoe
While GSF India has already invested in some 45 startups, Mistletoe is also present in India with investments made in multiple agritech and foodtech startups including Innerchef, Ninjacart and Kisan Network.
However, with the launch of Gastrotope, the approach is more towards strengthening the ecosystem by helping startups in every way. Speaking to Inc42, Taizo said, “We need to develop a supportive ecosystem to build a new age farm to fork economy. We will sow the seeds, trees will come out naturally.”
Talking about the complexity and challenges, the sector poses for investors and startups, Rajesh Sawhney, Founder & CEO, GSF India and Innerchef said, ‘Instead of designing the entire investment plan on paper, Gastrotope team would rather go, meet people, invest on their ideas, and mentor them to ensure their viability and success. So, it will take lots of time, patience and communities’ co-operation.”