Interview with Joseph Zhou
1. Could you shortly explain how the Bits x Bites venture fund has been founded and which overall mission/goals it has?
Bits x Bites is China’s only venture capital fund focusing on food tech. We invest globally in early-stage food tech companies that are solving hard sustainability challenges in the Chinese food supply chain.
For all our investments, we look to add value for the companies’ China market entry. Depending on their stage and focus, we can be supporting the companies in the form of regulatory support for novel ingredients, navigating relationships with OEM or distribution partners, recruitment, all the way to market strategies and follow-on fundraising.
2. Which major topics are targeted and which startups are in the focus?
To date, our investments cover biosciences, data sciences, IOT, patented food processing and consumer foods.
We have invested in companies advancing nanoscale contaminant detection, gene editing for high-performing banana and coffee crops, as well as a cellular agriculture company advancing non-GMO meat production.
3. Where in the AgTech & Food space do you currently see the highest potential from a technological perspective and why?
Our attention goes to challenges that are most urgent in the Chinese food supply chain. For example, China has a growing demand for protein as the middle class explodes. For us that means looking at food security solutions including protein alternatives and other synthetic biology that unlocks more efficient and healthful ways to feed our growing population.
And with China’s waste import ban, it opens up a whole range of opportunities in sustainable packaging. And that’s why we came to this conference and connect with bioscientists working on bio-based alternatives and other post-plastic materials and business models.
We look forward to meeting more partners, including startups, corporates, and investors who are interested in the Chinese opportunity.
Joseph Zhou was a speaker in the EFIB 2019 session: “The future of food, feed and nutrition – How novel technologies revolutionise the sector” on 1 October 2019, and the session: “Financing the bioeconomy – How to navigate in the dynamic area of new funds, accelerators and incubators” on 2 October 2019.