Tuesday 7th June marked the kickoff of the 2022 Summer Start-up Tour (‘SSUP)!
For the fourth consecutive year, the Hoffmann Institute is collaborating with the ‘SSUP! giving student teams the opportunity to explore the global startup ecosystem across industries and to walk-the-talk with their own impact projects.
To mark the start of the next round of SSUP! And to draw your interest we are sharing summary journeys of The Foodies and Tech Couture teams, who both began their entrepreneurial journey with ‘SSUP! in 2021. Read on until the end where we unveil the new ‘SSUP! teams supported by the Hoffmann Institute.
PART 1: The Foodies Team: The Meat of the Story
By Juan Camilo Amarillo and Muf Goulamhoussen
‘The Foodies’ team comprising of Muf Goulamhoussen and Juan Camilo had both decided to stop searching for summer internship opportunities when they stumbled across an interesting article on Aleph Farms, an exciting Israeli start-up that had recently created the world’s first 3D printed cultured ribeye steak. They decided to enter the Summer Start-Up Tour (‘SSUP!) focusing on whether there was a viable diversification or agency/franchise opportunity to bring this new method of Food-Tech to other countries. They not only wanted to learn and enhance their own knowledge but to undertake research that would be of value to other stakeholders and our peers.
As their tour took shape, they decided they wanted to build a global picture of the FoodTech industry and understand how the start-up ecosystem in various geographies truly influenced the development and success of these companies. They broke down the FoodTech sector and the areas to focus on and to learn more about. Both were aligned in their fascination with Cultured Meats and so their research was driven by examining Alternative Proteins, as they were the current disruptor of the sector and money magnet of VC funding. They also decided to study Vertical Farming as it was a hot topic in the UAE and Singapore, accelerated by the food security concerns generated by COVID-19.
The global hotspots and development incubators for Food-Tech, included The Netherlands, USA, Israel, and Singapore. These destinations would also allow them to formulate a relatively broad overview, given the the team covered companies in 3 continents / 4 distinct regions in Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Asia.
Thanks to ‘SSUP! and with the support of the INSEAD, the Hoffmann Global Institute for Business & Society, and additional external tour sponsors Capagro, a fascinating global tour unveiled some incredible insights into the start-up ecosystems in multiple countries. Team Foodies eventually successfully visited and held meetings with Founders and C-suite executives of start-ups, accelerators, and VCs physically in 9 different locations, including 5 countries physically France, Netherlands, USA, UAE, Singapore. And virtually conducted interviews in 4 countries: UK; Israel; Germany; Switzerland.
The team discovered that FoodTech development and the ecosystems in place to support these start-ups drastically varied and the SUUP! Tour allowed them the opportunity to not only conduct first hand research but also develop personally. Muf Goulamhoussen, from The Foodies said:
“The SSUP was an enlightening and thoroughly enjoyable experience. It was a great way to blend and accomplish multiple goals, and ultimately be an incredible learning journey. On a personal level, it allowed me to travel across the world, explore new cities, strengthen relationships with my peers, build an external network, learn about a disruptive industry, and gain insights into fund-raising and the VC sector I would highly recommend the SSUP as an alternative to internships, and I challenge the future teams to raise the stakes and use our tour as only a benchmark for what is possible!”
PART 2: Tech Couture: Stitching a Summer of Sustainability
By Aya Murr, Apeksha Gupta and Inna Kostyuk
Tech Couture was a 2021 Summer StartUp Tour team comprising of three INSEAD MBA Students: Aya Murr, Apeksha Gupta and Inna Kostyuk.
Fast fashion been leading the fashion industry in the last two decades in spite of its waste, opaque supply chains, and exploitation of both human rights and environmental laws. However, the industry is now witnessing the growth of sustainable fashion and conscious consumers, who vote with their wallets for brands and retailers that share their values and promote greater ecological integrity, inclusion, and social justice. Tech Couture wanted to answer the question: where is the fashion industry headed and who are the key players pioneering these changes? The team decided to meet with innovative and game changing fashion companies that put sustainability at their core.
Tech Couture saw that new technologies are disrupting traditional retail and creating new business models for all players in the industry. Looking at the innovations in the value chain of fashion, Tech Couture could see new technologies emerging and being implemented from the beginning of the value chain, from garment design, material production and sourcing, through to garments production, sales and distribution and even until their resale and end-of-life.
The team identified ‘returns’ as one of the key pain points for online fashion retailers. Returns can greatly impact profitability, and one of the primary reasons customers returned apparel bought online is due to incorrect sizing or mismatched style. Tech Couture team noticed that the ‘fitting problem’ was a common one to be tackled by the FashionTech start-ups. One such approach was incorporating AI software into sales developing software which can predict customers’ sizes based on the customers’ height and weight.
The team also spoke with FashionTech start-ups that enable companies to do rentals and resale via their own online shops. According to an Online Clothing Rental Market report, the online clothing rental market size is estimated to reach $1,856 million by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 10.6% from 2017 to 2023. The second-hand market is projected to double in the next five years, reaching $77 billion in 2025, according to Thread-up. The paradigm is shifting in the fashion industry. With the rise of the rental and resale marketplaces and more consumers enjoying sustainable fashion, many brands and retailers realise they do not want to be solely observers and instead want to participate.
All in all, the team met with over 24 start-ups and experts with exciting solutions that address all challenges of the fashion industry, including its environmental footprint, supply chain inefficiencies and lack of customer centricity. The conclusion was clear: the industry is increasingly moving towards sustainability, inclusiveness and digitalization. The customer knowledge world is also changing and is mostly being powered by innovative start-ups that are combining for the first time in this industry, business, and positive impact.
PART 3: LOOKING AHEAD SSUP! 22
We are excited to announce the two teams we are supporting this year: the ‘Eternal Students’ and ‘No Students Left Behind’ teams.
• The “Eternal Students” Team, led by Liyun Wang, Shauna Yang, Tatiana Kondikova, and Ying Dai, aim to explore opportunities in EdTech to make training in languages and coding, as well as upskilling and coaching, more accessible to individuals. The team will draw lessons and insights from meetings with companies in Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Israel.
• Sarah Kreik, Pallavi Kaul and Sam Arif are members of the “No Student Left Behind” Team, whose mission is to identify opportunities on EdTech to reach and educate underserved youth worldwide – focusing on vulnerable communities such as children with migrant backgrounds, with little or no social network in European countries. They aim to meet startups located in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and France.
Both teams are working on the topic of EdTech, and we can’t wait to see their entrepreneurial journeys making educational technology avaliable to all!