The 2015/16 Thought For Food Challenge calls on the world's best and brightest university students to form teams and develop breakthrough projects that address the global challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050.
In return, we provide a platform for you to shine, cutting-edge learning tools and resources, world-class mentorship from rockstar experts, innovators and entrepreneurs, the chance to win a trip to the inspirational TFF Global Summit as well as significant funding for your project. You'll also join a growing global movement, comprised of friends and supporters who share your passion to make the world a better place.
How it works
1. Sign up
Sign-up by December 1st to participate in the TFF Challenge (At least one team member must be registered by this date.)
2. Form your team
Create a team of 3-5 university students and add them to your team page.
3. Work on Round 1
Take advantage of the many tools available to you to come up with a groundbreaking idea (such as the TFF Design Lab).
4. Submit your pitch!
The deadline to submit your pitch is January 10, 2016 at 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time
5. Ten Finalist Teams Announced
The Finalists will move on to Round 2 and will win a trip to the TFF Global Summit, get invited to join the TFF Bootcamp, and be in the running for the $10,000 Grand Prize.
6. Work on Round 2
Finalists will work through an online, business building crash course to hone their business model.
7. TFF Bootcamp
As a TFF Challenge Finalist, you are invited to join the TFF Bootcamp in March 2016 (1 week highly rewarding startup building experience).
8. Final Pitch
Pitch your idea on stage at the TFF Global Summit and compete for the $10,000 Grand Prize, $5,000 Runner Up Prize and $5,000 Kirchner Food Fellows Prize.
9. Enjoy lasting benefits
Remain involved with the TFF global community of movers and shakers and stay in the spotlight! (of course this applies whether you win or not).
Prizes every step of the way
One Grand Prize winning team will receive a $10,000 grant for their project
One finalist team will receive the $5,000 Kirchner Food Fellows Prize
One Runner Up team will receive a $5,000 grant for their project
All participating teams get access to the TFF Design Lab and professional mentors representing a variety of fields of expertise.
Travel + Bootcamp
The 10 Finalist teams will receive a trip to a fantastic destination, where they will take part in a custom program to acquire skills and tools that will propel their projects to the next level.
Finalists will represent their university at the TFF Summit and pitch their ideas to a top-caliber judging panel.
All teams become part of the amazing TFF community of friends and supporters. They also have the chance for their ideas to gain worldwide attention by being profiled in our TFF video productions and by other media.
How innovative is the solution, really?!
TFF commits to being at the cusp of new idea generation. You and your teammates will look to consolidate cutting-edge technologies and the latest resources to create a project that is fresh and exciting, in a way that has never been seen before.
Can the idea be implemented and scaled?
Food security solutions require short, medium, and long-term goals that shouldn't end when the competition is over. Your project should be implementable, with serious scalability potential on a global level.
Does the solution stand out from everything else out there?
You will be competing against some of the brightest minds. Your project should stand out among the wide array of proposals, providing game-changing solutions. It should embody a "wow" factor so that it gets noticed in a noisy world of innovation and startups.
Does your team demonstrate passion, curiosity and commitment to get it done?
Being an innovator is one of the most exciting and rewarding things one can do. However, it is also a long and demanding one. Your team needs to demonstrate that it is able to withstand these challenges and truly deliver a solution that will improve lives.
Round 1 Judges
Alex is the Co-Founder of the crowdfunding platform StartSomeGood.com which has supported the launch of over 300 social ventures and has raised over 1 million USD for social change projects. Alex has written on social innovation for The Guardian and US News and his travel adventures have been published in the Huffington Post, Lonely Planet and Shutterbug. A graduate of UCLA and Georgetown University, Alex is a California native currently living in Stockholm where he runs an incubator for leading social entrepreneurs, helping them scale their organizations and their impact.
Erin is founder and CEO of The Food Mint, a food and agriculture business consultancy that helps startups define and achieve their growth objectives. She is also the co-founder of Norm’s Farms, a superfruit startup dedicated to commercializing the American elderberry. She previously worked as an Associate with the Sustainable Local Food Investment Group, a Chicago-based angel investment firm, where she evaluated business plans and financial models for food and agriculture-focused startups. She was a 2014 Kirchner Food Fellow and 2015 Chicago Council Global Food Security Symposium Next Generation Delegate and has served as a judge, mentor, panelist, and speaker at food-focused conferences and startup competitions around the world. Erin holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management, and a BA from Reed College in Religion.
Gabriel Wilmoth is an investor with Syngenta Ventures, the venture capital arm of the global agribusiness Syngenta AG. Prior to joining Syngenta, Gabriel worked as a management consultant with Wilson Perumal & Company, and as a factory manager for Danaher Corporation, where he was responsible for a $100m revenue manufacturing division. He has deep ag expertise from first-hand experience with renowned sustainable ag organizations in the US, including Rodale Institute and Polyface Farms; from working with small holder farmers as an extension agent in the US Peace Corps; and from summers on his family’s sixth generation farm in West Virginia. Gabriel holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Biochemistry from Virginia Tech.
Christoph is a seasoned innovation program manager, open innovation expert and startup acceleration professional. As the Innovation Program Manager at London’s Pivotal Innovations, he is responsible for developing, selling, and managing open innovation programs for Global 1000 companies including ideathons, technology hackathons, and corporate accelerator labs. Previously, Christoph was based in the San Francisco Bay Area developing the interactive investment platform INISMO. Christoph has advised multiple companies on how to go to market successfully through his consulting firm LUZEO and has served as the Managing Director of an Austrian private family office focusing on late stage technology and industrial companies globally. Besides work, Christoph enjoys traveling with his family and hiking with his huskies.
Jessica Weddle is a Manager in Monitor Deloitte’s strategy practice, where she focuses on the intersection between the private and public sectors. She has experience working with healthcare and government clients in the US, Europe, and West Africa. In Africa, she helped governments engage with the private sector in agriculture development to identify investment opportunities in areas most likely to yield sustained improvement in food security. Jessica has a dual Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia’s School of International Public Affairs (SIPA) and Sciences Po, Paris and a BA from the University of California at Berkeley. Passionate about women’s issues at home and abroad, she leads Deloitte’s Women’s Network in New York.
Steve has over 20 years of venture capital, and fund management experience with particularly focus on the agriculture sector. Steve has worked with funds totaling in excess of $200M. Steve presented a market-based technology commercialization strategy for advanced fertilizer technologies in 2010 to a gathering of global agricultural experts assembled at the World Bank. One of the key findings of that presentation was the pressing need for investment groups purposed solely on the creation and promotion of entrepreneurial companies in agriculture. The Food Security Group and eventually Kirchner Agricultural Partners were outgrowths of that presentation. Today, Mr. Dauphin is focused on venture and growth stage investments related to agriculture, energy and water. Earlier in his career, Steve worked as a Special Agent with the DEA, and as an analyst with Citibank, before helping launch the Harbinger Group’s first two private equity funds, including an independent power fund. In 1998 he and his partners launched their first of several venture capital funds. Steve graduated from Harvard with B.A. in economics and religion, and from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an MBA.
Dr. Joseph King
Dr. Joseph King
Joseph is the Managing Fellow of the Conflict and Development Foundation and the general secretary of the Norman Borlaug Foundation, serving on the board of directors of each. He leads research and development efforts in conflict, rural development, and agricultural development policy. Priority regions include the Great Lakes Region of Africa, the Middle East, and West Africa, where Joseph provides expertise in policy formulation, project management, and agricultural development theory for advancing agricultural productivity, food security, and rural livelihoods. Joseph has worked around the world in places like Egypt, Yemen, Kuwait, and Tanzania. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University with a concentration in International Economics and an MBA from Texas A&M.
Sara is an internationally recognized science, technology, and innovation strategist. She currently serves as COO of GKI, a nonprofit that brokers partnerships between individuals and institutions to solve global challenges in science, technology and innovation. After co-authoring the World Bank's Science and Technology Strategy for Development with Chief Scientist, Robert Watson, she helped the institution design and launch its first Africa-based S&T project. She has been an advisor to the African Development Bank, and has been commissioned by national governments (Brazil, Canada, Slovenia, and the UK), and international development organizations, such as the Rockefeller Foundation. Sara graduated with honors from Stanford University’s School of Engineering, where she also earned a Masters degree in International Policy Studies. Sara founded Uganda Arts Outreach, Inc. and serves on the Board of Lesole’s Dance Project and the Global Alliance for Linkages in Science (GALS).
John leads the Planetary Sustainability Collaboratory at the NASA Ames Space Portal where he works on partnerships that bring new technologies to bear on sustainability challenges on Earth and in space. John is also the founder and CEO of SynBioBeta, an activity hub for synthetic biology startup companies, industry and investors. He received his PhD in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry from Brown University. He founded the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines competition) team at Brown University in 2005, was an iGEM ambassador to China in 2006/2007 and has been working in the field of synthetic biology and resource utilization in space at NASA Ames since 2008. In 2010, John was the recipient of a National Academies Keck Futures Initiative grant to hold a workshop on the role of synthetic biology in NASA’s missions.
Dr. Adam Little is a veterinarian and entrepreneur whose passion is to work on creative solutions to addressing human and animal health issues. He is a graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph and the Graduate Studies Program at Singularity University. Adam has founded multiple ventures at the nexus of technology and the human-animal bond. He now serves as Director of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships within LifeLearn where he looks at the fastest moving technologies and how they can be incorporated into animal health. His current project is a leading the development of Sofie, a decision support tool for veterinarians which is powered by IBM Watson.
Round 2 Judges
To be announced
Next Step: Create a Team Page
To create a team, hover over your username in the top navigation menu and click 'Create a Team'.
If someone on your team has already created your team page, check your email to see if you received an invitation from them to join the team page. If you have trouble with this part, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Next Step: Invite Team Members
To invite team members, please click the "Invite Members" button on your team banner.