Hatchery+ accelerator picks up a win

The Power of Winning Pitches

Sprout Kitchen, one of the start ups selected into the second round of the UTS incubator Hatchery+ were shortlisted to pitch at Rabobank’s Foodbytes! — a competition for innovative startups in the food and agribusiness sector — held during the Farm2Fork Summit on Sydney Harbour’s Cockatoo Island in November 2016.

With a business premise that revolves around a rental scheme for under utilised commercial café and restaurant kitchen spaces, Sprout Kitchen cofounders James Jordan and Caroline Lepron (both UTS Business School students) describe it as the ‘Airbnb for the food and beverage industry’.

With 45 kitchens already signed up and a partnership in place with take-away delivery company, Deliveroo, to access further kitchens, the startup also ensures all operators have food safety certificates and their details are registered.

During the pitch at Foodbytes! James pointed out that ‘Many small artisan cooks have been trying to break into the food industry but reach an impasse because the law does not allow them to sell food prepared at home. “If someone bakes the best muffins, or whatever their food dream is, Sprout Kitchen can help them realise it.”

Out of the ten teams pitching in front of a panel of seven experts in business and agriculture and a full auditorium nine were from the agriculture technology sector yet Sprout Kitchen picked up the prestigious Foodbytes Sydney Judge’s Choice Award which was presented by the King and Queen of the Netherlands.

The win included a six-month program with McCarthy mentoring and also importantly it “gives us validation,” said Jordan. The interest received from investors directly after the winning pitch directly lead to capital raising and meetings.

Sprout Kitchens also acknowledged how significant the UTS co-working space has been in their startup journey, “The Hatchery+ community and mentors have been really helpful for us. It can be pretty lonely being an entrepreneur, but knowing the other teams are there in the space is motivating. The mentors have given us a lot of good advice about scaling the business and leveraging its potential.”

With big plans for expansion and diversification Sprout Kitchen have only just begun, as Caroline indicates, “There are just so many possibilities …”

Photo by Rosary Coloma.
Adapted from an article by Frances Morgan. Last updated November 5, 2016