Q: What is the idea behind the launch of MISTA?
A: MISTA is designed to help companies develop new ways of thinking, leading to innovative solutions in the ever-changing Food and Beverage industries. MISTA can help companies to scale up, secure distribution, find partners and acquire funding.
Q: How did MISTA choose your founding partners?
A: The intent is to have 10 Founding Members to cover all segments in Consumer Package Goods as well as Food Service, Ingredients and Retail. All Founding Members need to have a strategy and desire to create the future of food by leveraging an open innovation approach. Danone, Mars and Ingredion see the opportunity to leverage the MISTA Innovation Platform to support their innovation strategies by connecting to an ecosystem to optimize ideas, products, people and investments.
Q: You describe MISTA as a new ‘innovation platform’. How does MISTA differ from other incubator or accelerator type initiatives which Givaudan already takes part in?
A: MISTA is taking a different approach to accelerating and incubating ideas by creating a platform where we not only support start-ups but also established companies in the food space. MISTA is, in essence, creating a new business model that is Innovation as a Service (IaaS) where we provide New Product Development (NPD), Innovation Strategy and other services that are required to bring new ideas, products and services to market that will create the future of food.
Q: How did MISTA choose the start-ups for your community?
A: The initial companies were selected based on their desire to leverage the MISTA ecosystem and the uniqueness they bring to the space. For example, MISTA start-ups include: a clean meat company (Wild Type), plant-based companies (Five Suns Foods and SunRhizeFoods),biotech companies (Geltor), technology companies (Thimus) and pet food (Shameless Pets).
Q: What is the difference between a start-up member and a strategic partner? What is the role of a strategic partner?
A: A strategic partner will play a significant role by guiding and influencing the global transformation of food that MISTA is creating through the services they offer. A start-up member will be actively involved in the MISTA community and will benefit from the diverse service offerings available, customized for their needs.
Q: Do you charge for Membership?
A: It is a Membership based model in that everyone pays to be part of the MISTA ecosystem. Everyone contributes to the support of the ecosystem which is based on reciprocity in that Members provide expertise, financial resources or innovation. Our goal is to make MISTA financially accessible to start-ups by subsidising some of the cost through the corporate founding member approach.
Q: What about intellectual property rights? If a company develops a product, ingredient or solution using MISTA’s facilities do they retain ownership of the intellectual property, or do they have to share it in some way with MISTA’s partners?
A: All members of MISTA retain their IP, completely. MISTA will ensure that any trade secrets remain confidential.
Q: Isn’t the idea behind MISTA that you and your partners are, in effect, outsourcing your R&D to small start-ups so you can then buy up their ideas and close them down as potential competitors?
A: Not at all. MISTA is providing solutions to start-ups and large companies alike to drive innovation in the food system. If acquisitions or mergers align as a result of the ecosystem, that will be due to synergies that make sense, and are good for the food system, at scale.