WeWork Labs has teamed up with Thailand’s National Innovation Agency (NIA), the Thai Union Group, and Mahidol University’s science faculty to create the Space-F program. The aim is to build a sustainable ecosystem for foodtech startups in the country, said Thai media outlet The Thaiger.
The We Company–best known for its WeWork co-working spaces– provides space for startups to experiment, collaborate, and grow. Its startup incubator WeWork Labs provides them with training, mentorship, and financial resources needed to drive their businesses forward.
WeWork Labs currently supports early stage startups in 49 locations across 32 global cities. WeWork Food Labs was launched in March 2019 in the United States to offer dedicated space and support to entrepreneurs looking to solve problems and challenges in the food sector.
As the first foodtech startup incubator and accelerator in Thailand, Space-F will provide service and support to startups with two programs, an incubator track for early stage startups, and an accelerator track for growing startups.
Space-F will offer founders a non-equity model that lets them maintain full ownership of their ideas and products after the program ends. Founders will also have the opportunity to meet potential investors, including Thai Union Group and other venture capital or corporate VC firms.
The Space-F program will be located at Mahidol University’s faculty of science, where participants will have access to high-tech machinery and instrumentation for their research and development.
Space-F is accepting applications until July 31. To join the program, potential startups must fall within one of these areas: health and wellness, alternative proteins, smart manufacturing, packaging solutions, novel food and ingredients, biomaterials and chemicals, restaurant tech, food safety, and quality, and smart food services. The incubator track will last up to 15 months, while the accelerator track lasts from three to eight months.
Southeast Asia, and Singapore in particular, is taking a growing interest in food and agritech innovation. Singapore pledged to reduce its dependency on food imports from 90% to 30% by 2030 and wants to be a hub to connect global research to Southeast Asia.