We spoke to Josh Silverman, CEO at Aromyx about the challenges and successes behind their rapid growth, and their advice for aspiring food-tech innovators.
Can you tell us about your journey from an early-stage start-up to the success you have achieved today? What have been the key milestones?
In 2019 we won the Radicle Challenge at the World Agri-Tech Pitch Day and shortly thereafter announced our $3m seed round of financing. From there we moved from R&D to commercial application of our technology. We have since moved from a physical product to a data science company, and are focused on the industries that benefit from the value of data insights (like food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and many others). We just announced our Series A round of financing this month and will be scaling our automation, hiring and driving new customers and applications of our technology. We are excited for the next phase in our growth story and to meet the tremendous demand for the data insights we can provide to help companies shape their product roadmaps and make product recommendations to their customers and prospective customers.
What role do partnerships and collaboration play in your business strategy? Have you met anyone or can you share any success story that has been a result of taking part in a past Future Food-Tech summit?
Partnership and collaboration are an important part of our strategy and as such we have taken part in the Future Food-Tech Summit each year (including as a speaker last year).
What motivates you as an innovator to drive forward change within the food industry?
The R&D cycles in the food space are too long, often 18 months or more. Food and beverage companies need data faster and in more effective ways for product design.
COVID shone a spotlight on a lot of the existing issues to faster and more accurate innovations, from the limitations of food tasting panels (and the fact that unreliable, subjective data results that are not reproducible), to food and beverage companies and others looking for online recommendation engines to help hesitant consumers confidently buy something they can’t taste or smell before purchase. The need for companies to have reliable data and insights that they can use to make product innovation decisions is enormous and we work everyday to solve it. Our technology, with its ability to understand consumer preferences from a geographic to individual level, and map perception across products, uniquely positions us to make a dramatic impact on the speed at which sustainable and healthier food products reach the market. That motivates us everyday to expand our capacity and produce more data.
What advice would you give to aspiring food-tech innovators who, like you, are focused on accelerating change and transforming the future of food?
Understanding consumer preferences is paramount. A lot of people are trying to cut back or cut out meat from their diet and entirely new categories of food like alternative proteins are emerging. It is critical that as we innovate, we understand the emotional aspects of food and flavour. At the end of the day, consumers won’t buy things they don’t like the taste and smell of. We are helping our clients unlock the challenge of making things healthier while maintaining taste (like ensuring that plant-based alternatives taste like the real thing).
What’s next for Aromyx?
We just secured a $10 Million Series A round of financing that will be used to help us increase capacity and automation capabilities, generate more data, improve AI algorithms, and expand our lab and software teams to meet the explosion of demand for data generation and insights. Aromyx tested over 100 products for customers in 2020 and is on track to more than triple that number in 2021 as capacity ramps up.