Pivot East launched by GROW and Farm491 to bring UK and EU agrifood startups to Asia-Pacific market

GROW, Southeast Asia’s first dedicated agrifood tech accelerator, and Farm491, the agritech incubator and innovation space located at the UK’s Royal Agricultural University, are unveiling a new program to help UK and EU agrifood tech startups expand into the Asia-Pacific region through Singapore.

Named Pivot East, the program is a world first. It’s designed to help UK and EU entrepreneurs focused on the future of food and farming to rapidly validate their companies’ fit for the Asia-Pacific market. It will also provide them with a roadmap for setting up an overseas presence.

There has never been a more pressing time for businesses to rapidly adjust and move into alternative markets. Pivot East presents a unique opportunity for UK and EU innovators to be guided through this process by industry experts, set up a presence in the region, and rapidly accelerate their growth.

Developed with early-stage and growth startups in mind, Pivot East will help entrepreneurs take an agile approach to developing, testing, and adapting their business models for maximum regional impact.

Starting at Farm491 in Cirencester, the capital of the Cotswolds, participating entrepreneurs will be encouraged to think big. Through workshops and one-to-one support, companies will delve deep into the intricacies of their business and create detailed roadmaps for the Asia-Pacific market.

Program participants will then head to GROW in Singapore, where they’ll validate their roadmaps through in-market customer discovery, networking with the local agrifood tech ecosystem, and pitching to GROW’s community of investors.

GROW is a key partner under Enterprise Singapore’s Startup SG Accelerator initiative. Enterprise Singapore is the government agency championing enterprise development, including growing Singapore as a startup hub. It works with accelerators such as GROW to assist promising agrifood tech startups, contributing to the vibrancy of Singapore’s agrifood ecosystem.

A stone’s throw from the world’s two largest consumer markets, China and India, Singapore is a natural springboard for startups planning to expand into the region. It also sits in the heart of Southeast Asia, which saw investment in regional agrifood startups boom by 33% year-on-year to reach $423 million in 2019, according to AgFunder’s ASEAN 2020 Agrifoodtech Investing Report. Singapore is ranked first among countries in the region, having attracted US$177 million across 37 deals.

“GROW’s value proposition is about helping agrifood tech startups achieve global growth – both for international startups to capture the opportunity in Asia Pacific, and for regional startups to be successful on a global scale,” said Joshua Soo, Head of Innovation & Strategy, GROW.

“We are nurturing partnerships like this one with Farm491 to build corridors that will connect startups to key agrifood tech hubs across the world. Our vision is to facilitate the international flow of startup activity and investment, support stellar founders globally, and catalyze novel technology that will shape a more sustainable food system.”

For entrepreneurs championing sustainable food and farming, Asia has to be a target. It’s the fastest growing market and will soon account for 60% of global consumption. A particular focus of Pivot East is to commercialize European innovation in food and agriculture technology and catapult it into the global arena, allowing Asia-Pacific consumers to benefit from world-leading research.

“There are fantastic innovations happening in the UK and EU around the future of farming and food, but to be scalable they need to find new markets that work for them,” said Luke Halsey, Head and Program Manager, Farm491.

“With Pivot East, we are excited to partner with a like-minded accelerator in GROW to really help companies rethink traditional growth strategy and find unconventional routes to scale, while making a meaningful impact on eliminating food insecurity, protecting biodiversity, and improving human health.”

If you’re an agrifood tech entrepreneur in the UK or the EU and you’d like to join Pivot East, visit


Now accepting applications for a program due to commence in Q1 2021. If you would like any further information please email F​arm491@rau.ac.uk

Media contact:

Joshua Soo
Head of Innovation & Strategy, GROW joshua@gogrow.co

About GROW:

GROW is a global accelerator focusing on sustainable foodtech and agtech startups. We are a first in Southeast Asia, supported by Enterprise Singapore and backed by AgFunder – one of the world’s most active agrifood tech venture investors. We accelerate and invest in extraordinary founders developing transformative technologies for positive impact across the Asia-Pacific food system.

www.gogrow.co​ | ​www.agfunder.com

About Farm491:

Farm491 is a leading UK-based technology incubator and innovation space focused on the future of farming and food systems. Located at the Royal Agricultural University, Farm491 supports entrepreneurs as they advance their business to maximize their impact in the agricultural sector, focused around environmental sustainability, farmer empowerment, and food system resilience.