This article is part of a blog series introducing the startup teams of the EIT Food Accelerator Network Helsinki 2023 programme.
Yeastime S.r.l. develops retrofitted ultrasound devices to help food producers in the field of cell culturing produce up to 30% more output in less time & in a more sustainable and cost-effective manner. Yeastime’s technology arises from a study in bioacoustics, a multidisciplinary discipline that integrates studies of physics and biology to study and understand evolution considering mechanical pressure as a stationary parameter.
To date, Yeastime S.r.l. holds the only technological innovation that can solve the problem of fixed duration of the fermentation process by introducing a solution that increases production rates. In this way, it is possible to drastically cut costs related to operations and supply chain that every company in the sector suffers from.
Yeastime’s multidisciplinary team and business model
Yeastime’s success can be attributed to the multidisciplinary nature of its team. The group comprises various professionals, including scientists, engineers, experts in corporate administration, economists, and communicators.
The scientific department consists of biotechnologists and protein production specialists who collaborate with university laboratories to further research the scientific principles behind the mechanical stimulation process.
The engineering department handles the hardware and software development of the device, working closely with the fluid dynamics laboratory at the University of Rome Tre for simulations and analysis.
The administrative, commercial, and communication department manages the company’s business, economic, and financial activities with the support of external consultants in the legal and commercial sectors.
Value Proposition Development and Market Strategies
Yeastime initially focused on the brewing industry as its target market. The goal is to assist craft breweries in achieving economies of scale and optimising the fermentation process.
Yeastime’s solution stands out from competitors as it accelerates the fermentation process without altering the genetics of microorganisms or the culture medium. This allows breweries to increase production without investing in extremely costly new machinery.
Yeastime has established commercial agreements with major craft beer producers in Italy and foresees significant revenues in 2023. The startup has also initiated an investment round to finance further development and expansion. In addition to the brewing industry, Yeastime is exploring other applications of its YT01 device, such as the current and future food industry and the production of biofuels from microalgae. The ability to efficiently and safely accelerate fermentation processes has significant potential across various sectors, enabling manufacturers to optimise their production and reduce processing times.
Regarding market strategy, Yeastime is adopting a gradual approach, focusing the initial commercialisation phases on the European market. By collaborating with successful craft breweries and large yoghurt producers, Yeastime can demonstrate its device’s effectiveness and gather customer feedback to improve the product further.
In the long term, Yeastime aims to expand internationally by entering new markets and establishing collaborations with beer brewers, winemakers, and other fermentation-related companies. The startup is also investing in continuous research and development to enhance the YT01 device and create new innovative solutions in the field of industrial fermentations.
Environmental Impact and Sustainability
In addition to economic benefits, Yeastime places great importance on environmental aspects and sustainability. By reducing fermentation times, the YT01 device saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions associated with fermentation processes. Furthermore, using mechanical waves to stimulate fermentation eliminates the need for chemical additives or external agents, contributing to a more natural and sustainable production process.
Yeastime is also committed to promoting environmental awareness among its customers and business partners, raising awareness about sustainable practices in the fermentation industry. The startup is considering implementing training and support programs for breweries and food companies interested in reducing their ecological footprint by adopting innovative technologies like YT01.
Yeastime’s journey with the EIT Food
Yeastime decided to apply to the EIT FAN programme for the first time to give continuity to our venture development roadmap already started with the EIT Seedbed program. EIT Seedbed was an intense 6-months program fully focused on the market discovery and problem-market fit. The market discovery training helped us step out of our comfort zone, segment the market, and have an indication of product pricing and impact.
The quality of EIT’s network and the overall knowledge transfer received by the programme’s mentors is what pushed us to apply for the EIT FAN program one year later.
EIT fosters a strong feeling of community & offers opportunities to work on pilots with corporates. This, together with the ability to build meaningful connections with other entrepreneurs in the same industry who face the same challenges as we do, is what we expect from the program.
The joint path with EIT so far
We have learned a lot about the various dimensions of building a startup, such as understanding the target market and the pain points and challenges that corporates face in the foodtech industry. We were put into direct contact with key players and received full support in trying out new directions for our business.
The EIT FAN programme is a complete 2-month deep-dive into everything that concerns technology validation. During the programme, we have been provided with the correct tools in order to redact a research validation programme which will help us build the basis to validate and scale the technological potential of our start up in different applications.
We have been followed by VTT, one of the most well-renowned research institutes, to develop a technological assessment on the use of our mechanical treatment technology on hetero-lactic fermentation. The purpose of this project, alongside VTT, will be setting up proprietary treatment characteristics on lactobacillus strains and ensuring overall bioprocess optimisation in terms of reduction in process duration and yield increase.
Thinking about joining the EIT Food community? Read this!
If you are looking for connections with relevant stakeholders in the industry, from startups to scale-ups to corporates, EIT Food is what you have to look into! It’s like being part of a European startup family.
In Yeastime, we have valued the connections made with other startups, which has helped us redefine our business model. EIT Food has also opened many doors and exposed us to a more international panorama.
Written by Ulisse Castellano, Business Analyst at Yeastime