Hargol FoodTech , the Israeli company developing Steak TzarTzar – high-protein grasshoppers — emerged victorious among 30 finalists chosen to present their budding food technologies at the recent Agro Innovation Lab startup competition held in Vienna, Austria.

The competition attracted 160 applications from 49 countries.

Agro Innovation Lab, a new accelerator for startups and entrepreneurs, is a subsidiary of Austrian agriculture multinational corporation RWA.

As the winner, Hargol FoodTech will receive initial investment from RWA, which will become a shareholder and will join Israel’s Trendlines Group, an Israeli innovation commercialization company, as an investor. (Earlier this year, Bayer and Trendlines announced their $10 million, five-year Bayer Trendlines Ag Innovation Fund.)

Hargol FoodTech’s three founders — Dror Tamir, Ben Friedman and Chanan Aviv — will spend the next three months working closely with RWA personnel while scaling up their grasshopper growing capacity.

“During our acceleration and mentoring program, we will build strategic partnerships with subsidiaries at RWA group and complete a due diligence for further investment in Hargol FoodTech by RWA,” Tamir tells ISRAEL21c.

From right, Agro Innovation Lab CEO Reinhard Bauer, Hargol FoodTech CEO Dror Tamir and COO Ben Friedman standing with RWA managers after winning the award. Photo: courtesy
From right, Agro Innovation Lab CEO Reinhard Bauer, Hargol FoodTech CEO Dror Tamir and COO Ben Friedman standing with RWA managers after winning the award. Photo: courtesy

Full of whole protein, vitamins and healthful fatty acids, with no cholesterol or saturated fat, grasshoppers could be one answer to the chronic malnutrition affecting approximately 805 million people, according to the United Nations.

Hargol was a finalist in the 2015 Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum competition in Geneva, and was one of 24 food startups nominated for the second annual Food+City Food Challenge Prize awarded in Texas last February.