Will your startup revolutionise the dairy industry?

Forge new paths with Lely and feed your tech ideas to tomorrow's dairy farming industry.


Feed the Future by Lely is looking for the next generation tech pioneers who have what it takes to shape the future of dairy farming together with one of the world’s leading businesses in agriculture. Lely’s inventions have substantially changed traditions in agriculture across the globe. Now Lely is looking for startups to discover new solutions that will innovate and address the needs of farming today and in the future!

By providing new tech solutions, still unknown to the dairy industry, your idea can revolutionise the farming process of thousands of dairy farmers worldwide. This is what we call cross-industry innovation. Could your technology be applied to dairy farming? Let’s find out now and sign up for Feed the Future by Lely.


We are looking for entrepreneurs who think outside the box and are up to the challenge to apply their tech to the dairy farming process. Lely is interested to collaborate with startups that are using promising, new technologies to make a positive impact. Startups need to have proof of concept or an MVP. The challenge is open to entrepreneurs worldwide with a market focus preferably on Europe or North America.


The global challenges of population growth and climate change demand innovative solutions to feed the future. Not only by increasing food supply but also by providing innovations that will allow the dairy farming industry to become more sustainable and time-efficient, and improve the quality of life of men and animal on this planet. Let’s build a future that is profitable and enjoyable at the same time.


August 27

Applications Open

October 6

Applications Close

October 30

Top 10 Selected

November 20 & 21

The Finals

Our Offer

Ten startups will be invited for the Finals on 20 and 21 November 2019 at the Lely Campus, in the Netherlands. The winner will receive a unique chance to collaborate with one of the most innovative companies in the world.

Exclusive Exposure

You will get exposure in the network of one of world’s leading businesses in agriculture. As the ‘farming innovator’, Lely provides solutions for customers in 40 countries across the world.

Potential Investment

You will have a chance to pitch for investment from Lely. The winner will proceed discussions with Lely to onboard the company as an investor.

Prize Money

In addition to the opportunity for investment, the winner will receive a reward of €15.000.

Travel Grant

Travel and accommodation grants will be provided to support your participation in the Finals, the two-day event at the Lely Campus in the Netherlands.

Market Entry

The winner will be given the opportunity to grow by leveraging Lely’s extensive network, especially when your offering is in line with Lely’s range of products or components.

After Care

After the challenge the winner will receive coaching by Lely and Rockstart to identify key challenges and connect with relevant business contacts, investors and mentors.

Feed the Future

is supported by

Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. We have more than 2000 brands ranging from global icons to local favourites, and are present in 190 countries worldwide.
The Huelsenberg Group is a globally acting, diversified group of companies, organized into four business units, which concentrate on agribusiness (UNION AGRICOLE), biotechnology (BIOTIC SCIENCE), renewable energies (ENBYCON) and industrial combustion technology, emission and ambient control and data management, and tunnel safety (DURAG).
Nutreco is a global leader in animal nutrition and aquafeed.
VAS is a technology company transforming dairy operations with connected technology, business intelligence and analytics.

Solution Themes

Feed the Future is specifically looking for innovative solutions with breakthrough technology that have the potential to significantly contribute to one or more of the following solution areas:


In an ideal world a machine never requires maintenance. Reality is that they do need service. How can your solution contribute to predict service demand and make maintenance as easy as possible?

Sustainable Production

Think of a future with a significant reduced GHG footprint, limited use of water and energy, improved feed efficiency and better longevity of the animals. How to increase sustainability at dairy farms?

Optimum Conditions

The more data we capture of the animals and their surroundings and well-being, the better we can optimize the husbandry conditions and increase animal health and welfare.

Improved Information

Unlocking information and connecting data sources throughout the value chain is essential to predict and limit risks, increase productivity, and achieve end-to-end transparency for various purposes.

Are you working on a tech solution
that could transform dairy farming?

Make sure to apply now!


About Lely

The farming innovators

Innovation is part of Lely's DNA since its foundation in 1948. The family business started as a ‘studio for invention’ and became a global pioneer and leading supplier of robotics and farm management data for the dairy farm. Lely invented the milking robot, which is recognized as the most important invention of the 20th century for dairy farmers. With its unique distribution network, Lely gives access to at least 70% of the professional dairy farmers around the globe providing them with all types of robots for feeding, milking and maintenance of stables.

Active Patents
Robots Worldwide
Countries Served

With a focus on solving farming problems and asking questions such as “What does the next generation of farmers need?”, Lely became the leader in robotics and farm management we know today. Their inventions substantially changed traditions in agriculture across the globe. When introducing a product to the market that represents a breakthrough for farming, Lely calls this a ‘Yellow Revolution’. This Yellow Revolution concept started in 2005. Since then, ten Yellow Revolutions have launched.

Lely has joined forces with numerous organisations worldwide to make life in the agricultural sector easier and work towards a sustainable, profitable and enjoyable future. Now they are looking for startups to discover new solutions that will revolutionise, innovate and address the needs of farming today and in the future!


Feed the Future is about feeding the world with new technologies. It stands for feeding fresh startup ideas into tomorrow’s dairy farming industry, and providing startups with access to the sector. We want to feed the future of startups with potential investment and collaboration with Lely. The winning startup has the opportunity to co-innovate with Lely to turn their technology into tomorrow’s dairy farming solutions. This process of turning an idea into a real product is also referred to as Front-End Engineering Design (FEED). And we need new solutions to be able to feed the world in 2050.
Lely and Rockstart will read through the applications and provide feedback as soon as possible. We will notify the selected teams within 4 weeks after the application closes on October 6. Selected teams will need to arrange travel and accommodation with support from Rockstart and the expenses will be covered by the travel grant of Lely. By applying to the program, we expect you to be available to travel to The Netherlands by November 19 and stay in The Netherlands until November 22.
Feed the Future wants to boost cross-industry innovation between the dairy farming industry and any other industry. Cross-industry innovation is the process of transferring and exchanging existing technologies beyond the borders of one industry, to creatively adapt and innovate together to serve new, previously unconnected business areas or whole new markets.
We are interested in any type of new technologies – software and hardware. For example, internet of things, robotics, predictive analytics or voice and image recognition. We are looking for technologies that could be applied to dairy farming. See the Solution Themes to get inspired. We challenge you to imagine how your technology could revolutionize the dairy industry.
No, there are no costs involved in participating. The travel and accommodation costs for the 10 selected startups to join the Finals in November will be covered up to 2 people per startup team. We will only expect your complete dedication and full-time commitment for the duration of the Finals.
No, the challenge is open to startups from all over the world. We have a preference for startups who have a solution with a market focus on Europe or North America, yet this is not a restriction.
Lely is interested to collaborate with startups that are using promising, new technologies to make a positive impact. The founders like to think outside the box and are excited to co-innovate with Lely. You need to have proof of concept of your solution or an MVP, and you can be located anywhere in the world.
In order for us to help you, we are looking for startups that have developed at least an MVP (minimum viable product).