Challenge 2021

Witness the 4 finalists pitch their final proposal in hopes to win a chance to pilot with Lely!


March 3

Applications Open

May 15

Applications Close


Top 25 go through interview round

End of June

Top 5 chosen for Startup Program


Lely Startup Program

October 7

Finals Day

Why apply?

The Feed the Future Challenge is a great opportunity to grow your business! We ensure that all finalist startups gain new market insights, startup skills, and a larger network. The winning team will get the chance to run a pilot with Lely, so join us as we MOO-ve towards a more sustainable and circular farm.

Pilot with Lely

Win the chance to potentially run a pilot with us

Meet our team

Meet and greet sessions with our C-level team

Potential Investment

Sit down and discuss investment opportunities with Lely Network

International Pitch Event

A pitch event broadcast to our international network

Tailor-made Startup Program

A 4-week program to explore your potential collaboration with us

Leading European Accelerator Support

The program is designed by our partner Rockstart, a leading European VC-accelerator

Want to know all the details?

Find out what you can expect from the challenge in more detail in our special blog post.

Who are we looking for?

We’re eager to find innovative solutions with applications in the dairy industry, so if you think you have what it takes to shape the future of farming, then we’re excited to meet you! Your startup should be based in Europe or Israel and should already have proof of concept and traction in the market.

Farm Animal Welfare

Consumers’ increasing awareness of the dairy industry has led to greater accountability for animal welfare. We put cows’ health and happiness first and we are always looking for ways to improve our cows’ welfare. Solutions that involve bio-sensor technology or spectrometers that detect mastitis, for example, are of interest for us.

Pioneering Enhancements of Machinery

Dairy machines are a point of pride for us at Lely. However, we do not want to fall behind in improvements of our machinery, or the service we bring to our customers (the farmers). Therefore we are looking for new solutions that can improve either the machinery itself, or the way the machinery is transported and serviced. For example, this could be sustainable and smart packaging, such as films.

Sustainable and Efficient Production

After decades of globalizing our production, we are looking to make our production process more circular and sustainable, while still maintaining efficiency. We are looking for solutions that make use of clean energy for farming practices, use bio materials, or tackle pasture management, feed conversion, and land management.

Improved Information Access

Data is at the core of how we innovate, meaning that data collection and the translation of this information is a high priority. It is not only important to us to collect data for internal purposes, but also to be transparent towards our consumers. Solutions that create transparency in the supply chain, animal treatment, or production processes are therefore all very welcome to apply.

Join us for the Feed the Future Challenge Finals!

Witness the 4 finalists pitch their final proposal in hopes to win a chance to pilot with Lely!


We are here to support you!

Meet Zara - our Feed the Future program manager

She is here to help you with any requests on questions you may have about the current Feed the Future Challenge, or any upcoming collaborations and activities.

"Hi all! My name is Zara, I am in the lead from the Rockstart Partnership - a leading VC-Accelerator, and I am the main contact for all the startup and external innovation contacts for the Feed the Future program. So very happy to help you with any inquires you may have! Please contact me via email at"


You can get in contact through the contact form.
Feed the Future is about feeding the world with new technologies. It stands for feeding fresh ideas into tomorrow’s dairy farming industry, and providing access to the sector. We want to feed the future of startups with potential investment and collaboration. The winning startup has the opportunity to co-innovate with us and to turn their technology into tomorrow’s dairy farming solutions. The process of turning an idea into a real product is also referred to as Front-End Engineering Design (FEED). We need new solutions to be able to feed the world in 2050!
You need to be a startup that already has proof of concept and traction. However, your concept can also be pre-revenue. You do not need to be based in the Netherlands, but you should be based in either Europe or Israel. Your startup should be ready to plan a pilot with us. As for the areas of interest, this challenge focuses on four key areas: Animal Health and Hygiene, Smart Improvement of Machinery, Sustainable and Efficient Production, Improved Information Transfer. Your startup doesn’t necessarily have to cater exclusively to dairy farming, but your tech should have an application within this industry.
Shortly after you apply, you will receive a confirmation email from Rockstart. We will let you know by mid-June whether you have made it to the interview round. After the interview round, we will select and invite the top 5 to participate in the startup program. The top 5 will be informed by the end of June.
Due to covid our startup program will take place online. The format for the Finals Day is still to be determined and is dependent on what government regulations will allow. We will keep you up to date as we become aware of the possibilities.
We are working with the locations and taking the advice of RIVM about COVID-19 restrictions. We will of course stay up to date with the regulations and may host the event fully online if needed.
There are no costs involved in participating.
The startup program is a tailor-made 4 week program. The purpose of this program is for you to gain a better understanding of how to best collaborate with us. The program will also prepare you to pitch. We will begin with a needs assessment to understand where you need the most support, which we will follow up with a series of expert sessions, training on how to work with corporates, proposition pitch training, and meet and greets with our C-level executives.

Let's connect!