Brave New Collab: Hocras x GRO

15 September 2022

  • |

Brave New Collab: Hocras x GRO

As a corporate business, it can be a challenge to keep innovating and stay ahead of the game. As a startup, it can be a challenge to access the market and receive funding. But magic can happen when the one meets the other, and they decide to join forces. This is where we proudly present to you, our Brave New Collabs.

After the last Open Call for sustainable food solutions, GRO was invited to Brave New Food’s matchmaking event and connected with some experienced players in the food industry, including Hocras – a wholesale company for food professionals. GRO is a circular and sustainable food venture. At the center of the deal is the oyster mushroom, grown in the nursery with coffee grounds. GRO’s vegan, vegetarian and blended products didn’t go unnoticed, as GRO and Hocras soon thereafter started to collaborate with one another.

Why you want to join an Open Call as a startup

GRO’s Commercial Director Wouter Muis: “For small, innovative companies it’s more difficult to get in touch with established businesses, so it’s great to have a matchmaking platform like Brave New Food. You can get in touch with each other and, together, you can solve problems of customers of the partners of Brave New Food.”

GRO collects the coffee grounds via wholesalers from restaurant chains, hotel chains and caterers. Wherever they collect coffee grounds, their products are also sold – accelerating the transition to a circular food system. “For GRO, it’s important to scale our business. We focus on the food service industry and these kinds of restaurants buy at wholesalers. It’s not always easy to get in touch with them directly. Therefore we prefer to collaborate with wholesalers.”

By having found their wholesaler, they are heading in the direction they are aiming for. Muis made clear they have many other goals for the future, the possibilities are endless: “We are also looking for other kinds of companies that can use our coffee grounds to make new products. Think about making coffee cups and clothes, for example. We use it for the mushrooms, but perhaps there are other companies that can use our coffee grounds for other purposes as well.”

The one thing to pay attention to

 Tony Pepping, Purchasing Manager at Hocras, shares his secret in what they are looking for in potential partnerships: “There is one main factor which we, as Hocras, are looking for in startups and that is the distinctive character of their products. The innovation has to add something to our business or to our client’s business. Something like durability, turnover margin or increasing costs.” When Hocras found out about GRO, a collaboration only seemed fitting. Pepping: “We started to deliver the goods of GRO and now we have more clients that will work with the products of GRO.”

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Are you ready to create your own Brave New Collab?

Together with leading food corporates, retailers, distributors and impact investors, Brave New Food is looking for innovative startups, scale-ups and SMEs with next-generation food solutions. 

Join one of our Challenges for your chance to access new markets, networks or funding opportunities.