The innovation program of the USA Pavilion at Milan EXPO 2015, curated by AtelierSlice with Microsoft – dubbed as the legacy of the World’s Fair in Milan.

Feeding the Accelerator has been the USA Pavilion’s innovation program at Milan EXPO 2015. It was curated by AtelierSlice with Microsoft, in collaboration with FedEx, PepsiCo, Illy and Copernico, on commission from Friends of the USA Pavilion. Following the features of the USA Pavilion, the innovation program was structured to be open and inclusive. It involved entrepreneurial teams from a broad international scene.

More than a traditional business accelerator, this was a group show exhibiting innovative directions as they were being developed, both feeding from and contributing to the rich context of EXPO 2015 — Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life.

Feeding the Accelerator was curated as an innovation model in itself, updating the World’s Fair’s to conditions of a digital era. Instead of exhibiting innovative manufactured objects, as World’s Fairs did initially in the 19th Century, or national narratives, as is mostly the case to day, Feeding the Accelerator focused on generating innovation in the making – and at the same time generate a discussion the possibilities of innovation in our time. Read more about the curatorial approach here.

Feeding the Accelerator selected entrepreneurial teams with unique ambitions to develop new possibilities in areas including farming, food distribution, nutrition, community building, and knowledge sharing to the experience and infrastructures of the partnering companies of the USA Pavilion and the Expo, to develop new business models.

By providing a separate mentorship program from leading industry professionals, as well as chefs, artists, designers and theorists to big corporate structures and start-ups alike, Feeding the Accelerator creates synergies between an entire ecosystem of disciplines around food.

When AtelierSlice produced USA Pavilion Innovation Summit was summarized by former Mayor of Milan, Mrs Letizia Moratti (who also took the initiative to bring the Expo to Milan) and Commissioner General of the USA Pavilion, Ambassador Douglas T Hickey, they clearly stated that Feeding the Accelerator was to be regarded as the legacy of the World’s Fair in Milan, Expo 2015.

The accelerator companies worked, connected, were mentored and presented at Milan Expo 2015 from July 8th until October 1st. The closing USA Pavilion Innovation Summit showcased the program’s activity during the Expo, launching new directions and initiatives to support and sustain innovation and entrepreneurship. In addition to Feeding the Accelerator’s mentors and entrepreneurs, panels featured keynote speaker Josette Lewis, Associate Director of World Food Center at UC Davis; William Perduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh; Ambassador Douglas T Hickey; Paul Matteuci, U.S. Venture Partners Feeding 10 Billion program; Letizia Moratti, former Mayor of Milan; Cedric Mateosyan, entrepreneur and VC; Mia Hägg, architect; Marius Robles of Reimagine Food; Michele Appendino of AME Ventures; Pennsylvania; Marco Gualtieri from Seeds&Chips; Mark Romano, VP of Sustainability at illycaffé; Fabio Santini, Microsoft Developer Experience and Evangelism Lead; and representatives from USA Pavilion partners. For those interested, videos of Day 1 and Day 2, as well as closing remarks from Ambassador Douglas T. Hickey can be found on our vimeo site.

The teams selected for the accelerator were innovative while working on changing the systems and disrupting structures that would have an effect on the way we eat and produce food in the near future. Parallel to carefully selecting ten emerging companies to accelerate, each with a different take on the future of food, we started interviewing people about innovation, mentorship and the needs in today’s society, through the interview series Mentor Minds. Feeding the Accelerator was as a whole structured to feed, execute and discover contemporary innovation within food, so that entrepreneurs would be able to really take advantage of the unique context of the first World’s Fair in food.

Now that we have come to the end of the World’s Fair 2015 and the innovation program, it is even more evident now than when we began that the entrepreneurial teams in Feeding the Accelerator are dealing with complex systems, transforming data and ideas to bring us back to food’s real potential. Disrupting systems means to change what is already out there and make it better, smarter, more efficient. So apart from just making business (like in the old, industrial system), there are many other layers that each company is addressing: social issues, environmental issues, consumer dialogues, legal issues – simply covering the whole beast of a contemporary, connected, global society.

The entrepreneurial teams that made Feeding the Accelerator such a success are as follows:

Cookbooth, creating the world’s largest creative archive of food, for foodies and chefs, to reveal creative processes, promoting better food. This is a user driven platform to structure knowledge about food and to structure knowledge of professional, sustainable cooking.

FoodTrace handles information to re-connect local production with local stores, re-connecting the actors in the food system, generating a new system for business-to-business discovery.

IceDreams uses ice cream as Duchamp used the manufactured object, taking something very common – ice cream – and treating it in a new way, putting it in contact with current technical, business and communication possibilities. IceDreams shows that ice cream can be a tool to health instead of obesity. The artisan skills are codified to match techs striving for a structural change.

Ignitia has the potential of solving very big global problems, the fact that farmers in the tropics are severely hurt by climate change. Using current, available data and reconfiguring it, the farmers receive a simple text message on when to sow their seeds, which potentially can affect more than 3 billion people.

Kalulu is to the fruit and vegetable industry what Airbnb is to the hotel industry and Über to the taxi industry. Using extreme competence in transforming data, they deliver information to reconnect a direct link between farmer and consumer, giving the profit to the one that actually does the job, the farmer, and making the local produce stay local.

Microvita 2015, re-thinks the production process, inventing a new form, a bio-logic, where the largest bio-mass on the planet, insects, is used, and applied to use for large-scale production. Rather than suggesting that we all should start eating insects, they use insects to disrupt the production chain so that fish and chicken are fed in a sustainable way.

Mintscraps has a patent to reveal hidden information about waste in kitchens, leading to more informed decisions, and, generating a better and more sustainable supply chain. It is an information system that creates substantial savings for the users and a more sustainable planet.

Pnat is upheaving the industrial model of separating the urban and the rural. Activating unused, forgotten spots in the city and making them productive, letting production of food move to the place of consumption and at the same time initiating possible temporary injections in and around cities.

Urban Pastoral from Baltimore is a company that develops a new system for urban development, where urban farming is augmented to the next level. Current technology is put in a larger context where real estate, governance and local attraction is generated through an interplay with the city’s different players. Urban Pastoral feeds the city from within the city, the whole beast of the city.



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