Ilanit Kabessa Cohen: Spearheading The Company Towards Great Heights

Ilanit Kabessa Cohen: Spearheading The Company Towards Great Heights

Ilanit Kabessa Cohen , Managing Partner

Ilanit Kabessa Cohen

Managing Partner

The agri-food tech industry, which is made up of startups and venture capital companies, is a small but growing sector that aims to revolutionize the global food and agriculture industry. The agri-food sector, which also provides food for the planet. Conclusively, agriculture alone is responsible for about one-third of all carbon emissions. Today's industrial agri-food sector is largely inefficient and faced with significant challenges of food safety, resource scarcity and consumer health. Moreover, the increasing number of demands and restrictions, necessitates the use of agri-food tech and innovation.

Ilanit Kabessa Cohen has over 20 years of experience and is a recognized leader in agri-food technology growth & innovation. Currently, Ilanit Kabessa Cohen is the Managing Partner of URIKA Venture and Innovation Partners (the Israeli Innovation office for CSM Ingredients, Novozymes, Dole, and others), a company that develops successful collaborations and growth opportunities with the intersection of startups, multinationals, innovation and technologies, supporting the revolution the agri-food industry is going through. In an exclusive interview with CEO Insights Magazine, Ilanit Kabessa Cohen walks us through her professional journey along with the unique traits of the company.

Could you give a brief account of your professional background and experiences? What is the motivation that fuels your daily routines?

I have 20+ years of track record as a growth opportunity builder for multinationals in the agri-food industry. I am an innovation expert, and thus indulge in innovations that help expand and strengthen businesses. My area of expertise is value creation at the nexus of corporations, ventures, corporate innovation, and startups. Together with my business partner, Dr. Uri Weinheber, we established URIKA Venture & Innovation Partners. We have strong innovation capabilities, and the ability to analyze future trends, make successful strategic investments, support M&A transactions, and engage in entrepreneurial activities. I served as the first Head of Innovation for Nestle Israel, Dole Ventures in Singapore, and Novozymes Advanced Proteins as a venture partner (Denmark). Precisely, being an innovation addict who lives and breathes innovation, and as the Co-founder of the wonderful Israeli agri-food tech ecosystem, I am dedicated to changing our industry for the better.

You possess over two decades of experience, how has your path to success been? What is your success mantra?

My client’s success is my success. It's my catchphrase. I genuinely think and act in this manner. At Nestle, I pioneered an innovation metrics system that displayed the financial contribution of innovation to the company today and tomorrow while building the division practice, processes, team, and everything else. We assist businesses in creating their future while relying on our unique experience. We also incorporate trends and the company's goals for the next three to five years into our work. A well-balanced innovation pipeline and investment for the future are made possible by this approach to innovation, which combines financial prospects, trends analysis, and the company's resources and goals. This distinct methodology became a pillar of my work over the ensuing years and allowed URIKA to create growth opportunities and technological synergies that have a significant positive effect on MNCs.

We assist international businesses in creating value & seizing new growth opportunities by representing MNCs with agri-food and climate-related interests

How would you define your clients and their position in the market?

I collaborate with some of the market's most innovative and forward-thinking businesses including CSM Ingredients, Novozymes and Dole to name a few. Climate change, resource scarcity, health crisis, soil health, abundant packaging, energy access, an aging workforce, changing business models, changing consumer behavior, and more are some of the massive challenges faced by the agri-food industry. The contribution and role that MNCs play, as well as the risks they are willing to take, are in my opinion the most crucial steps for repairing our broken industry. Without bold leadership challenging the status quo is in vain. Large companies are more aware than ever that innovation is the key to driving growth in such a volatile environment. Though it is difficult, taking risks looks rewarding when efforts bear results.

Tell us about your flagship offerings and what value additions customers can expect from your products.

We assist international businesses in creating value and seizing new growth opportunities by representing MNCs with agri-food and climate-related interests in the Israeli ecosystem. In the process, we acquire a multidisciplinary approach with strong innovation capabilities, strategic investments, M&A procedures, and venture activities. Our main service is based on Opportunities Access to the entire Israeli ecosystem, including all of its components (startups, incubators, academies and research organizations, government funding initiatives, VCs, CVCs, other MNCs, & more) that are required for sourcing. By creating new business opportunities, we have assisted companies in creating value. In the process, as the businesspeople and practitioners, we actively collaborate with businesses to plan and carry out their future.

Going forward, what are the changes in market behaviour that you anticipate, and what are the opportunities that you foresee?

The agri-food sector is evolving into a biotech sector. Agriculture is seeing a rise in bio-based solutions to protect crops and feed the soil. Industrial food is seeing a rise in bio-based new ingredients and processes. These new approaches have improved sustainability and performance. I believe that machine learning and artificial intelligence will continue to advance, and the food industry, agriculture, energy, and supply chain will all change as a result of AI and ML. Furthermore, we'll see more corporate and governmental investment in environment-friendly technologies, and health and nutrition technologies, as the hierarchy of global values is shifting. I believe multinationals will have more opportunities to acquire technologies due to the rising trends.

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