According to founder and CEO Udi Peretz, SOLVEAT began from his personal pain when diagnosed with prediabetes while managing an herbal extracts business in China. Peretz was advised to use herbal medicine by a local Chinese doctor, Prof. Xia, another co-founder of the company. The treatment helped but was unpleasant to use due to its strong taste and complicated preparation.
Eventually, they decided on a more convenient and accessible method for using herbal medicine – food as medicine. SOLVEAT joined CTech as part of its Startup Boarding Pass series to share how its technology can help alleviate the pain point of consuming medicine.
Sector: Healthcare, Foodtech
SOLVEAT’s vision is to revolutionize everyday food – targeting specific medical conditions by integrating herbal medicine directly into ordinary food products.
We have developed a technological platform that combines scientific, clinical, and high-quality standards. Our unique approach enables the introduction of active ingredients into foods while retaining their delicious taste.
Currently, the company is focusing on products that lower blood sugar levels and are intended for pre-diabetics, who represent one-third of the United States adult population (88 Million people) as well as hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
SOLVEAT’s first product, with its unique herbal composition for pre-diabetics, was shown to reduce blood sugar up to 24% in a field study with 12 volunteers and is backed by impressive in-vitro results.
Next, SOLVEAT will be developing additional compositions for high-impact medical conditions.
Our multidisciplinary team includes Western and Chinese doctors, biotechnologists and Food-tech specialists, and operations and business development professionals who have joined forces to envision and develop the next generation of functional food.
Udi Peretz, MSc. – Co-founder and CEO. Udi is an expert in herbal extracts and in industrial operations and management. Udi has an MSc. in Microbiology from Hebrew University and has held various leadership positions in pharma, food, and biotech companies in Israel and in China (Teva, Gadot, Amgal, and Kamedis). Prior to founding SOLVEAT, Udi was managing and operating a herbal biotechnological company in China that developed and manufactured high-standard proprietary extracts.
Dr. Zakhar (Zacki) Nudelman, Ph.D., MBA – CBO. Zakhar is a pharmacist by training and obtained his Ph.D. degree in pharmaceutical sciences and MBA (Biomed) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Dr. Nudelman possesses a profound combination of scientific and business skills. Zakhar is an expert in the fields of biotechnology and business development with over a decade of experience and a proven track record in product development and commercialization.
Tal Naveh, Dipl.Ac.Ch. – Co-founder and CTO. Tal Naveh is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) specialist and practitioner running a successful practice in Tel Aviv, Israel. Tal began his education of Chinese medicine at Tel Aviv University and then spent over four years in China specializing at Chengdu TCM University under the tutorship of Prof. Xia. Tal combines solid expertise in TCM with a deep understanding of the needs of Western patients.
Last Investment Round: $950,000
Last Investment Stage: Seed
Date of Last Investment: December 2021
Total investment to date: $980,000
Investors (leading and all): The Trendlines group
Current number of employees: 4
SOLVEAT was formed after the founder and CEO, Udi Peretz, was diagnosed as prediabetic while managing an herbal extracts business in China. Udi consulted with a famous local Chinese doctor, Prof. Xia Long, who advised him to take herbal medicine for his prediabetes. While the treatment helped, it was not pleasant to take due to its strong taste and lengthy preparation of the herbs. Udi discussed ideas with Prof. Xia Long and discovered a more convenient and accessible way to take herbal medicine – using food as medicine. This is how SOLVEAT was born.
Udi brought the vision to Israel and the company started at XLR8 Accelerator. He began building the company and assembled a multidisciplinary team of experts which included Dr. Zakhar Nudelman, who serves as CBO and Head of Scientific Affairs, and Tal Naveh, the Director of Herbal Medicine.
What is the need for the product?
SOLVEAT’s platform approach targets high-impact medical conditions by developing specific, food-compatible, herbal compositions for each condition. Consumers worldwide want food products that improve their health and are backed by solid scientific and clinical data.
The first product and application being developed by SOLVEAT is an herbal composition incorporated in chocolate. The product prototype has shown to significantly lower blood sugar levels in those who suffer from pre-diabetes, a syndrome that affects one in three adults in the U.S and hundreds of millions worldwide.
How is it changing the market?
SOLVEAT has a unique positioning in the foodtech industry landscape. Our value proposition for our consumers includes delicious food products for improving the health of individuals suffering from specific medical conditions rather than merely being “permissible” or “harmless”. This unique added value and product function are among the major differentiating attributes of SOLVEAT when comparing us to existing solutions.
How big is the market for the product and who are its main customers?
Our innovative approach addresses the rapidly transforming functional food market which is estimated to be worth $250 billion growing at an 8% CAGR. This market is driven by the growing demand for innovation, healthier food, and natural solutions.
Specifically, SOLVEAT is targeting the US $5 billion Phytochemicals & Plant Extracts segment of the global functional food ingredients market.
Direct customers include food manufacturers which will be the primary focus at this time and leading food ingredients companies will be approached later down the road.
Does the product exist already? If not – at what stage is it and when is it expected to hit the market?
To date, the first product prototype (food compatible herbal composition for prediabetics) is being optimized and under an ongoing regulatory process. Foods containing SOLVEAT’s herbal composition for prediabetics are expected to launch in a year, as part of a joint venture with Ornat Chocolates, starting with Israel as a pilot market.
The development of a second product, a food-compatible herbal composition for immune boost, has already started.
Who are the main competitors in this sector and how big are they?
There are several startups and small companies developing functional ingredients based on isolated herbal molecules and probiotics, however, none of them are complex herbal compositions such as SOLVEAT’s. One company worth mentioning is French-based Valbiotis, which has a strategic partnership with Nestle.
What is the added value that the founders bring to the company and the product?
Ehud (Udi) Peretz, CEO: Udi has an MSc in Microbiology and held various leadership positions in pharma, food and biotech companies in Israel and China. Prior to founding SOLVEAT, Udi managed and operated an herbal biotechnological company in China that developed and manufactured high-standard proprietary herbal extracts.
Dr. Zakhar (Zacki) Nudelman, CBO and Head of Scientific Affairs: Pharmacist by trade with a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences and an MBA. Zacki brings a profound combination of business and scientific skills and a proven track record in product development and commercialization.
Tal Naveh, Director of Herbal Medicine: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) specialist and practitioner running a successful clinic in Tel Aviv. Tal combines solid expertise in TCM with a deep understanding of the needs of Western patients.
Additionally, a diverse team of partners and advisors includes:
Prof. Xia Long: A leading TCM doctor in Chengdu Sichuan Province, China. Xia holds a post-doctorate in immunology and is the Director of the Chengdu Hospital. His focus is on the treatment of patients using a combination of TCM and Western medicine.
Prof. He Yuxin: A top-notch functional food specialist of TCM in Chengdu Sichuan Province, China. He has been engaged in modern Chinese medicine innovation and dietotherapy research work.
Dr. Orna Levin: A medical doctor with a track record in innovative natural remedies. Additionally, Orna has vast experience in clinical trials.
Yair Darel: Hold an MSc. in engineering as well as an MBA. After several successful decades in high tech, he took a new challenge and became the owner and CEO of Ornat Chocolates in Israel. Yair has vast experience working and managing innovative companies, bringing the innovation from high tech to foodtech.
Kfir Alon: Holds an MBA from Yale, School of Management and assists SOLVEAT on an advisory level. Kfir leads the cider portfolio for ABINBEV in the UK. Previously, he managed the foodtech community at JVP/Israel Initiative.
What will the money coming in from the round be used for?
The money from the upcoming round will be used for R&D, product optimization, quality control tasks, and regulation towards pilot sales in Israel, a significant fundable millstone for SOLVEAT.
Anything you want to add?
Today, most companies are shifting to, and investing in, food innovation and functional foods.
Traditional functional food leaders such as Abbott Nutrition, BASF SE, and more are now having to compete with giant companies such as Nestle, PepsiCo Inc., Unilever, Mars, and others that have joined this rapidly growing market segment.
Notably, the focus is usually on making functional foods that are permissible (e.g., clean label) or believed to be healthy. High blood sugar is a good example to demonstrate this approach. There are plenty of diabetic, sugar-free or low glycemic index foods which claim to reduce the amount of carbs ingested by the consumer.
SOLVEAT, however, brings a novel approach to the definition of functional food. We claim and demonstrate, scientifically and clinically, that functional foods can actually improve the medical condition of the consumer. In other words, going one step beyond, by actively reducing blood sugar levels.
This is how we define the “next generation of functional food” and approach the market, offering significant added value and a sustainable competitive advantage.