Nurasa’s Board of Directors and team are pleased to welcome XiuLing Guo as our new Chief Executive Officer. She joins with over two decades of senior leadership and deep innovation experience in the global food ingredients and quick service restaurant (QSR) sectors, and succeeds Alan Thompson who served as Interim CEO.

Prior to joining Nurasa, XiuLing was the Managing Director for Cargill’s Global Edible Oil Solutions Business in Asia, where she oversaw over 55 markets across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America. During this time, she also served as a sponsor to Cargill’s in-house global start-up Incubation Programme.

Driven by her passion to create positive impact, XiuLing joined Tongji University’s accelerator programme as Founding Partner and Industry Advisor, which aims to solve global sustainability challenges by connecting top scientific minds, entrepreneurs, early-stage investors and global corporations.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Nurasa and its dedicated team of seasoned experts, all committed to delivering best-in-class support to food tech start-ups and accelerating access to sustainable foods across Asia. I look forward to working closely alongside them and our partners on this mission, and contribute to shaping a more sustainable future for food,” said XiuLing Guo, Chief Executive Officer of Nurasa.

“Today marks a significant milestone in Nurasa’s journey as we welcome a new CEO to lead the company into the future,” said Pradeep Pant, Chairman of Nurasa’s Board of Directors. “XiuLing’s track record of leadership and innovation across the global agriculture and food supply chain speaks volumes about her ability to steer Nurasa forward.”

“On behalf of Nurasa’s Board of Directors and management, we would like to also extend our heartfelt gratitude to Alan Thompson for his invaluable contributions and leadership during his time as Interim CEO,” Pant added. “Alan will be working closely with XiuLing and supporting during this crucial transition period. We wish him all the best when he returns to his responsibilities as Operating Partner at Temasek.”

Nurasa’s Board of Directors and team are pleased to welcome Temasek Operating Partner Alan Thompson as our interim Chief Executive Officer. Alan, equipped with nearly two decades of experience with Temasek, succeeds Mathys Boeren, who stepped down as CEO on 14 November 2022.

Alan has held various senior leadership positions within Temasek, having served as Joint Head of Strategic Development, Senior Managing Director of the Enterprise Development Group, Joint Head of Private Equity Investments, and Managing Director of Portfolio Management, among other roles.

Prior to joining Temasek in 2004, Alan gained extensive senior management experience in strategy consulting and private equity across a wide range of industries in Southeast Asia, Australia and South Africa.

“Alan is an outstanding leader, with deep senior management experience and the proven capability to steer Nurasa and the team, while the company evolves and we conduct a search for our next CEO,” said Pradeep Pant, Chairman of Nurasa’s Board of Directors. “We are committed to undertaking a smooth leadership transition to ensure Nurasa’s continuing growth, for our partners, clients and employees.”

“On behalf of the Nurasa board members and management, we would like to thank Mathys for his contributions in the past year,” Pant continued. “We look forward to working with Alan, our partners, and the Nurasa team, as we continue to execute on our shared strategic vision of accelerating access to sustainable foods across Asia.”

In a collective effort to accelerate the production and commercialisation of sustainable foods in Asia, Nurasa, A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI) and Trendlines Agrifood Innovation Centre (AFIC), with the support of Enterprise Singapore, have launched an Open Call for submissions to the inaugural Food Tech Start-Up Challenge.

Open to start-ups in the global agrifood technology sector, the Challenge invites pitch submissions from entrepreneurs specialising in either of two particular areas: the optimisation of alternative proteins, functional foods, or creation of novel product formats in the alternative protein or functional foods space.

Of particular interest to the Challenge’s stakeholders will be alternative protein start-ups with technologies that enable the production of animal-free meat and have the potential to overcome the key issues of current plant-based meat – taste, texture, nutrition and price.

Functional food products promote health benefits in addition to possessing nutritive value and includes food that has been fortified, enriched or enhanced. A sub-sector of functional foods, which will be of interest to the Challenge’s stakeholders, is the so-called “silver diet.”

Submissions to the Challenge will be evaluated on a rolling basis, from 4 November 2022 to 27 January 2023.

Selected finalists will be invited to proceed to the “Bench-Scale Make” or product development phase. They will benefit from being paired with seasoned industry mentors who can offer advice and insights, access to an extensive network of agrifood ecosystem contacts via regular networking opportunities, as well as a series of start-up workshops organised by Nurasa and partners, with curated sessions encompassing four key business skillset areas: Product & Customer Development, Brand Storytelling & Marketing, Operations and Financing.

These finalists are expected to have a first prototype ready for tasting by the end of the product development phase in the lead up to the final Pitch and Tasting Day in June 2023.

The winning start-ups will be judged on the following criteria: Product Quality, Feasibility, Market Potential, Innovativeness and Capability.

The final winners of the Challenge will be awarded, among other prizes and incentives, early access to cutting-edge technologies and tools at Nurasa’s Food Tech Innovation Centre (FTIC) as well as the opportunity to work closely with industry leaders to scale up the development of their novel, animal-free food products to pre-commercialisation stage.

Nurasa’s FTIC, scheduled to be operational in the first half of 2023, provides a lab to pilot-scale research and product development infrastructure for sustainable food companies. It is a 4,000 sqm pilot-scale food grade facility at Biopolis, Singapore’s innovation hub, operated in partnership with A*STAR’s SIFBI. The facility provides food start-ups with access to two key pilot-scale equipment: High-Moisture Extrusion (HME), and Precision Fermentation.

In addition, shared labs and co-working spaces, private suites to set up small research labs or offices, demonstration and test kitchens and a large events space, facilitate an atmosphere of engagement, innovation and collaboration. They will also gain access to A*STAR’s resources in Biopolis – which include sensory booths and a larger kitchen space – enabling easy access for companies to find fit-for-scale and fit-for-purpose equipment.

The Food Tech Start-Up Challenge comes at a time when conversations are ramping up around the need to further build capabilities and resilience in the region’s agrifood ecosystem to address the ongoing challenges to food supply. This includes climate change, global political tensions, and insufficient food to sustainably feed the expanding world population that is expected to reach 9.8 billion by 20501.

Nurasa Client Development Manager Jolene Lum, said, “At Nurasa, we are focused on accelerating the commercialisation and adoption of sustainable foods across Asia. As part of that, we work closely with industry partners and promising food tech start-ups to ensure that the taste, texture, nutritional value, and price of these sustainable foods match consumer demands – simply put, we all want to eat food that excites us.”

“But we recognise the pain points experienced by start-ups in scaling up and commercialising their products. With the Food Tech Start-Up Challenge, we hope to support entrepreneurs in overcoming these barriers and provide them with an effective platform to accelerate their growth and be a key contributor to Asia’s vibrant food tech landscape. We invite food tech start-ups with an exciting and viable idea, no matter where they are in the world, to join!”

SIFBI’s Corporate Strategy and Business Development Director Dr Michelle Ngiam, said, “To meet Singapore’s ’30 by 30’ goal, that is to sustainably produce 30% of our nutritional needs by 2030, ecosystem partners need to work closely together to build our agrifood industry’s capabilities and capacities – and the Food Tech Start-Up Challenge is one of the ways we are doing so. Innovative start- ups will be able to leverage the state-of-the-art facilities, as well as tap on the agrifood industry insights and scientific expertise by working with the wider ecosystem, with the aim towards translating the latest food technologies into tasty and nutritious food products for consumers and position Singapore as a global agrifood innovation hub.”

“There is a need for concerted action to transition towards a sustainable food system and the best way to materialise it is through partnerships. We look forward to working with emerging innovators to explore creative solutions that can lift the barriers to the adoption of alternative foods in this region.

“Trendlines has been actively involved in the development of the local agri-food ecosystem and we are excited to start a food tech-focused challenge with Nurasa and SIFBI. We believe that participating start- ups will have a lot to benefit from the mentorship, access to equipment and funding support that this challenge will provide,” Anton Wibowo, CEO of AFIC, added.

To find out more and submit your entry for the Food Tech Start-Up Challenge, visit our microsite at or follow Nurasa on LinkedIn for regular Challenge updates.

The deadline for Open Call submissions is on Friday, 27 January 2023, 11:59 pm SGT.

Food Tech Start-Up Challenge Open Call

A collaboration between Nurasa, A*STAR’s SIFBI, Trendlines Agrifood Innovation Centre and supported by Enterprise Singapore, the Food Tech Start-Up Challenge calls on future changemakers to the food-tech landscape.