RP and Fogo Fungi bring innovation to the agri-food tech industry in pursuit of sustainable development.

What makes a better world? 

In September 2015, the United Nations set out to answer this question with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These quantifiable goals monitor the progress toward their 2030 agenda and action plan, a commitment which Singapore also endorses.

RP recognises the significance of these goals and has integrated them into our curriculum, initiatives, and collaborative efforts. One avenue this has been evident is the RP-Trendlines Agri-Food Incubation Programme, which in 2023 showcased many promising innovations from local start-ups. 

Fogo Fungi, an urban mushroom farm based in Singapore, ultimately emerged as champions of the pitching competition on the final demo day and trade show. As a result, they secured a grand prize of $30,000 and a six-month incubation contract with Trendlines AFIC.

Fogo Fungi’s team receiving the top prize at the RP-Trendlines Agri-Food Demo Day 2023

The four-man team from Fogo Fungi that attended the programme include: 

  • Ryan Ong, Co-Founder & CEO, a young entrepreneur with a business management degree from SMU who has extensive experience in SMEs and startups within the hospitality and food waste valorisation industries; 

  • Jonathan Chen, Co-Founder & COO, a nature enthusiast, and green champion with an award-winning background in horticulture;

  • Felix-Constantin Dorner, Co-Founder & CCO; a globetrotter with a MsC in Management (Catolica Lisbon SBE), with valuable insights from his background in the hotel and logistics sector;

  • and Glenn Wong, Communications and PR Specialist, an RP School of Management and Communication alumnus (Diploma in Mass Communications, 2017).

Gaining Support Through Workshops and Mentorship

As a fledgling start-up seeking guidance, the team expressed their desire to utilise the programme’s expertise in agri-food, its diverse support network, and carefully crafted entrepreneurial sessions to develop key aspects of their business.

“The programme’s progressive and succinct workshops enabled us to cultivate essential entrepreneurial skills steadily, allowing ample time to address and refine critical aspects of our start-up. The programme facilitated connections with various industry experts who shared invaluable insights, offering us clarity and guidance in navigating the start-up landscape. Additionally, with the help of our mentors and advisers, we were able to progress from a point with no prototypes to eventually having a product launch,” said the Fogo Fungi team. 

Glenn, who was returning to his alma mater, was inspired to see how their batchmates in the programme included Year 3 RP students. Since he graduated six years ago, a new entrepreneurship option had been opened up to final year students in lieu of their Final Year Project (FYP). He was moved to see them enabled to pursue their dreams and ambitions and by their mindset, maturity, and hunger to push through.

Growing Sustainably with the SDGs

Through the programme, Fogo Fungi developed their main product and business strategy, reflecting these three SDGs: 


The start-up is reshaping the Asian mushroom farming scene through innovative technology, converting agricultural waste into nutrient-rich feed. This approach enables the cultivation of a diverse range of fresh premium mushrooms.

The comprehensive programme provided by RP offered them extensive guidance in developing key aspects of their start-up, encompassing everything from defining their business model to establishing business continuity and devising marketing strategies. Fogo Fungi remarked that the well-structured and progressive workshops, with ample time to absorb and reflect between sessions, gave them the space to pivot and adjust their direction, an important step for any start-up. The mentors within the programme were also readily available and looked out for their best interests. These factors played a crucial role in shaping the nature of their technology.

Pink Oyster Mushrooms grown by Fogo Fungi, distinguished by their vibrant pink hue
and meaty flavour like bacon or turkey ham when prepared

As a result, they ultimately decided to concentrate on growing gourmet mushrooms of exotic varieties uncommon in Singapore. They also explained that their vertically-integrated value chain enables them to produce a wider variety of fresher, higher-quality mushrooms, and they are currently in discussions to supply these to hotels, restaurants, cafes, and chefs, where demand for these mushrooms primarily lies.  

Fogo Fungi cultivates their mushrooms using the waste matter of other agricultural processes, like sawdust from the timber industry and soybean waste from the soybean industry. 

“In Singapore, food waste that is not re-purposed or recycled mostly gets incinerated at Waste-to-Energy plants or is sent to landfills, thereby increasing carbon emissions and contributing to climate change,” the team shared.

“We use clean and organic agricultural waste as part of our recipe to create a substrate that is nutritious enough for the mycelium, the root-like structure of the mushroom, to feed and grow on.” 

Even their waste, spent mushroom substrate, an organic byproduct of the process, is subsequently composted and reintroduced to agriculture, thereby closing the loop of their sustainable food system.


Fogo Fungi’s urban farming system is an example of a full circle sustainable system, with no excess waste produced that is not upcycled. This also results in a lower carbon footprint, combating climate change. 

This technology development pathway was fine-tuned and made more viable through various check-in sessions with mentors in the RP-Trendlines programme. They were especially grateful for the programme’s specific focus on the domain of agri-food, as the Fogo Fungi team were able to gain access to industry knowledge on a deeper level — a unique strength that greatly benefitted them in their endeavours. 

Fogo Fungi utilises locally sourced raw materials, which not only reduces reliance on imported materials and improves traceability, but also reduces carbon footprint overall.

“Currently, Singapore heavily relies on imports for food, with 90% of our foods being imported. This dependence makes our food supply vulnerable to disruptions, highlighting our food security issue and the pressing need to address it,” they shared.

With their technology and their solutions for sustainability, they aim to be a key contributor in this sector. 

“However, our efforts alone will not be enough to get us there. This requires the involvement of the next generation to take up the challenge to be changemakers in this space.”

The Fogo Fungi team hopes that, beyond their solutions, their journey can inspire the next generation to take action and join them in advancing towards Singapore’s 30 by 30 goal.

They firmly believe that education holds the key to instigating change and advancing towards a greener future. The team’s objective is to empower the public with essential knowledge about food, enabling them to make informed decisions regarding sustainability.

As Fogo Fungi mentions, “For us, the UN Sustainability Goals reflect a global commitment to improve pressing issues and serve as a guideline that navigates us towards a more sustainable future.” They are thankful for support here from Singapore and abroad that allows them to be more courageous in their innovations and aspirations. 

Similarly, the Fogo Fungi team is grateful for the continued mentorship and partnerships with the organisers, mentors, and other cohort-mates and alumni from the RP-Trendlines programme. Whether through publicity, partnerships and promotions, continued advice, or simply camaraderie as friends with a common vision for sustainability, the connections made here continue to be vital and relevant for them as they reach towards their goals as a sustainable agri-tech start-up.


CTA Upskill with RP

Looking to grow a sustainable business? Partner us!

For aspiring entrepreneurs and investors, RP fosters collaboration, mentorship and co-innovation opportunities dedicated to growing a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem especially in agri-tech and sustainability. 
To find out more, get in touch with RP Office of Entrepreneurship today!

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