Breakthrough Ice Cream Product via Open Innovation

Published Jan-05-18

By tapping into the know-how of others one Israeli startup has created an ice cream capsule system that could disrupt the ice cream industry.

Solo Gelato, Israel

The Story:

Breakthrough Ice Cream Product via Open Innovation Just as domestic kitchens or workplaces can be stocked with machines dispensing coffee, wine and soda drinks in an instant, there is now a device that serves up instant fresh ice cream. The machine is a Nespresso-style capsule system that was the brainchild of Israeli startup Solo Gelato. To make it happen the company formed an open innovation partnership with Barry Callebaut, a leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products.

The two organizations met through MassChallenge, a global non-profit startup accelerator part-founded by Barry Callebaut. The relationship has given Solo Gelato access to knowledge that it didn’t possess internally. This in turn, is helping open up avenues of business that it might not otherwise have considered.

A Deep Collaboration

Solo Gelato is headed by Barak Beth-Halachmi, a former high-tech entrepreneur and gelato expert who had long entertained the idea of disrupting the ice cream industry with an innovation that would give consumers delicious instant ice cream in their own homes. In addition to his company’s internal talents and capabilities he felt he needed to capitalize on external resources.

One of the key ways Solo Gelato has benefited from its relationship with Barry Callebaut is in perfecting some of its recipes. The team attended the Chocolate Academy in Weize, Belgium where courses are led by technical advisors and chocolate ambassadors from Callebaut. They learned about the art and skill of chocolate making and working with Barry Callebaut products. This is knowledge that has fed back into their recipes.

One of the testing phases involved seeing if Callebaut Choocogelato mix could work in the Solo Gelato capsules. The test was successful resulting in an instant and fresh chocolate ice cream.

The relationship is a mutually beneficial one, as outlined by Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO Barry Callebaut: “MassChallenge not only gives us access to new product ideas and innovative solutions we might never be able to create in-house, we get to know a talented pool of bright young people with an entrepreneurial spirit.”

In making the relationship work, the two companies share a common vision and interests and don’t have competing products.


Among the advantages of open innovation partnerships such as this is that large companies can benefit from the game-changing innovations of smaller firms. Meanwhile, these small companies can profit from access to resources that are usually beyond their reach.

Partnership Success

Solo Gelato’s capsule system for instant ice cream is due to launch in 2018. Research, development and testing phases are complete and it will now spend the first part of 2018 planning the details of the product launch, and the second half on executing it.

By finding the right partner for innovation, Solo Gelato has created an innovative product that could change the way that some consumers enjoy their ice cream.

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