Could you ever imagine that Silicon Valley's next trend would be making yummy startups? Probably no, but its invasion was spreading quickly over the last few years, since a number of food startups rolled up just right from that multi-genius spot, I mean SV, of course.
The investments Venture Capitalists poured into the process aiming to revolutionize the food industry, soaked with traditions, are enormous, so are the changes they bring. As of 2013, according to Rosenheim Advisors, investors rounded up with $2.8 billion dollars put into "spicing up" the conventional food market with technologies - that is a huge sum if compared with only $50 millions that were put into this field in 2008. The surprising thing is that the heavy sugar food startups are backed by a list of heavy investors with such well-known names as Bill Gates and Peter Thiel, Biz Stone and Evan Williams(Twitter founders), Jerry Yang (cofounder of Yahoo), Marc Cuban (owner of Mavericks), etc.
Still, the question is, "Why does software tread its path to our kitchens?" Phil Barnes, a partner at First Round Capital Partners, shares his ideas: "In that everybody eats, it's one of those big markets like healthcare." Barnes emphasizes that it is the hugeness of the food industry that awakes VC's interest.
Moreover, the food startups described below have much more than just profitability in mind. They focus on major concerns of the food industry today. Some show social awareness of climate change and food/water shortages by inventing product substitutes, others focus on sustainability by trying to draw our attention to healthy food and natural products, while major startups make us look over the way we cook at home daily.
Here is an overview of the Smartest Food Startups:
Hampton Creek Foods: Egg-Free
San Francisco-based food company that have done creative work on substituting ordinary hen-laid eggs by the ones made of a number of plants, such as peas, canola, sorghum. The final product called Beyond Eggs looks like a grayish-green powder and has to be used for baking purposes only; however, it's 19 percent cheaper, healthier and more eco-friendly. And it tastes just like the real eggs, which is probably the most important thing for conventional consumers. By the way, Hampton Creek egg substitutes have recently replaced real eggs in the products processed by some majors in the food industry, so they are already on the market.
Beyond Meat: Chicken-Free
Manhattan Beach-based food company aiming to put big science into developing products to substitute real meat, but containing all that healthy plant proteins instead of animal ones. Their Chicken-Free Strips are made of a variety of plants, such as: peas, soy, flours, and others. Important to note is the fact that Beyond Meat is different from the fake meat already on the market. It is not only the taste that differentiates it form fake one, but the texture! One bite and you will understand what we are talking about - it feels like you eat a real meat.
San Francisco-based company which focuses on putting together health & food concerns. Zipongo is an online tool and app drawing our attention to healthy eating by revising our usual product lists and favorite meals in terms of our personal health concerns. All you have to do is share the info on what is on your usual product list and what are your daily meals, and this app will guide you to buy the products exactly up to your health concerns.
San Francisco-based food startup revolutionizing the way we all think about cooking. TalkToChef is an educational platform where people can get their everyday cooking questions answered in real time by professional chefs. Still in question what to cook for dinner today or how to make your ordinary meal healthier? TalkToChef may be seen as another "gadget" to be on your kitchen table today. Being just a regular foodie, you can have an amazing cooking experience with any of more than 1400 professional chefs, and learn from each other in real time without leaving your kitchen.