Eating through tech start ups

IMG_20120520_125243The pizza-munching, beer-swilling tech start up stereotype is being replaced with a new kind of innovator. The tech scene is rife with entrepreneurs turning their good food love into world beating tech start ups.

A report from Forbes magazine shows how one investment firm, Rosenheim Advisors, mapped out the tech investments into the consumer food segment. Over the past 18 months US$1.5bn has flowed into consumer food tech investments. They’ve made it easier to comprehend with this infographic to show the breakdown of where the money is flowing.

The Food+Tech Connect website reveals some fascinating projects that combine tech savvy to improve or alter the consumer food experience. The most intriguing one was highlighting a ‘big data’ project from the New York Public Library called ‘What’s on the Menu?’ that catalogues over 1,000,000 dishes from a growing 15,000 menus dating back to the 1850s.

Looking at the data evidences the classic dishes and food that withstood the test of time, celery a popular feature. It also highlights some early 20th century trend peaks. Absinthe was all the rage in 1901 and just look at how cigars were served in the Astor Room (look at the bottom of the menu). The data skew will settle once more modern menus are added to the project.

What’s on the Menu can help chefs plan menus, revisit old trends and perhaps decide to leave certain foods in the past where they belong, consigned to history.

The UK is in on this too, unsurprising given the glut of food television thrust on us. Florian Siepert’s Food Trips brings social media, consumers and holidays together as he serves up culinary adventures for the die-hard foodie. Whisk and Foodity have both received significant angel investment to turn their ideas into reality, but scaling in the UK market may, for some players, be an issue as Ocado are discovering.

Food is big business and the tech start up scene is now onto its share of it. We’ll always have to eat is the play for profits here.

Published by Brett

Brett is an experienced lawyer and business executive who focuses on commercial outcomes. He has worked across three sectors in England & Australia advising and leading initiatives in digital, media and technology

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