4.30.13: VCs


VCs Hot For Food Startups

New and awesome food technology got a massive shout-out from the NY Times yesterday as tech-writing duo Jenna Wortham and Claire Cain Miller talked through some new food-tech startups and the monetary vote of confidence they’re getting from VCs. Companies and products span the food spectrum: connecting restaurants to purveyors, shipping fresh food direct to consumers, or even inventing new foods all together. Even more exciting: VCs quoted in the piece cite the need to disrupt the current state of the industry from a do-it-better-and-healthier perspective.

While the numbers don’t YET hold up to the scale of other industries seeing massive dollar amounts invested in their futures, the valley’s acknowledgement of the industry as one in need of change and innovation will hopefully inspire more development, change, and excitement in the food and restaurant space. The piece is an excellent state-of-the-state — worth a read.

And today, a very well-respected VC very publicly called out the analyst quoted in the piece after she questioned the ability of food startups to net significant profits, calling her a “typical clueless analyst who never did anything real herself.” Burn. (But kudos to the vote of confidence.)


New Food Apps

Even more new(ish) food/tech products for your perusal:

  • First, actor Adrien Grenier is a partner in Food Tripping, an app that helps you find good, healthy, not gross road food during a trip.
  • If you’re far away from your favorite regional food, try placing an order through FoodyDirect — the site partners with 30 regional favorite eateries (and counting). It’s not cheap, but worth it for those times when only the best will do. (My recommendation: anything from Arthur Avenue Italian Deli in the Bronx… my delicious college local.)
  • Instead of relying on Yelp reviews from strangers (you know how much I love Yelp reviews), rate restaurants with Traffic’s fast system (using a green, yellow, or red light — clever), save and share your ratings and recommendations with friends.
  • And, if you’re lucky enough to be in Northern California’s Yountville, Ad Hoc’s Addendum has launched its mobile ordering app for fried chicken and barbecue lunches.



Who to Follow

If you don’t follow SF’s @linecook on Twitter, you should. Here, he takes on flashes in restaurants, calling out critic Michael Bauer for his position on the matter. Then, after too many people misinterpret his position, he hilariously corrects it:



Square Adds Tickets to Help Restaurants

I’m in New York this week, and couldn’t help notice the proliferation of technology use inside restaurants. The iPad behind the bar at Char No. 4 during Sunday brunch. The waitress at Momofuku Noodle Bar toting an iPad to maintain the restaurant’s waiting list. And now mobile payment powerhouse Square updated Square Register to be more useful for restaurants: employee permissions, sales reports, remote receipt printing, the ability to modify orders for the kitchen (hold the onions!), and more, helping small restaurants use technology to streamline their payments and processes. Awesome.



Restaurant Shames Bad Tippers on Instagram

Seriously no bueno: a Delaware restaurant manager took photos of bad tippers and posted them on Instagram, calling them really terrible names.  For his part, he says the account was “hacked” by rogue employees. Lesson: lock down those passwords and don’t ever let this happen because it’s awful.



  • Michael Mina offers online cooking classes… but you have to pay for them. (Would you?) — CookTasteEat
  • ICYMI: @Bourdain continues to live-tweet his TV show — this time his Parts Unknown on CNN. He was one of the originals, and I’d say, the master of the live-tweet. So good.
  • Stephen Colbert on Yelp: “it combines the critical palate of Zagat with nothing better to do.” Well said. — Eater

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