When we first started the Smart Kitchen Summit in 2015, we knew we wanted to create a forum for food tech startups to connect with big companies, venture capitalists and deal makers. After all, I’d watched the smart home and digital entertainment spaces emerge from nascent industries to large thriving marketplaces over the previous decade and knew the magic that could happen when you bring companies big and small together.
So that’s what we did. Not only did we fill our speaker rosters with leaders from the most interesting startups and big companies doing interesting work on the bleeding edge of the future of food and cooking, but we also created a startup showcase to give these startups an opportunity pitch their ideas and get feedback.
Little did we know at the time the Startup Showcase would become a platform. From the start, we’ve helped propel companies to build their brand, find partners and get market traction.
Don’t take my word for it. Here’s Peter Favrholdt, CEO of connected cooktop startup Ztove:
“Bringing home the SKS trophy also had a significance,” he said. “Ztove won a couple of grants in Denmark, and in 2017 we were enrolled in the Odense Robotics Startup Hub – an accelerator program for early startups in the field of robotics. In 2018 we got a small investment allowing us to increase the pace and building the company bringing the Ztove products to market.”
Andrew Deitz, the CEO of SKS 2017 Startup Showcase winner Verdical, had this to say: “Winning the Startup Showcase put Verdical on the food tech map. From the SKS’s visibility we secured a technology partnership that has made our product better. “
And then there’s former rocket scientist turned foodtech entrepreneur Bill Birgen, the CEO of Soggy Food Sucks. I asked him if winning the SKS startup showcase last year had made a difference and he told me this:
“The recognition that came from winning the SKS Startup Showcase galvanized industry interest from marque brands in Soggy Food Sucks and continues to propel the company forward with momentum.”
For 2019, we’re looking to do it again, only this time we’re doubling the opportunities.
First, we’re bringing back the SKS Food Tech Startup Showcase for its fifth year. The SKS Startup Showcase will bring together startups at different stages of growth who are actively showing how they are innovating the world of food tech. One of the prizes for the Startup Showcase will be an annual membership with our partner WeWork Food Labs.
Next, we’re debuting our new Future Food Startup Competition that will allow startups with a vision to disrupt the traditional way of thinking about food to show the world what they’re up to. The winner of the Future Food competition will get an all-expense-paid trip to Parma to spend a week with Barilla’s Innovation Lab.
We’re really excited to bring these innovators to Seattle to help propel them to the next level, so if you have the next disruptive food tech startup or the next big idea for the future of food, apply today!