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If you’re a food tech polymath — interested in a little of this, a little of that — then this was your week.
First and foremost: We’ve got your food celebrity fix. This week the Food Network fangirl in me was excited to hear that chef/cookbook author Nigella Lawson has launched a new app that helps food-lovers take better pics of their meals. We might have an Instagram competitor on our hands! Called FOODIM, the app is currently only available in the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. But I for one can’t wait to download it and see if it can make my avocado toast (sorry, millennial) look better than my go-to Instagram Ludwig filter.
Speaking of new and exciting ventures, Y Combinator recently released the lineup for its 2019 Winter cohort: a whopping 200 companies. We sifted through the list to pick out the 10 food tech startups you should know, from a smart coffee scale to autonomous advertising robots.
We were especially excited to see Shiok Meats included in the list. The company is the first cell-based meat company to be accepted into the coveted accelerator, which means that cellular agriculture is heading towards the mainstream — or at least more investment.
Though they’ll be decamping to Silicon Valley for Y Combinator, Shiok Meats is actually based in Southeast Asia — which is where we (and others) are predicting cultured meat will first come to market. I took a deep dive this week into the reasons cell-based meat will first be available in Asia, not Silicon Valley. TL;DR: keep your eyes trained on Hong Kong, people.
Another company in the latest Y Combinator batch is creating a homemade-meal sharing marketplace. Shef is like AirBnB but for home-cooked meals. In the U.S., peer-to-peer home cooking networks are relatively new. In fact, they only became legal a few months ago with the passage of the law AB 626 in California.
In India, however, the home chef marketplace is already pretty hot. This week Chris profiled FoodCloud, a platform connecting home cooks with nearby hungry diners. Guess who’s using it to make a killing? Grandmas.
In other news:
- Starbuck’s announced it will invest an eye-popping $100 million into a new venture fund to help incubate new up-and-coming food and retail tech startups.
- The founder and ex-COO of Blue Apron launched a new venture aimed at reversing climate change through regenerative agriculture, starting with heritage chickens.
- Amazon meal kits made their long-anticipated move into Whole Foods, which will give the e-commerce company another sales channel and more of their absolute favorite thing: data.
Finally — are you in San Francisco? (Or do you want an excuse for a quick trip?) Join us at ArticulATE, our one-day conference on all things food robotics and automation! This week we did a Q&A with Ryan Tuohy of Starship Technologies — the company that makes the wee food delivery rover bots — to get a taste of how automation will shape the future of food delivery. Snag your tickets today to hear him as well as speakers from Google, Sony, Albertson’s and more. Use code NEWSLETTER10 for a 10% discount!