Here at The Spoon we often write about funding news for new food tech companies: how much they’re raising and what they’ll do with the money. But what about the investors who are allocating these funds? How do they decide which ventures are worth investment?
We gathered four VCs to talk about just that at SKS 2019. In the panel, Tom Allison of ZX Ventures, Nate Williams of UNION Labs, and Brian Frank of FTW Ventures spoke with Brita Rosenheim of Better Food Ventures about the dynamics of investing in the food tech space.
If you’re curious about what investors are looking for in this area or are a startup hungry for funding, you should definitely watch the full video below. Here’s a quick overview to whet your appetite:
The food tech space has lots of opportunity
Rosenheim summed things up pretty well when she said, “We’re really at the infancy of the food tech sector in terms of potential.” Frank, who is a longtime SKS attendee, echoed this thought as he reflected on the growth within the conference itself. SKS was originally focused on consumer tech but now has expanded to cover tech from restaurants to supply chains to waste management in addition to the consumer sphere. Nonetheless, “it’s under-invested and under-managed,” he said. In short, there’s plenty of opportunity.
Big Food is getting involved, too
Allison, who’s the Head of Investment Strategy and M&A at ZX Ventures, part of AB InBev, spoke about how Big Food is trying to formulate its investment strategy to mimic the efficiency and agility of smaller independent companies. One takeaway? Look at untapped resources within the company (e.g., spent grain) and figure out how to capitalize on it. (Protein!)
Hardware is, well, hard
Williams, the Entrepreneur in Residence for Union, a new spinout from Kleiner Perkins, dropped some truth bombs about the difficulty of investing in hardware. “[It’s] extremely hard to execute well,” he said. “The be honest, lean startup [mentality] is bulls—t when it comes to hardtech investing.” Especially compared with the relative ease of scaling software.
Check out the full video below to hear more about what opportunities these investors are looking for — and their current favorite food tech product.