Investing in the Future of Food



On a rainy Saturday in New York, passionate entrepreneurs and innovative companies gathered at the most impactful conference for investment and discovery in the food industry to discuss the future of food. The global opportunity in food and agriculture represents a $5 trillion opportunity.

The event was hosted by FounderMade. FounderMade is on a mission to assist and inspire founders to build the businesses of their dreams by combining corporate resources and reach with creative ideas and passion from innovative startups. The event featured celebrity panels of food experts, stirring founder stories, a pop-up demo lounge, and a food pitch competition.

Food pitch challengers:

Spyce co-founder Michael Farid believes that every meal should be fresh and delicious, no matter where you are. They have designed the world’s first automated restaurant. They intend to reduce restaurant overhead spend to allow re-investment in quality ingredients.

Congratulations to the Winner! FoodStand co-founder Rachna Govani envisions a world where good food is the default, not the exception. Their team has set out to build a more informed community and a new media company offering insights around good food.

Sereneti President and CEO, Timothy Chen, is changing the food world one meal at a time. His team is building a robotic chef, Cooki, and a food ecosystem, Foodi, that will serve meals that are healthier, yummier, and cheaper, while reducing ingredient waste.

2016 Food Trends

Food plays an exceptional role and has the power to change our lives and shape culture. As the world population and health concerns continue to grow, a paradigm shift is occurring in the mindset of the consumer; they are increasingly eating with their minds.

New on the scene: transparency, traceability, sourcing, nutrition science, aquaponics (soil-less agriculture)

Trending up: snackification, plant based meals, insect protein sources, food waste, local food, clean food (everything it is meant to have and none of what it isn’t)

Trending down: organic, GMO (standards not keeping up with pace of innovation)

2016 Restaurant Trends

Against the backdrop of food, economic, and technology trends, restaurants are rapidly transforming from small businesses to enterprise level operations. Resourceful chefs are finding creative ways to continue to keep restaurants the theatre of food.

New on the scene: evolving regulations, operations under a restaurant group, rising wages and rents, technology solutions (robotics, iOT), hybrid concept restaurants, job sharing

Trending up: wage parity, no tipping, home delivery and assembly solutions, quick service fast casual restaurants

Trending down: fast food, cheap food, poor quality food

About Marketing to a New Generation

Packaging and taste aside, all advertising and marketing channels should be leveraged with particular emphasis on maintaining brand identity across channels. Digital channels can tell a story with social providing the means to cultivate a relationship with consumers pre- and post- purchase.

New on the scene: in-context advertising, two-way learning focus, living the lifestyle

Trending up: content that connects at an emotional level, partnerships with complementary products and brands, freebies, product tours

Trending down: talking at consumers

About Fundraising

Be clear on why you are raising funds and what you are willing to give up to grow and continue the mission. Maximize your current investment before looking for more capital; the cheapest money you can get is what you make yourself. Be realistic about your business, valuation, and what you need in an investor.

New on the scene: alignment between entrepreneurs and investors, financial wisdom, proprietary technology

Trending up: relationships, celebrity assets, innovation throughout the supply chain

Trending down: commodity money, me-too solutions

A Final Word to the Entrepreneur

Today’s entrepreneur is mission-driven and focused on delivering an innovative, premium product. It is important be clear on your differentiator and the functional and emotional benefit to the consumer. Don’t try to be everything to everyone; focus on “the one thing” and do it really well. This is the best time to be an entrepreneur in food with unprecedented rate of change and opportunity.

New on the scene: room for many winners, first time entrepreneurs

Trending up: fail fast and early, building a team, pivoting

Trending down: quitting, ego, greed

About the author: Rohinee Mohindroo

Rohinee Mohindroo is a Transformational Technology Leader, helping organizations elevate customer and employee experiences by delivering scale, speed, and stability. Rohinee is available in a consultancy role to startups who are scaling up and to enterprises who are strategically focused on digital transformations.

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