A Video Feast: Foodspotting, Foodzie Headline a Food Startup Gathering in San Francisco

11/23/11Follow @wroush

Let’s face it: Your whole Thanksgiving weekend is going to be about food. So you might as well start a day early by watching the video below, which captures the entirety of the Food Startups Meetup I moderated last week in downtown San Francisco. Where else, after all, are you going to see the founders of fascinating Bay Area startups like Artisan Growers & Producers, Back to the Roots, E la Carte, Foodspotting, and Foodzie all in one place?

The video is 1 hour, 16 minutes long, and was captured by blogger, programmer, entrepreneur, and photographer Kevin Warnock, who also took the photographs shown here. (All media used by permission; click on the photos to see larger versions.)

Alexa Andrzejewski

The panelists at this event included:

Alexa Andrzejewski, co-founder and CEO of Foodspotting
Nikhil Arora, co-founder, Back to the Roots
Nate Gallon, partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Rob LaFave, co-founder and CEO, Foodzie
Ananda Neil, founder, Artisan Growers and Producers
Rajat Suri, co-founder and CEO, E la Carte

Nikhil Arora

The only company on this list that I’ve had time to write about in a feature article is E la Carte, but I’m looking forward to getting to know the other startups too, because I think food—or, more specifically, the way we decide what to eat—is one of the next big areas where mobile and Internet technology will change our thinking and our behavior. Each of the panelists’ companies is involved in some way in helping people be more informed, more efficient, or more social about their eating choices. (With the exception of Nate Gallon, who shared his perspectives both as a self-confessed foodie and as an attorney familiar with the startup formation and funding process in Silicon Valley.)

Rob LaFave

A few highlights to look for in the video:

12:45 I kicked off the formal discussion with the proposition that there’s been a fundamental increase over the last few years in public awareness about food quality and nutrition. Rob LaFave was the first to react, basically agreeing with my premise and explaining how Foodzie is trying to capitalize on this shift. The other panelists followed.

25:35 The panelists respond to my question about the unique barriers and challenges faced by entrepreneurs involved in the food industry.

42:06 I asked a long-winded question about whether the food startup sector might be getting too frothy, and whether food startups are “investable” from a classic venture capital perspective. The panelists answered starting at this point.

54:30 Audience Q&A begins.

Rajat Suri

The Food Startups meetup group formed this summer, with Matthew Wise as its main instigator. Wise is the serial entrepreneur behind both Founderly—an amazing site building an archive of documentary interviews with entrepreneurs—and TableSlice, a stealth-mode startup in the food sector. He invited me to moderate the November 16 panel after reading my June 2011 article Silicon Chef: A Half-Baked Guide to Food Startups, where I listed every notable company I could find that’s using the Internet or mobile technology to sell, promote, or celebrate food and nutrition. It’s a fast-growing list, and as you’ll see from the Q&A portion of the video, there are plenty more Bay Area entrepreneurs thinking about stretching their startup wings in the food niche.

Here’s the video.

Food Startups from Kevin Warnock on Vimeo.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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