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Did a Major New Investor Just Find the Future of Food Startups?

The inaugural class of the FOOD-X business accelerator program include websites, apps, and delivery services.

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Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

Get familiar with these new companies, they might just be the future of food. At least, that's the bet that FOOD-X — the "food arm" of start-up focused venture capital and investment management firm SOSVentures — is making.

It's potentially a pretty sweet deal for the startups, who get seed money, and for FOOD-X, which gets some ownership in the companies. Per the FOOD-X website, each "early-stage" company gets: "up to $50k per team funding for 8% equity" and "our New York accelerator space will have regular mentor sessions by luminaries ... and scores of entrepreneurs, nutritionists, food experts, top chefs, investors, business coaches, academicians, media and design coaches." Mentors this time around included Dan Barber (Blue Hill), Dorothy Hamilton (International Culinary Center, James Beard Foundation), Ben Cohen (Ben&Jerry), and many more.

At a launch event in New York City yesterday, FOOD-X revealed their inaugural class of startups participating in their food-focused business development program. Are these the companies that will be dominating the food space in the near future? Go have a look:


Photo: Servy

This mobile app goal is to "empowe[r] food experts to improve the restaurant industry." Users must apply — the company accepts "foodies, chefs, owners and trained hospitality professionals." Once they are "vetted," users can give restaurants feedback, for which they are rewarded with incentives like gift certificates. Restaurant owners are encouraged to turn to Servy because "As an owner or manager, you can't oversee every aspect of your restaurant at all times. Servy sends experts in to provide key insights so you can make quick, strategic decisions." A press release from FOOD-X calls Servy an "anti-Yelp," though the real value of the app seems to hinge on the vetting process.[Official Site]


Screengrab: FoodieForAll

FoodieForAll is delivery service designed to maximize restaurant efficiency while also offering users access to restaurants that don't normally deliver. There are a few defining features here. Per FOOD-X's materials, FoodieForAll asks high profile New York City restaurants like Shake Shack, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Balthazar, ABC Kitchen, and Nobu to "prepare dishes specifically for delivery during their downtime." Users (either individuals or corporate clients) must order food at least a few hours in advance, with the option of ordering one meal comprised of dishes from different FoodieForAll restaurants. Delivery fees vary by order size. While FoodieForAll compares itself to Seamless, from a user perspective they seem to be in closer competition with Caviar, which does not make customers order as far in advance as FoodieForAll and also offers higher-end restaurants. Because of the need to pre-order, FoodieForAll might be a tough sell for non-corporate clients, especially in an increasingly saturated delivery market. [Official Site]


DC-based MunchQuick has two key features. Its main purpose is its lunch delivery service in Downtown DC: healthy, chef-prepared meals are ordered online and delivered within 30 minutes. There's also a social utility here. Per FOOD-X's materials, "For every order MunchQuick receives, we donate a meal to our local food bank partner, Martha's Table, in an effort to fight the hunger epidemic." The MunchQuick video above explains how it all works. There are also additional health-minded features like access to a nutritionist, plus options like group ordering and large format order-ahead meals. [Official Site]


Photos: Greenease

This mobile app aims to "connec[t] consumers with restaurants, cafes and grocers that buy from local and/or sustainable farms." Users can search for restaurants based on terms like sustainable seafood, gluten-free, veg-friendly, and drug-free. Greenease does not charge restaurants to be listed. According to their website, Greenease is "partnering with a number of B2B businesses that connect chefs and farmers" so the app can be a resource to chefs as well as consumers. For diners with dietary restrictions, this could be an extremely useful resource. [Official Site]

Green Blender

Screengrab: Green Blender

For the smoothie lover who has everything, Green Blender delivers weekly smoothie recipes and pre-portioned ingredients for 10 servings. A subscription is $49 per week, ($4.90 per smoothie). Definitely cheaper than many juice bars, but unfortunately a subscription doesn't get you a Vitamix. [Official Site]

Training Meals

Screengrab: Training Meals

This is a meal delivery service aimed at fitness-minded clients. Training Meals offers "sous-vide frozen meals for pre-workout, post-work out and everyday sustenance" which are meant to make eating healthy convenient. If you don't mind never having crunch with your meals, this is the plan for you. [Official Site]


Screengrab: Agrilicious

This is another green-minded company. This website aims to be the online hub for all things "local," ostensibly to "expand the family-farmer connection." They are creating content, hosting message boards, sharing infographics, and providing a platform to connect farmers to interested consumers with directories. [Official Site]

Local Food Lab

Screengrab: Local Food Lab

Things get a little bit meta here. On paper, Local Food Lab has similar goals to FOOD-X: namely nurturing early career food entrepreneurs.But where FOOD-X offers startup capital, Local Food Lab offers services like classes, a portfolio building and sharing platform, and a job board. [Official Site]


Screengrab: Nextdoorganics

Nextdoorganics is an NYC-based grocery delivery service: think CSA meets FreshDirect. Food is sourced from "new, young, urban, and activist farmers & food makers" and also from "regional organic farmers." Customers can choose the size of their weekly delivery, ranging in price from $20 - 50. Nextdoorganics is making its way in an increasingly saturated market: Aside from giants like FreshDirect, there are other similar, farm-minded grocery services like Quinciple and Good Eggs that are rapidly growing. [Official Site]

Sian's Plan

Screengrab: Sian's Plan

Sian's Plan is a comprehensive meal planning and grocery list making. Along with recipes that allow users to create detailed shopping lists, the Ireland-based company "integrating with grocery providers" so customers can shop for their ingredients online. It's a rapidly expanding business that combines the fast and healthy weeknight recipe planning with smart tools to make the shopping easier. [Official Site]