Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies

Connected Food: Disruptive Emerging Technologies

Food Industry: Disruptive Emerging Technologies

The Connected Food Class at General Assembly

At the end of last month I attended a General Assembly class in Boston Massachusetts on behalf of Innovation Excellence called Connected Food.

The website describes the evening by stating that “Emerging technologies are disrupting how local food is produced, sourced, distributed, and consumed — paving the way for new business ideas, challenges, and emerging trends. Join us for an evening of talks and networking dedicated to connecting innovators in the sustainable food industry and helping to re-envision the way business is done”.

The evening program was divided in two halves. In the first half local innovative start-ups described the processes that had lead them to their current market situation, while in the second part another group of start-up owners described their fund raising experiences.

The first group had a very different look and take to the second group. They included Jeff Barry the owner of Boston organics, a home delivery organic food distributor, Igor Kharitonenkov, co-founder of Bootstrap Compost, Joshua Resnikoff of Cuppow and JD Kemp of ORFoodex.

This was a very earthy group, they deal in dirt, food waste and spillage. Comments were varied about their experiences, but they generally held the line that the model of asking for millions of dollars for start up funding was not one that they would choose. This argument seemed to be based upon an idea that large start up money was invested “looking for the new Amazon”, and not into “collecting scraps of waste food” or making deals with farmers for organic carrots.

Resnikoff told of various other food related start-ups that he had been involved in that had failed to take off, and in general the group painted a very realistic picture of their entrepreneurial experiences.

I felt that there was an implicit argument however running through the debate that because they believed that their organizations were founded in some way for the social good, they did not feel a great affinity with the (at least Cambridge) world of high finance start-ups.

One comment that was particular telling urged the audience not to worry about obtaining a million dollars of start up money but to “get hold of $5000 if you can, then think about how to spend it and then look for more, forget about the millions”.

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