By Kristen Hess, Foodable Contributor
On Monday, June 1st, Foodstand partnered with Slow Money NYC to host a special event called the Foodstand Spotlight Series, featuring five budding food entrepreneurs. Each took to the stage to share their business ideas and work, where in return they got advice from a panel of experts including investors, marketers and innovators.
The audience also provided the entrepreneurs with live feedback — advice and creative ideas to help them grow their businesses — via text polling. This will be an ongoing monthly event that will feature five of the newest and brightest in the food industry and help them shine.
Foodstand & Slow Money NYC
Foodstand is a new company with an innovative concept that curates a digital ‘good food’ community through an iPhone app. Members share and discover good finds and creations with a photo, smart tagging and a micro-story from other tastemakers, foodies, entrepreneurs and food growers connecting the best of the best in the food industry.
Slow Money NYC is a startup nonprofit membership organization that connects food entrepreneurs with investors, creating opportunities for investment in small, local food enterprises that will yield a sustainable food system for all and build a diverse community of members who align their investments and values into these food businesses.
Meet This Month’s Food Entrepreneurs
The featured speakers of the evening included Driftaway Coffee, Sweetist Co., Amp Your Good, Servy App and The Fresh Connection. Each presented their businesses to the audience of Foodstand members and panel experts.
Driftaway Coffee is a customized coffee subscription that features new coffees every month to match a personalized profile that you create online. The service helps you find a coffee “personality,” discover and create ratings and tasting notes, flavor profiles and recommendations from other members. Owners Anu and Suyog started the company because they had a huge interest and passion for coffee. In doing research on their competitors and customers, they realized that people want quality and convenience, and that online delivery is not enough.
What specialty coffee consumers really want is personalization and education, which they offer via their Brewinversity. They are soon coming out with a mobile app that will also allow customers to access their profiles and order coffee through the app. With each coffee having its own story on the packaging, Driftaway only offers whole, fresh roasted beans (which they roast themselves!) from different regions around the world. And only from a handful of suppliers that they trust. Their subscriptions come in either 3, 6 or 12 months.
Sweetist Co. is a new online platform and website that offers city bakery deliveries online. They launched a month ago in NYC and work with more than 20 bakeries, including a few well-known ones such as Bouchon, Dough, Dominique Ansel, Magnolia Bakery, Veniero’s, Lady M and more.
Sweetist Co-Founder & CEO Ed Chang and Co-Founder Puja Singh started the company because they realized there were plenty of food delivery websites out there like Seamless and GrubHub. But not many include bakeries because they need their own couriers to offer delivery service, which many bakeries don’t have. This helps bakeries expand their business online and grow their customer base more easily. Sweetist has a variety of delivery options and pricing for consumers, which run anywhere from $4.99 flexible delivery to $14.99 for rush delivery, and free pickup for all bakery clients. Right now, only NYC bakeries are involved with delivery service — from the Financial District up to 125th Street — but Sweetist has future plans to expand to other regions in New York and more cities in the U.S.
Another featured new technology business was Servy, a mobile app developed by Founder Robert Edell. Servy is a next generation mystery shopper platform that provides private, constructive feedback to restaurants from consumers via the app using a cloud-based analytics interface. Users can sign up and evaluate any restaurant in the database, but have to apply to Servy first via the app.
Once approved to participate, users must capture their receipt after dining and upload it with their review. The app allows users to earn rewards for reviews (a 10%-50% reimbursement along with a donated meal to charity). The whole point behind developing the app was to provide restaurants with private, constructive feedback to help them improve service, unlike Yelp and Foursquare, where unfavorable reviews are seen by the public and destroy their reputation.
Servy connects real feedback to individual checks to tell restaurant owners what their teams are doing well and what they can do better. Fees run only $7-$25 per month for a customized program for restaurants, and allows operators and managers to analyze reviews and feedback on their online dashboard on the fly. The Servy mobile app is free for users and is available in the Apple store and Google Play store.
Amplify (Amp Your Good), is a nonprofit, crowd-feeding platform that turns unhealthy, processed donated food into good, fresh and healthy donated food to millions of hungry people. They support multiple food drives and soup kitchens and only use local and organic food growers for their food drives.
The Fresh Connection
The Fresh Connection is a delivery and logistics company that aims to create a more sustainable food system in and around NYC by helping farmers and artisans get their products into the city restaurants and retail stores.
The event was very inspiring and highly recommended for anyone in the food industry looking to expand their business networks, share new ideas and support ‘good food.’