June 23, 2014 – Mixing Bowl, Palo Alto, CA
The Mixing Bowl, a newly established hub to connect innovators from the food, agriculture and IT industries, held its inaugural “Food IT: Soil to Fork” event at the sold-out Stanford Arrillaga Alumni Center on June 20th. At the conference two winners from The Blender!, a startup pitch competition judged by influential venture capitalists and industry veterans., were announced. Twelve early-stage companies presented their business plans and products, half under a “Food” track and the other under a “Farm” track.
For the Food Blender competition, focusing on startups with technology innovations in the food value chain, Pantry Labs won with their unique approach to delivering fresh foods via innovative vending machines. Art Tchachenko, CEO, described how their RFID- and computer-vision-enabled vending machines can disrupt a junk-food dominant, $43B market that has been relatively unchanged since the ‘70s. Other participants in the Food Blender included runner-up 6SensorLabs, makers of a lab-quality gluten food sensor for consumers, as well as The Farmery, Cozymeal,Homemade, and InChefs.
For the Farm Blender competition, focusing on startups with technology innovations in farming and agriculture, eHarvest Hub won with their vertical marketplace solution for small- to mid-sized farmers. Alvaro Ramirez, CEO & serial entrepreneur, outlined how their platform gives farmers transparency to delivery and freight in order to simplify their distribution capabilities. Agronomic Technology Corporate gained distinction as the runner-up for the Farm Blender with their SAAS-based nitrogen management platform. Other participants included Apitronics, Summer Technologies, Sustainable Microfarms, and Vital Fields.
“The Blender winners have shown what it takes to be true leaders and role models in a growing sector of IT-related food and agriculture innovation,” said Rob Trice, Founder of The Mixing Bowl. “We’re thrilled with the high-caliber turnout of entrepreneurs, investors and farmers for The Food IT: Soil to Fork conference, and thank all of the participants in The Blender! pitch session for their impressive work”.
The Food and Farm Blender pitch events were judged by:
Geoffrey Eisenberg, Ecosystem Integrity Fund
Stacy Feld, Physic Ventures
Ryan Kottenstette, Khosla Ventures
Jonathan Mi, BrightPath Capital
Deborah Magid, IBM Ventures
Paul Matteucci, US Venture Partners
Derek Norman, Syngenta Ventures
John Selep, AgTech Innovation Fund
Sarah Vared, MissionPoint Capital
Greg Young, MLS Capital