#Brandneu – 8 junge Startups, die wir ganz genau im Blick behalten


Jeden Tag entstehen überall in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz neue Startups. deutsche-startups.de präsentiert an dieser Stelle wieder einmal einige ganz junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Tagen, Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind sowie einige junge Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind und erstmals für Schlagzeilen gesorgt haben.

misambo
Über misambo können Nutzer den “richtigen Wohn-Partner finden”. Dabei kommt ein Matching-Algorithmus zum Einsatz. Das Startup ist quasi eine Art Parship in Sachen Zusammenwohnen. Die Gründer teilen dazu mit: “Die Anspru?che werden in einem speziell entwickelten Fragebogen abgeglichen”. Gründer sind Sarah Pahl, Frank Stelter und Steffen Maurer.

Salestext
Salestext aus Hamburg bietet Unternehmen mittels einer cloud-basierten Lösung persönliche Kundenkommunikation in Echtzeit. Es geht somit um das Senden, Empfangen und verwalten von Textnachrichten. “Sei es für Neukundengewinnung, Kundenservice, Terminerinnerungen oder Marketing”, teilt das Startup, das von Ana Kamin gegründet wurde, mit.

Carré Mobility
Das junge Unternehmen Carré Mobility entwickelt eine “nachhaltige und soziale Mobilitätsplattform”. “Im Kern verbindet Carré Mobility über eine digitale Lösung stationsbasiertes Sharing vom Fahrrad bis Auto, mit einer Fahrgemeinschaftslösung und einem Mitbring-Service”, teilt das Startup mit. Gründer sind Franziska Weiser und Norbert Ritz-Schmidt.

moebelmatch
Das Startup moebelmatch tritt an, die Welt der Schreinermöbel zu digitalisieren. Über die Plattform aus Köln, die von Miriam Oheri und Stephan Jaber gegründet wurde, kann jeder recht simpel individuelle Möbel mithilfe von zahlreichen Designoptionen gestalten und als Auftrag an Schreiner aus ganz Deutschland übermitteln.

Fox Water
Unter dem Namen Fox Water bringt Dominik Wojcik, der zuletzt patronus.io gegründet hat, ein sogenanntes Hard Seltzer, also ein alkoholhaltiges Sprudelwasser, auf den Markt. Zum Start gibt es Fox Water in den Geschmacksrichtungen Kirsche, Zitrone und Apfel.

Betterfront
Betterfront bietet Private-Equity-Fondsmanager eine datengesteuerte Fundraisingplattform, die durch Analysen Investitionsentscheidungen unterstützen soll. Zudem sollen Fondsmanager mit dem Fintech “institutionelle Anleger gewinnen, binden und halten können”. Gründer sind Michel Geolier, Worathti Manosroi und Sergi Case.

cmmrcl.ly
Das Hamburger Startup cmmrcl.ly übernimmt für Werbungtreibende und Agenturen den Aufbau, die Steuerung und Bewerbung aller Social Commerce-Kanäle. Dabei bewerten die Hanseaten auch “alle digitalen Absatzmöglichkeiten anhand des individuellen Zielbeitrags”. Gründer sind Jakob Diener, Robin Göbelshagen, Manuel König und Max Poth.

Formel Skin
Formel Skin aus Berlin, bisher unter True Skin bekannt, bietet “individuelle Lösung gegen Hautunreinheiten”. Das Startup verspricht dabei: “Ein Dermatologe stellt eine Creme mit aktiven Wirkstoffen für Deine Haut zusammen”. Formel Skin wurde 2019 von Anton Kononov und Florian Semler gegründet.

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über junge, frische und brandneue Startups, die noch nicht jeder kennt. Alle diese Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der bundesweiten Startup-Szene und im besten Fall auf die Agenda von Investoren, Unternehmen und potenziellen Kooperationspartnern. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#aktuell, #beauty, #berlin, #betterfront, #brandneu, #carre-mobility, #cmmrcl-ly, #fintech, #food, #formel-skin, #fox-water, #hamburg, #koln, #misambo, #moebelmatch, #munchen, #proptech, #russelsheim, #salestext, #startup-radar, #true-skin, #wildeshausen

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The Fed-Up Chef

Gaggan Anand turned his Indian restaurant in Bangkok into a pilgrimage site for globe-hopping foodies. So why, even before the pandemic hit, was he willing to give it up?

#chefs, #food, #gaggan-anand, #indian-food-cuisine, #restaurants, #worlds-50-best-restaurants

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Robotic kitchen startup YPC raises a $1.8M seed round

Montreal-based YPC Technologies today announced that it has raised a $1.8 million seed round. Led by Hike Ventures and Real Ventures, the funding includes participation from Toyota AI Ventures and Uphill Capital, among others, designed to help the company pilot its kitchen robotics technology.

Toyota’s funding came as part of the company’s “Call of Innovation,” which finds it investing in early state AI, robotics and other cutting edge technologies. “At TRI, we’re always searching for ways to amplify human ability and help improve quality of life,” TRI’s Gil Pratt said in a statement. “Through the call for innovation, we got a first-hand look at how startups like YPC Technologies are addressing the needs of people in urban communities, and we’re encouraged and excited by their efforts.”

Robotics and automation generation has been a fairly hot category for VC investment, amid the on-going COVID-19 shut down. Food robotics, in particular, have been a focus. And it makes sense, certainly. After all, providing people with sustenance is about as essential as services get. The startup’s solution is built around a robotic arm that can prepare recipes with a variety of different ingredients — similar to other models we’ve seen.

One of the subscription-based service’s selling points is that it requires a relatively small amount of space, versus a standard commercial kitchen. That makes is a bit more versitile in applications, allowing it to be deployed in not only restaurants but smaller facilities like ghost kitchens and hotels.

The company also points out that the system is designed to work collaboratively with humans, replacing repetitive tasks rather than staff positions outright.

#food, #funding, #kitchen, #robotics, #toyota-research-institute, #tri

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#Interview – “Wir wurden von der Masse an Bestellungen förmlich überrannt”


Beim Kölner Startup Elimba dreht sich alles um Kakao. “Elimba ist das erste Unternehmen weltweit, welches für seinen Kakao nach dem Vorbild der Inkas, die ganze und ungeröstete Kakaobohne, samt der wohltuenden Inhaltsstoffe verwendet, die sonst bei Rösten verloren gehen”, teilen die Rheinländer mit. Zielgruppe sind insbesondere Erwachsene. “Geschmacklich als auch Wirkungstechnisch gibt es kein vergleichbares Produkt auf dem Markt”, sagt Gründer Elias El Gharbaoui.

Im Interview mit deutsche-startups.de spricht der Elimba-Macher über Gewürze, Südamerika und Löwen.

Wie würdest Du Deiner Großmutter Elimba erklären?
Wenn ich meiner Großmutter unser Startup erklären würde, würde ich sie fragen, ob sie sich noch an den Kakao erinnert, den sie mir damals als Kind gemacht hat. Und jetzt soll sie sich vorstellen, dass es statt diesem flachen und auf Kinder ausgelegten Kakao, Elimba gibt. Ein Kakao der intensiv ist, spannende Gewürze verwendet und sich an dem Geschmack und an den Bedürfnissen Erwachsener orientiert. Wie eine schokoladige Alternative zum Kaffee, die für alle da ist, die sich für bewusste und gesunde Ernährung interessieren. Dann würde sie mich wahrscheinlich fragen, wie das zusammenpasst und ich könnte ihr erklären, dass die Kakaobohne in ihrem ungerösteten Zustand wahnsinnig gesund ist. Magnesium, Antioxidantien und ein Einfluss auf unseren Serotoninspiegel, also unsere Glückshormone, machen Rohkakao einzigartig. Wir nutzen das, indem wir nur hochwertigen Rohkakao und Bio-Zutaten verwenden und zeigen so, dass schokoladiger Genuss deinem Körper und Geist wirklich guttun kann. Bei uns ist „Schokolade macht glücklich“ eben nicht nur ein Mythos.

Welches Problem genau wollt Ihr mit Elimba lösen?
Uns ist aufgefallen, dass fast niemand das Potential von Kakao kennt. In Südamerika ist das ganz anders. Dort haben schon die Mayas und Inkas den Kakao für seine wohltuenden Eigenschaften geschätzt. Wir wollen, dass dieses Verständnis auch bei uns ankommt und die moderne Kaffeehauskultur sowie vegane Ernährung mit Produkten aus Rohkakao bereichern. Dabei setzen wir außerdem auf eine Zubereitungsform, die unsere Sinne anspricht und uns einlädt sich eine Auszeit zu nehmen. Slow Food und Achtsamkeit spielen bei uns eine große Rolle.

Jede Woche entstehen dutzende neue Startups, warum wird ausgerechnet Elimba ein Erfolg?
Mit Elimba erschließen wir einen bisher nicht vorhandenen Markt, da wir das erste Kakaogetränk mit einer erwachsenen Zielgruppe sind. Geschmacklich als auch Wirkungstechnisch gibt es kein vergleichbares Produkt auf dem Markt.

Ihr habt im vergangenen Jahr an der Vox-Show “Die Höhle der Löwen! teilgenommen. Hat sich die Teilnahme für euch gelohnt?
“Die Höhle der Löwen” war für uns ein unglaublich großer Erfolg. Wir haben so viele Bestellungen bekommen und an Bekanntheit gewonnen, dass wir als Unternehmen stark wachsen konnten. Dadurch konnten wir einige Prozesse optimieren, unser Team ist gewachsen und sind nun auch an dem Punkt die ersten neuen Produkte zu launchen. Wer weiß ob wir ohne “Die Höhle der Löwen” auch an diesem Punkt wären – vermutlich aber nicht.

Lief alles so, wie ihr es euch vorgestellt habt?
Wir wurden von der Masse an Bestellungen förmlich überrannt und konnten deshalb nur einen Bruchteil der Ware sofort ausliefern. Daraufhin haben wir allerdings unsere Produktion vergrößert, neue Maschinen gekauft und den Produktionsprozess optimiert. Trotzdem hat es fast drei Monate gedauert bis alle Bestellungen ausgeliefert wurden. Auch wenn diese Zeit für uns nicht einfach war, sind wir dadurch Produktionstechnisch sehr gut aufgestellt und haben nun die Möglichkeit auch große Kaufanfragen zu bewältigen.

Euer Tipp an andere Gründer, die mit einem Auftritt bei “Die Höhle der Löwen” liebäugeln?
Wir würden jedem*r Gründer*in empfehlen teilzunehmen. Denn selbst wenn man keine passende*n Investor*innen findet, ist es eine unglaublich spannende Erfahrung und außerdem eine Möglichkeit sein Produkt einem großen Publikum vorzustellen.

Reden wir zudem noch über den Standort Köln. Wenn es um Startups in Deutschland geht, richtet sich der Blick sofort nach Berlin. Was spricht für Köln als Startup-Standort?
Köln an sich ist relativ überschaubar, aber im Food Startup-Bereich vergleichsweise gut aufgestellt. Außerdem gibt es hier ein sich gegenseitig stark unterstützendes und wohlwollendes Netzwerk in der Szene.

Was genau macht den Reiz der Startup-Szene in Köln aus?
Die Startup-Szene in Köln ist sich untereinander sehr wohl gesonnen und durch die überschaubare Größe sehr eng miteinander vernetzt. Wir haben uns schon öfter ausgetauscht, miteinander kommuniziert und pflegen einen engen Kontakt, den es in anderen Städten so wahrscheinlich nicht gibt.

Was ist in Köln einfacher als im Rest der Republik?
Man kennt Köln ja als weltoffene Stadt, die sagt „Jede Jeck is anders“. Diese Mentalität, die durch Offenheit und Akzeptanz geprägt ist, überträgt sich auch auf die Start-Up Szene. Dadurch werden das Kennenlernen und auch das Zusammenarbeiten sofort sehr angenehm, sowohl im Geschäftlichen als auch im Zwischenmenschlichen.

Was fehlt in Köln noch?
Wir finden, dass es in Deutschland generell schwierig ist, passende Investor*innen zu finden. Das gilt natürlich auch für Köln. Die Capital Venture Kultur oder Gesellschaften sind hier leider nicht so ausgeprägt, wie man sich das als Start-Up wünschen würde.

Zum Schluss hast Du drei Wünsche frei: Was wünschst Du Dir für den Startup-Standort Köln?
Unsere drei Wünsche wären Erstens: Dass sich die Suche nach Investor*innen einfacher gestaltet. Zweitens: Gerne noch mehr Networking-Events, die Startups auch mit etablierten Unternehmen in Kontakt bringen und natürlich. Drittens: Dass die Mentalität der Kölner*innen so bleibt, wie sie ist.

Durchstarten in Köln – #Koelnbusiness

In unserem Themenschwerpunkt Köln berichten wir gezielt über die Digitalaktivitäten in der Rheinmetropole. Mit circa 400 Startups, über 60 Coworking Spaces, Acceleratoren und Inkubatoren sowie attraktiven Investoren, zahlreichen Veranstaltungen und Netzwerken bieten Köln und das Umland ein spannendes Ökosystem für Gründerinnen und Gründer. Diese Rubrik wird unterstützt von der KölnBusiness Wirtschaftsförderungs-GmbH#Koelnbusiness auf LinkedInFacebook und Instagram.

KoelnBusiness

Foto (oben): Elimba

#aktuell, #die-hohle-der-lowen, #elimba, #food, #interview, #koln, #reloaded

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Alibaba Group will spend $3.6 billion to take control of Chinese supermarket giant Sun Art

Alibaba Group said today it will spend about $3.6 billion to take a controlling stake in Sun Art, one of China’s largest big-box and supermarket chains. After the transaction is complete, Alibaba Group will own 72% of Sun Art.

As in other countries, COVID-19 lockdowns increased demand for online food orders in China, drawing in shoppers who had still preferred to buy groceries in person. Even though lockdowns have lifted, many have continued to purchase online. Alibaba’s new investment in Sun Art will be made by acquiring 70.94% of equity interest in A-RT Retail Holdings from France-based Auchan Retail International. A-RT Retail holds about 51% of the equity interest in Sun Art.

After the deal closes, Alibaba will consolidate Sun Art in its financial statements. Sun Art chief executive officer Peter Huang has also been named its new chairman.

Alibaba first invested in Sun Art back in 2017, spending about $2.88 billion to pick up a 36.16% share in the chain, whose brands include RT-Mart, as part of its “New Retail” strategy.

“New Retail” aims to blur the lines between online and offline commerce through steps like turning physical stores in pickup points for online orders, integrating supply chains and enabling shoppers to use the same digital payment methods on its e-commerce platforms and in brick-and-mortar stores.

All of Sun Art’s 484 physical retail locations in China are now integrated into Alibaba’s Taoxianda and Tmall Supermarket platforms for groceries, as well as Ele.me and Cainiao, its on-demand food demand delivery app and logistics businesses, respectively. For customers, this means faster deliveries and larger selections, while giving Alibaba more sources of data it can use to improve its supply chain and business operations.

Other e-commerce companies are taking a similar approach to integrating offline and online grocery shopping, including Alibaba’s main rival JD, which has similar alliances with supermarket group Yonghui and Walmart.

In press statement, Alibaba chairman and chief executive officer Daniel Zhang said, “As the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the digitization of consumer lifestyles and enterprise operations, this commitment to Sun Art serves to strengthen our New Retail vision and serve more consumers with a fully integrated experience.”

#alibaba, #alibaba-group, #asia, #china, #food, #fundings-exits, #grocery-delivery, #o2o, #on-demand, #sun-mart, #tc

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#DealMonitor – Portal United übernimmt Homebell – 4you Design rettet Geschenke.de – Allos kauft Little Lunch


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 15. Oktober werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

4tiitoo 
+++ Die österreichische Unternehmerin Sandra Berkson und Business Angels aus dem BayStartUP Investoren-Netzwerk investieren  3,1 Millionen Euro in Münchner Startup 4tiitoo (forty two). Das Unternehmen, das von Tore Meyer und Stephan Odörfer gegründet wurde, kümmert sich um das Thema Blicksteuerung bei der Computerbedienung. “Aufgrund des anhaltend hohen Interesses bleibt die Finanzierungsrunde noch bis Ende November im Zuge eines Second Closing für weitere Investoren geöffnet”, teilt das Satrtup mit.

Julep
+++ Die Rheinische Post Mediengruppe, die Unternehmensfamilie Müller Medien und Angel-Investoren wie Andreas Mayer, früher BurdaNews, investieren mit den Altinvestoren Andreas Wiele und Marcus Prosch sowie dem Julep-Management 2 Millionen Euro in Julep, einen Marktplatz für Podcaster und Werbungtreibende. Insgesamt floss nun schon mehrere Millionen in das Unternehmen. Initiatoren von Julep sind Marcus Englert und Sebastian Weil. Zum Gründungsteam gehören außerdem Björn Jopen und Manfred Neumann.

Workpath
+++ signals Venture Capital investiert eine siebenstellige Summe in das Münchner Startup Workpath. “Mit intuitiven Workflow-Tools und umfangreichen Analytics hilft Workpath Unternehmen, ihre Strategien durch OKRs erfolgreich umzusetzen”, teilt die Jungfirma mit. Der High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) investierte in der Vergangenheit bereits in Workpath, das 2017 von Johannes Müller, Thomas Obermüller und Pascal Fritzen gegründet wurde.

mementor
+++ Smart Infrastructure Ventures und mehrere Business Angels, darunter Michael Petersen., Gründer von smow, investieren eine sechsstellige Summe in das Leipziger Startup mementor. Die Jungfirma, die von Noah Lorenz, Jan Kühni und Alexander Rötger gegründet wurde,  “entwickelt “wissenschaftlich fundierte Gesundheitsprogramme in der Schlafmedizin”. Derzeit bietet das Startup mit der App somnio, eine digitale Anwendung zur Behandlung von Ein- und Durchschlafstörungen an.

FUSIONEN

Chattyco / Volojoy 
+++ Die beiden Startups Chattyco und Volojoy, beide im Segment Videobotschaften von Stars aus Deutschland unterwegs, schließen sich zusammen. “Mit dem Zusammenschluss ist jetzt eine der größten und attraktivsten Plattformen für Fan-Videobotschaften in Europa entstanden”, teilen die Unternehmen mit. Das Berliner Startup Chattyco, das von Sylvius Bardt gegründet wurde, konnte zuletzt unter anderem STS Ventures, also Stephan Schubert, als Investor gewinnen. Hinter Volojoy steckt der Berliner Seriengründer Heissam Hartmann.

EXITS

Homebell
Das Kölner Unternehmen Portal United, zu dem unter anderem die Handwerker-Plattform blauarbeit.de gehört, übernimmt die Überreste von Homebell. In das gescheiterte Berliner Startup, einem Handwerker-Dienstleister, das die Leistungen von Handwerksbetrieben vermittelte, flossen in den vergangenen Jahren rund 20 Millionen Euro – unter anderem von Rocket Internet, Lakestar, SevenVentures, Kärcher New Venture, Index Ventures, Helvetia Venture und Axa. Homebell soll künftig ausschließlich im B2B-Segment unterwegs sein. #EXKLUSIV

Geschenke.de
+++ Die 4you Design-Macher Nina Wiegand und Philip Wiegand übernehmen das Hamburger Startup Geschenke.de, das Anfang April in die Insolvenz schlitterte. Geschenke.de, eine schon seit Jahren bestehende Empfehlungsplattform für Geschenke, sollte zuletzt mit Unterstützung von Hanse Ventures aufblühen. Geführt wurde das Unternehmen nach der Übernahme durch Hanse Ventures von den beiden ehemaligen Parship-Führungskräften Sabrina O. Beck und York N. Fischer. Mit 4you Design betreiben Nina und Philip Wiegand einen “Geschenke-Hersteller, Geschenke-Großhändler und Dropshipping Anbieter für innovative Geschenke”. #EXKLUSIV

Little Lunch
+++ Das Lebensmittel-Unternehmen Allos, das seit 1974 vegetarische Bio-Lebensmittel vertreibt, übernimmt das Suppen-Startup Little Lunch. Die Jungfirma, die 2014 von Daniel und Denis Gibisch gegründet wurde, wurde durch die Teilnahme an der Vox-Show “Die Höhle der Löwen” bundesweit bekannt. Vural Öger, Judith Williams und Frank Thelen investierten 2015 insgesamt 100.000 Euro in Little Lunch und sicherten sich damals 30 % der Firmenanteile. Nach eigenen Angaben erzielte Little Lunch zuletzt “Umsätze im zweistelligen Millionenbereich”. Zuletzt war das Unternehmen mit verschiedenen internationalen Firmen und Investoren im Gespräch. Letztendlich hat die Allos Hof-Manufaktur mit dem besten Gesamtpaket bestehend aus Firmenkultur und internationalem Know-how samt Netzwerk überzeugt”, teilen die Gründer mit. Auch nach der Übernahme bleiben die Gibisch-Brüder bei Little Lunch an Bord.

Deine Tierwelt
Die Uelzener Allgemeine Versicherungs-Gesellschaft übernimmt die tierische Plattform Deine Tierwelt, die bisher von der Madsack Mediengruppe betrieben wurde. “Das operative Geschäft der Online-Community wird unverändert vom Standort Hannover aus fortgesetzt”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Mit monatlich 10 Millionen Nutzern und circa 200.000 vermittelten Tieren ist die Plattform, die 2007 an den Start ging, nach Firmenangaben “größter Player auf dem deutschen Online-Tiermarkt”.

VENTURE CAPITAL

Xpress Ventures
+++ Das Logistikunternehmen Fiege (Greven) baut mit Xpress Ventures einen Company-Builder auf.  “Dieser soll Ideen für neue Unternehmen ausbrüten und dann daraus Start-ups gründen” – berichtet das Handelsblatt. Geführt wird das Berliner Unternehmen von Matthias Friese, der zuletzt unter anderem Patronus.io gegründete. Vorbilder für Xpress Ventures und die Company-Builder-Idee ist der Heizungsbauer Viessmann.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#4tiitoo, #4you-design, #aktuell, #augsburg, #berlin, #chattyco, #deine-tierwelt, #food, #frank-thelen, #geschenke-de, #hamburg, #homebell, #julep, #koln, #leipzig, #little-lunch, #mementor, #munchen, #portal-united, #signals-venture-capital, #somnio, #venture-capital, #volojoy, #workpath, #xpress-ventures

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#Brandneu – 8 junge Startups, die jeder kennen sollte


Jeden Tag entstehen überall in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz neue Startups. deutsche-startups.de präsentiert an dieser Stelle wieder einmal einige ganz junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Tagen, Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind sowie einige junge Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind und erstmals für Schlagzeilen gesorgt haben.

tiptab
Das Berliner Startup tiptab tritt an, um das Trinkgeld zu digitalisieren. So funktioniert das Konzept: “Mit tiptab kannst du dem Servicepersonal online Trinkgeld geben, um dich für eine tolle Leistung zu bedanken. Ganz ohne App oder Bargeld”. Das Startup, das von Rawad Traboulsi geführt wird, setzt dabei unter anderem auf “persönliche QR-Code”.

Casablanca.ai
Mit Casablanca.ai möchte Carsten Kraus, Gründer von Omikron Data Quality, die Welt der Videokonferenzen aufmischen. Denn mit dem neuen Tool schaut sich jeder immer in die Augen. Casablanca aus Pforzheim verschiebt dafür die Kameraperspektive rein softwarebasiert hinter die Augen des jeweiligen Gesprächspartners.

AngelReporting
Mit AngelReporting können Angel-Investoren ihr Portfolio verwalten und alle Daten ihrer Beteiligungen im Blick behalten. Das Tool funktioniert vor allem über Fragebögen, die die Daten der Startups abfragen. Hinter dem Startup aus Dortmund stecken brytes-Gründer Hendryk Hosemann und Business Angel Johannis Hatt.

Qantic
Qantic aus Berlin entwickelt eine Software um Stromnetze zu optimieren. “Der Algorithmus hilft dabei, Verbrauch, Speicherung und Erzeugung von Strom aus Erneuerbaren Energien besser aufeinander abzustimmen”, teilt das junge Unternehmen, das von Thomas Kalitzky gegründet wurde, mit. 

PsyTree
Das Startup PsyTree aus Dortmund entwickelt eine besondere Virtual Reality-Umgebung, “die es dem User im privaten, klinischen und Arbeitskontext ermöglicht, bei Stress, Schmerzen und anderen belastenden Situationen sich körperlich und mental zu entspannen”. Das Startup wurde von Ihsan Derin gegründet.

xeem
Hinter xeem aus Darmstadt verbirgt sich eine Art digitales Assessment-Center. Unternehmen müssen sich dabei in sogenannten Micro-Challenges präsentieren. So sollen “zukunftsrelevante Skills, wie Kollaborationsfähigkeit und Innovationskraft, trainiert und Kontakt zu Unternehmen erzeugt” werden. Gegründet wurde die Jungfirma von Geraldine Ulrichs und Janine Weirich.

Haltera
Hinter Haltera verbirgt sich eine webbasierte Videokonferenz-App, die speziell für das Trendthema Fitness entwickelt wurde. Damit wird interaktives Training von überall aus möglich. “Trainer gestalten ihre Formate und ihre Preise selbst und Haltera behält für den Service 20 % pro Buchung”. Gegründet wurde das Startup von Vito Bica und Philipp Eggersglüß.

Unmilk
Das Hamburger Startup Unmilk, das von Jennifer Schäfer gegründet wurde, bietet pflanzliche Protein-Drinks aus glutenfreiem Hafer und Erbsenprotein an. Die vegane Milchalternative, die ohne Zuckerzusatz auskommt, soll insbesondere ernährungsbewusste Konsumenten ansprechen.

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über junge, frische und brandneue Startups, die noch nicht jeder kennt. Alle diese Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der bundesweiten Startup-Szene und im besten Fall auf die Agenda von Investoren, Unternehmen und potenziellen Kooperationspartnern. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#aktuell, #angelreporting, #berlin, #brandneu, #casablanca-ai, #darmstadt, #dortmund, #energie, #fitness, #food, #haltera, #hamburg, #pforzheim, #psytree, #qantic, #ruhrgebiet, #startup-radar, #tiptab, #unmilk, #xeem

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Lab-grown meat project gets first taste of EU public funds

A cultured meat research program led by a Spanish biotech firm has been awarded a €2.7M grant under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 R&D funding framework. The consortium project, called ‘Meat4All’, says it’s the first lab-grown meat research effort to get public investment by the EU — which it’s taking as a sign that regional lawmakers are “effectively” committing to cultured meat.

EU president Ursula von der Leyen has made a Green Deal a key plank of her policy plan for the bloc — with the long term aim of the region being “climate-neutral” by 2050. At the same time factory farming remains a massive contributor of greenhouse gases — meaning there’s an imperative to rethink how Europe produces food and what people eat. Boosting investment in renewable energy and improving building insulation (which the Commission has also pledged to do) won’t be enough to meet key climate targets. So there’s growing opportunity for regional businesses to innovate around meat alternatives — whether that’s lab-grown meat or plant-based proteins.

The Meat4All project was awarded the Horizon 2020 grant at the start of August but it’s just being announced now. San Sebastián-based BioTech Foods, which has been producing a slaughter-free pork-cell based product called Ethicameat sicne 2017, is leading the consortium.

French firm Organotechnie, a biotech supplier, is also participating.

The aim of the project is the “Industrialization and commercialization of a competitive, sustainable and consumer oriented alternative animal protein source”, with their proposal focused on increasing cultured meat production technology; working on market acceptance; and testing to assess safety to bring more cultured meat products to market.

Commenting in a statement, Iñigo Charola, CEO of BioTech Foods, said: “It is hugely satisfying for the entire team at BioTech Foods, and for our partners at Organotechnie, to obtain this backing from the European Union for our ‘Meat4All’ project. This is the first time that Europe has effectively committed to cultured meat. Cultured meat will be a key ingredient of our future diet, and now we have it confirmed also by the institutions.”

Key aims for the consortium include scaling up production of cultured meat from kilograms to tonnes; maintaining the nutritional value for large-scale amounts; obtaining the means to culture cells free from animal serum; and the use of animal cells that have not been genetically modified.

Other stated aims include developing a competitive product and performing taste tests to determine and predict market demand.

“By extending this technology, ‘Meat4All’ will create a new development area which will enable the European industry to leverage the high potential of this market, by fostering competitiveness and creating growth throughout the European Union,” they also write in a press release, adding: “The challenge is none other than to reach the production capacity necessary to supply the meat processing industry.”

#biotech, #biotech-foods, #europe, #food, #future-of-food, #horizon-2020, #lab-grown-meat

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Pret A Manger Will Try Anything to Survive

The pandemic made the lunch chain’s biggest strength — hundreds of stores in central London — its biggest weakness overnight.

#christou-pano, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #food, #layoffs-and-job-reductions, #london-england, #pret-a-manger, #sandwiches

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Where’d I Stash That Chocolate? It’s Easy to Remember

People were more likely to remember the locations of high-calorie foods they’d smelled or tasted than the locations of low-calorie foods.

#calories, #chocolate, #food, #memory

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Using the Pandemic as an Opportunity to Lose Weight and Get in Shape

While many people gained weight during the lockdowns, others have used the change in routine to eat better and exercise more.

#anxiety-and-stress, #content-type-service, #cooking-and-cookbooks, #diet-and-nutrition, #exercise, #food, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #quarantines, #shutdowns-institutional, #weight

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H.B.C.U. Homecomings Are Canceled, but Students and Alumni Will Feast Anyway

Brunch, a major part of homecoming at historically Black colleges and universities, is still on for this year, even if it has to be virtual.

#atlanta-ga, #black-people, #cheyney-university-of-pennsylvania, #florida-am-university, #food, #historically-black-colleges-and-universities, #howard-university, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #waffles, #washington-dc

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#Interview – “Egal, ob letztlich ein Deal zustande kommt oder nicht. Machen!” #DHDL


Auch in der achten Staffel der Vox-Gründer-Show “Die Höhle der Löwen” treten wieder etliche Gründerinnen und Gründer vor die Jury. In der siebten Folge der aktuellen Staffel ist unter anderem Janine Trappe und Felix Pfeffer, die Gründer von Knödelkult, Semmelknödeln im Glas aus 100 % gerettetem Brot. Im Interview mit deutsche-startups.de stellen die die Knödelkult-Macher ihr Startup einmal ganz genau vor.

Welches Problem wollt Ihr mit Knödelkult lösen?
Wer kennt nicht dieses Problem: Man hat Heißhunger auf leckere Knödel und mal wieder keine Oma zur Stelle, die einem schnell welche kochen könnte. Für dieses – überhaupt nicht konstruierte – Problem gibt es unsere Knödel im Glas. Sie sind schnell und einfach zubereitet, lecker und mit ihrer langen Haltbarkeit auch ideal für den Vorratsschrank geeignet.
Außerdem lösen unsere Knödel noch ein echtes Problem von Bäckereien, die jeden Abend vor der Frage stehen, was nun aus den ganzen unverkauften und dennoch super leckeren Broten werden soll. Wir kaufen Bäckereien ihr übriggebliebenes Brot ab, um daraus unsere Knödel zu machen. So retten wir Tag für Tag jede Menge Brot vor der Tonne und schenken ihm ein zweites knödeliges Leben.

Wie ist die Idee zu Knödelkult entstanden?
Knödelkult ist eine wahr gewordene „Schnapsidee“. Eines Abends saßen wir Gründer bei einem Stammtisch zusammen und diskutierten über das Thema Lebensmittelverschwendung: Jedes Jahr werden allein in Deutschland mehr als 500.000 Tonnen Brot weggeworfen. Eine Deutsche Bäckerei produziert täglich durchschnittlich zehn bis 20 % für die Tonne. Hiergegen wollten wir etwas tun. Unser damaliger Mitgründer und Ingenieur Matze hatte die Idee, eine Maschine für Bäcker zu bauen, die aus altem Brot Knödel machen kann. Die Maschine war schnell vom Tisch, aber geblieben ist das Ziel, gegen das sinnlose Brotsterben anzuknödeln.

Wo steht Knödelkult  in einem Jahr?
Zur Knödelsaison 2021 sollen Knödelliebhaber in ganz Deutschland unsere Produkte im Handel finden. Außerdem planen wir noch neue Knödelsorten und weitere Produkte aus gerettetem Brot.

Warum habt ihr euch entschieden, bei “Die Höhle der Löwen” mitzumachen?
Als junges Unternehmen versucht man ja vieles, um die eigene Marke bekannt zu machen. Wir wollten die Chance nutzen, unser Produkt einem großen Publikum vorzustellen und mit etwas Glück einen Löwen für uns zu gewinnen.

Wie nervös wart ihr kurz vor eurem TV-Pitch?
So ein Pitch vor den Löwen ist natürlich alles andere als eine alltägliche Situation und dann sind da noch die ganzen Kameras. Wir waren definitiv aufgeregt, haben uns dann aber auch schnell eingewöhnt.

Euer Tipp an andere Gründer, die mit einem Auftritt bei “Die Höhle der Löwen” liebäugeln?
Wer ein marktreifes Produkt oder eine Dienstleistung bietet ist unserer Meinung nach in der Show gut aufgehoben. Egal, ob letztlich ein Deal zustande kommt oder nicht. Machen!

Tipp: Alles über die Vox-Gründer-Show gibt es in unserer DHDL-Rubrik. Die jeweiligen Deals und Nicht-Deals gibt es hier: “Die Höhle der Löwen (8. Staffel)“, “Die Höhle der Löwen (7. Staffel)Die Höhle der Löwen” – Deals (6. Staffel)Die Höhle der Löwen” – Deals (5. Staffel), “Die Höhle der Löwen – Deals (4. Staffel)“, Die Höhle der Löwen – Deals (3. Staffel)“, “Die Höhle der Löwen – Deals (2. Staffel)“, “Die Höhle der Löwen – Deals (1. Staffel)“.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben):  TVNOW / Bernd-Michael Maurer

#aktuell, #die-hohle-der-lowen, #food, #interview, #knodelkult, #konstanz, #reloaded

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The Otto Wilde Grill delivers the drama of delicious restaurant steak at home

Like many folks this year, I have been cooking a lot. Though I’ve always loved food and have had a deep and abiding interest for the art of cooking, I’ve definitely pushed myself to learn how to do a lot of things from scratch in the kitchen this year. From cooking a decent CTM to a respectable pie, I have hit a lot of my personal milestones over the past few months.

One of the unforeseen consequences of my culinarily driven efforts to stay sane during quarantine this year has been a foray into testing out purpose driven kitchen devices. Though not quite single use (and actually pretty versatile in their own way) devices like the Ooni pizza oven and the Otto Grill have found their way into my ad-hoc outdoor kitchen and I have had a pretty enjoyable time pushing and prodding on them while simultaneously upping my own cooking game.

Which leads me to this review of the Otto Wilde Grill.

What is it?

It’s a 16x17x11” self-contained propane broiler that features two top mounted burners that can reach temperatures of 1,500 degrees F. There is an adjustable grille and a catch pan for grease and a dual use arm that acts as a grille tool and a wrench to adjust the distance between the burners and your food.

It’s designed to cook steak that gets you as close to steakhouse taste and texture as possible. It does so by mimicking the kinds of top mounted broilers that you’ll find in many commercial kitchens.

I’m not going to bury the lede, this thing is $1,000. If you don’t have a G to drop on a cooking thing of any sort, then read on for entertainment and edification. If you DO have that much to spend (maybe) and are wondering why the hell you’d want to, and if you should I think I can deliver those things for you here.

But, why

After my Ooni review, Otto Wilde Grills reached out to see if I wanted to try out their over-fired broiler. I love steak, especially steak at the perfect temp with a restaurant-style carmelized crust. I’ve been able to get decent results over the years with my standard grill and a cast iron skillet — and more recently have been very happy with the sous vide bath + skillet method.

But there is just something about the somewhat violent, crispy, high heat broiler style finish that you get at a steakhouse that I have not been able to duplicate at home. 

Very specifically, the reason that a steakhouse steak hits your table with a carmel crust and nicely distributed interior juice is something called the Maillard reaction. Maillard reactions are different than caramelization, which is basically the heat driven decomposition of sugar. Instead, it is the breakdown and combination of sugars and amino acids. It happens during cooking in many foods but is most important in great tasting meat and bread. It begins to occur in most foods above around 280 °F or so but even higher temperatures can emphasize the resulting effects to the point where you get this deliciously beautiful light brown crust that adds a crunch and even slight sweetness to your foods, especially meats. 

The trick of at home Maillard reactions in steak is how to activate and sustain the process long enough to create the desired result while simultaneously not over-cooking your meat. 

A note: I am reviewing the Otto grill several years after it was initially released (though they do have a new ‘Pro’ model with a really handy drawer and a whole grill system hitting the market). But when they offered to send me one I went and checked out the reviews that were out there. Gonna be honest, even the ‘good’ reviews are pretty poorly done. Either they are done on YouTube by clear grillmasters that assume people know a lot about grilling and don’t really explain much beyond running a steak or two through the grill or they are on…ahem…other sites where they quite clearly have no idea what they are doing. Don’t get me started on the results in some of those reviews. I can’t even. I’m not going to blow up anyone’s spot specifically here, but as a bit of meta I can just say that the current state of food appliance reviews is really, really bad. I think a lot of people do pretty decent jobs reviewing, say, phones or game consoles. Not so much in the kitchen.

Anyway, over-fired broilers are extremely common in commercial kitchens, where ‘infrared’ heat (basically high heat gas shot through pinholes in a ceramic sheet) and radiant heat are primary options. The Otto Grill is an infrared style OFB, which means that it can get to high heat extremely quickly (about 3-5 minutes to 1,500 degrees) and that it cooks VERY fast because most of the heat goes right to the meat. 

Fast, high heat cooking means quicker crust, less gas waste and most importantly, juicier steaks that have less time to dry out. 

A quick how-to

One of the things that I found surprising when I started researching the Otto was that there are very few direct examples of how to cook a steak with it. To that end, here is my basic process for most steaks. Prior to beginning any of this I salt my steaks generously with a nice sea salt. I do not use anything else personally and I would say beware of any rubs with pepper or other ingredients because they can burn quickly in an oven as hot as the Otto.

  1. Fill the water tray halfway. This prevents grease fires and makes cleanup better, as well as introducing a bit of moisture to the cooking environment. 
  2. Pre-heat the Otto at full power. This takes as little as 3 minutes and no longer than 5 from zero to 1,500 degrees. 
  3. Remove the grille and place the steak(s) onto it oriented so that they are covered by one or both burners. 
  4. Pop it back in and use the adjustment lever to move them within about a half inch of the bottom edge of the flame at the top. You should see a roiling, sizzling field of flame turbulence just above the top surface of the meat. 
  5. Cook for around 60 seconds to 90 seconds. 
  6. Lower, remove, and flip end over end to sear the other side. 
  7. Raise, and cook for another 60-90 seconds. 
  8. At this point, if your steak is 1” thick or under and you are ok with medium rare, you are likely done. Remove it and check the temp with a meat thermometer to see if it is at your desired temp.
  9. If it is a thicker cut, reduce the heat to ¾ on both burners and drop the grill to the bottom position. Rotate every 2 minutes and periodically check the meat temp (I do it out of the oven because it’s so hot in there) until you hit desired done levels.
  10. Remove the meat to rest, turn off the Otto and let cool somewhat to clean the tray and grille.

This method has enabled me to cook thinner cuts in as little as 3-5 minutes. Larger cuts may require careful rotation and positioning. 

Steak results

I have cooked a lot of steaks on the Otto over the last couple of months. I’ve done ribeye, sirloin, filet mignon, hangar and T-bone

I cooked a wide variety of cuts at a number of different levels of marbling. The fattier cuts obviously benefited much more from the Otto’s high-temp cooking. The way that it absolutely pulverizes fat allows it to crust perfectly across the surface without creating a dry, crumbly texture. Instead it’s crispy and moist at the same time. 

Also, because it’s a top firing burner, the fat seeps downward, through the meat instead of outwards. The resulting exterior is super delicious and produces a nearly perfectly sized rind every time, leaving a to-temp interior. 

It took me a few steaks to get the methodology above down. I burned a few, for sure. This thing is crazy hot and the times involved are hard to wrap your head around at first. But once you have your rhythm, the Otto Grill cooks an insanely tasty steak from nearly any cut or quality of meat. Otto sent me a few frozen steaks to try, but I’ve mostly cooked my own meat purchased locally, which was much better. But even thawed meat was treated pretty well by this grill, the crust makes up for a lot when you’re working with so-so meat. 

For those of you that know steak, you may be wondering whether it is good at grassfed beef. Yes! It’s actually super killer for grassfed because the high, high heat makes the sear happen super fast, locking in the juice which is at a big premium in leaner grassfed cuts. Grassfed suffers with long cook times, which you won’t find in the Otto. You can cook a very nicely juicy medium rare grassfed cut here.

One major comparison that I think many people who might be in the market to buy this thing will be interested in is how it stacks up against the very popular sous-vide + cast iron sear method also referred to as reverse searing. Cooking your steak in a water bath to achieve precise interior temp and then searing it for crust and flavor has become uber popular for at home cooks in recent years due to the wide availability of consumer grade immersion circulators. 

Sous-vide + sear on left, Otto Grill on right

I’ll say this as simply as possible: I think you can get extremely similar results with sous vide + cast iron, with some pretty straightforward caveats. 

  • Your cast iron has to be super hot. I’m talking 2,000 BTUs and up of gas burner hot. You need that high, hot heat to get that sear to lock in your juices and render your fat quickly. 
  • You’re searing it from the bottom by contact rather than the top by proximity, which means that fat will have a tendency to boil away and you need to continuously circulate your juices using butter or another oil. 
  • Smoke and spatter. You’re going to generate plenty of both on a skillet. 

Sous-vide + sear on left, Otto Grill on right

If you’re really used to reverse searing and you love your results, I still do think there are a couple of areas where the Otto can up your game a bit, but the general taste and satisfaction will be in the ballpark. One thing I did try which worked out well is a tri-tip — a huge cut that is popular in California that would not do well normally here. I did a sous-vide bath + reverse sear in the Otto and those turned out really lovely. 

I liked the Otto’s more delineated rind that creates that nice flavor seal along the interior edge of your cut of meat. I also think that it can be very easy to over cook thin steaks while searing if you can’t get your skillet super hot. 

The biggest overall benefit of course, is time. If you write off the resting time to bring your meat to room temp, which is passive cooking time, then you’re looking at anywhere from 1-3 hours to sous vide a thick cut steak. The Otto heats in 3 minutes and cooks in anywhere from 5-10 minutes. It’s a huge time savings for equal or better results.

One design consideration worth mentioning is that because there are two burners with a dead space in between, you must shift larger cuts to allow them to sear evenly if they span two burners. I wouldn’t call it a flaw as it is definitely pushing it to shove a wall-to-wall steak in there. I would love to see future versions of the oven reduce the space between the burners in order to allow more coverage for bigger steaks. This is a non factor if your steak fits under one burner, and most do in general. 

The catch pan, by the way, is pretty instrumental. Filling it with water reduces the chances that your fat will catch on fire, burning portions of your steak, and it makes cleaning up super easy as you can sluice out the still warm grease water and then brush it clean. I will note, at the risk of some ribbing, that I forgot to put some water in the pan once and may have added some…decorative smoke work to my grill’s face. Cook outdoors.

Pizza

Otto says you can make pizza in this thing too — and they even make a stone and peel. Well, you can, but I’d say how enthusiastic you get about it is going to sort of depend on what your standards for pizza are. 

The pizzas that I made in the Otto with the stone are, uh, they’re fine I guess. It’s absolutely, totally possible to do a little personal-sized pizza in the Otto, especially if you par bake the crust. But anything you do in here is going to pale next to the Ooni. I’d actually much rather just gin a up a little pan pizza that you can do in your regular home oven. There are a lot of reasons to buy the Otto, but pizza should not be a primary one, in my opinion.

I did cook a beautiful batch of naan in it though which was lovely. It’s basically common sense. Anything in the flatbread family is going to do wonderful here, but stuff with toppings needs to be par baked because it’s so damn hot.

Other stuff

Can you cook other stuff in the Otto? Yeah, 100%. Basically anything you can throw in a cast iron pan and sear up will do well in the Otto. Examples I’ve tried include peppers and onions, fruit and veg medleys and crispy potatoes drizzled in oil. Because the cast iron gets nice and evenly hot and you have a top broiler it makes for an ideal searing environment. It is hot as hell even at the lower settings though, so you need to keep an eye on it. 

Should you buy it?

Otto Wilde likely have their own ideas about the target market for their grills but for me it’s: has disposable income, loves steak enough to eat it 3x a week and already owns at least one or two other specialty grilling items. Basically, Big Green Egg owners. While something like a BGE is amazing at low and slow and smoking, it takes a hell of a lot to stoke and maintain the heat you’d need to get a caramelizing sear and in the end your steak would definitely be dryer. 

The Otto Grill is basically the consumerized version of a commercial kitchen staple item. Could you buy something like a Salamander for like $1,300? Sure, but at that point you’re a commercial kitchen and you’re gonna need a natural gas plumb and probably a business license. Just rent a strip mall slot or a food truck. 

Overall I found the design to be thoughtful, straightforward and reliable. Though I did have some ignition issues as described earlier, this is frank German engineering at its most utility-driven. The Otto Grill is expensive, but does precisely perform the task that it claims to make possible. I have cooked steaks by many different methods over the years and as I mentioned above, some of them are absolute stand-bys because they are really close to restaurant methodology. But for steakhouse style crust delivered absolutely consistently with the minimum of time and effort, the Otto Grill stands alone.

#barbecue, #beef, #cook, #food, #food-and-drink, #grilling, #meat, #oil, #steak, #tc

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A Life of James Beard Stocked With Tasty Morsels

“The Man Who Ate Too Much,” by John Birdsall, a food critic and former cook, offers a thoroughly researched, sensitive portrait of the man known as the “dean of American cookery.”

#beard-james, #beard-james-foundation, #birdsall-john-1959, #books-and-literature, #cooking-and-cookbooks, #food, #the-man-who-ate-too-much-the-life-of-james-beard-book

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DoorDash introduces a new corporate product, DoorDash for Work

Delivery service DoorDash is giving employers a way to feed their remote employees through a new suite of products called DoorDash for Work.

There are four main products, starting with DashPass for Work, where employers can fund employee memberships to DashPass, a program that eliminates delivery fees on orders from thousands of restaurants. In fact, DoorDash says it already worked with Mt. Sinai to offer free DashPass subscriptions to 42,000 healthcare employees, and that other DashPass for Work customers include Charles Schwab, Hulu and Stanford Research Park.

DoorDash for Work also includes the ability for employers to provide credits for meal orders — there are options for day and time restrictions, so employers can be sure they’re paying for food while someone is working. For teams that are working in-person, there’s the ability to combine individual meal orders into a larger group order. And the service also includes employee gift cards (Zoom, for example, is providing these on employee birthdays).

In a blog post, Broderick McClinton, the head of DoorDash for Work, noted that COVID-19 has had “a profound impact on our daily routines, including the way we eat.”

“Instead of meeting our favorite barista on the way into the office or socializing with our colleagues in the lunch room, we’re spending a lot more time in the kitchen and eating solo at home, missing out on those moments to engage with peers and support our favorite restaurants,” McClinton wrote. “In this new normal, companies are adapting and looking for ways to support their employees’ wellbeing and productivity through new work-from-home corporate wellness benefits, including food perks.

While free food might seem relatively low on the list of priorities during the pandemic (at least for those of us who have been fortunate enough to keep our jobs), DoorDash says it conducted a survey of 1,000 working Americans last month and found that 90% of them said they miss at least one food-related benefit from the office.

So DoorDash for Work is designed to help employers continue offering benefits in this area, and also it opens up a new source of revenue for DoorDash.

 

#doordash, #ecommerce, #enterprise, #food, #startups

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4 sustainable industries where founders and VCs can see green by going green

Now’s the time for sustainable investments to shine. There are billions of dollars in funding in both public and private markets dedicated to new sustainable investing and demand for consumers for a more conscious capitalism has never been stronger.

As founders and investors reawaken to a sustainable morning in America a few areas are going to demand hardware, software and business model innovations.

Some of these sectors have been on the investment radar for the past year or two and others are just beginning to capture investor attention, but they all have something in common: the investor appetite for new businesses addressing the food supply chain; energy management and construction for homes and offices; carbon sequestration and monitoring and management of offsets; and new biomaterials and processes for packaging and industrial chemicals replacements have never been stronger.

If we’re going to feed the world, let’s start with the food chain.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has exposed significant holes in the food supply. Companies like AppHarvest, which agreed to go public through a SPAC earlier this year are only one of several companies remaking agriculture through the application of technology. There’s also Plenty, Bowery Farms, Unfold, BrightFarms and Revol Greens, working to upend the agricultural supply chain. If those companies are looking at new ways of growing crops, companies like Apeel Sciences and Hazel Technologies are trying to find ways to preserve food from spoilage. Treasure8 is looking at ways to use food waste for new food and ingredients and they’re not alone.

Then there’s the protein replacement companies that we’ve written about previously. Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, Memphis Meats, Mosa Meat, Nuggs, Future Meat Technologies, Shiok Meats (a seafood company) are devising methods to create meaty proteins less dependent on animal husbandry. Perfect Day and its competitors are doing the same for the dairy industry.

There’s also tremendous need for new protein sources to feed the animals that people around the world still like to eat. For this there’re companies like Ynsect, which is providing insect proteins for industrial fish farms, or Grubly Farms, which is providing feed to the families raising their own chickens.

For these opportunities that are raising hundreds of millions in financing there are others that require the kind of high margin software solutions that are yet to be developed. These are visual technologies for tracking, monitoring and managing food production; sensors for improving the storage and supply chain, software for managing production and tracking produce and products from the farm to the table. Venture investors are beginning to invest in these companies as well.

#apeel-sciences, #beyond-meat, #biotech, #blue-pillar, #blueprint-power, #carbon-sequestration, #carbonchain, #food, #food-supply-chain, #ginkgo-bioworks, #greentech, #hazel-technologies, #impossible-foods, #memphis-meats, #normative, #pachama, #renewable-energy, #solugen, #startups, #tc, #techcrunch-disrupt, #venture-capital, #ynsect, #zymergen

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A clean energy company now has a market cap rivaling ExxonMobil

The news last week that NextEra Energy, a U.S. utility and renewable energy company, briefly overtook ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco to become the world’s most valuable energy producer shows just how valuable sustainable businesses have become. It’s yet another proof point that there are billions of dollars available for companies focused on renewable energy alone — and a sign that, finally, the floodgates may be about to open for companies that build their businesses to service a sustainability revolution.

Large money managers are already returning to investing in earlier stage sustainability investments after an extended hiatus. These are institutional investors like the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, which could commit billions between them to technologies focused on mitigating the impacts of climate change or reducing greenhouse gas emissions across industries. The flood of dollars into renewable energy and sustainable technologies actually began in the first quarter of the year.

Some of the largest private equity funds in the U.S. like Blackstone (with $571 billion in assets under management), announced a flood of investments into renewable power generation and storage. Blackstone alone invested nearly $1 billion into Altus Power Generation, a renewable energy developer, and NRStor, an energy storage company; while Generate Capital raised $1 billion for renewable energy infrastructure projects; and Warburg Pincus (with over $50 billion in assets under management) backed Scale Microgrids, which developed clean energy and storage projects, with another $300 million. In March, the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board closed its investment in Pattern Energy Group, a $6.1 billion transaction that gave the massive money manager ownership of a renewable power project owner and developer with assets across North America and Japan.

Behind all of that massive investment will be a surge in demand for technologies that can orchestrate resources that will be more distributed and provide better energy storage and distribution technologies for a more complicated grid. Indeed, the beginning of the year saw venture firms like Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia and Union Square Ventures begin to plant flags around sustainable investments in startup companies. Microsoft announced a $1 billion climate change-focused investment fund and in the second quarter, Amazon followed suit with the commitment of $2 billion to its Climate Pledge Fund that would invest across a range of renewable and sustainability-focused technology startups and climate-related projects.

“You’ve got all of this activity even without policy changes — and policy changes are even going in the wrong direction,” said Abe Yokell, a longtime investor in technologies addressing climate change and the managing partner of Congruent Ventures, in an interview with TechCrunch earlier this year. “Our general framework is that the venture model applies to some but not all of the solutions that will solve the problem of climate change.”

Environmental and social investing rises again

In 2007, John Doerr, then one of the world’s most successful venture investors and a leader at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (now just Kleiner Perkins), delivered an emotional speech to an early audience of TED talk attendees. In it, Doerr announced that KPCB would be investing $200 million into a range of “clean technology” companies and encouraged other investors to make similar commitments. Doerr spoke of a coming climate crisis that would reshape the globe and wreak vast economic damage on communities. He wasn’t wrong.

But the solutions that the first generation of clean tech investors backed were economically unfeasible and markets weren’t then ready to embrace massive investments required to avoid what were, at the time, future risk scenarios. Prices for solar and wind energy production technologies were too expensive and energy storage options too unreliable. Biofuels could not compete at costs that would make them competitive with existing petrochemicals, and bioplastics and chemicals suffered from the same problems (along with a consumer culture that had not awoken to the perils of plastic and chemical production).

While there were a few notable successes from that first generation of clean tech companies, including, most notably, Tesla, there were far more failures. Kleiner alone poured hundreds of millions into companies like Think and Fisker Automotive, two early electric vehicle companies. Another electric vehicle bet, Better Place, lost $1 billion for investors like VantagePoint Venture Partners. The losses weren’t confined to electric vehicles. Solar energy companies, biofuel companies, grid management companies and battery companies all racked up millions in losses for a generation of venture funds.

Yokell, who previously worked as an investor at Rockport Capital, saw the failures, but managed to persevere and raise new cash with his fund Congruent. “Things are different, but they are different for 10 different reasons — not one different reason,” Yokell said. “The preponderance of dollars went into the physical layer that would drive down the cost of accessing a product or technology. Solar is a great example; wind is a great example; batteries are a great example. [But] this time around, the venture dollars that are going into the ecosystem are being applied to products and services that are going to the end product.”

This means focusing not on the generation of electricity necessarily, but managing and monitoring how those atoms move. Or in the case of food tech, making the processes of creation and distribution more efficient in addition to making new sources of supply. “Venture is a rule of exceptions,” said Yokell. “If you use what works for the venture model and apply it to Tesla [most investors] were wrong. It only takes two massive successes to prove the rule wrong.”

More often though, the money for venture investors is in following some basic rules of investing — chiefly look for high-margin businesses with low upfront capital costs. If something is going to take $40 million or $50 million just to figure out that it might work and then you need to spend another $200 million to prove that it does work … that’s likely not going to be a good bet for a venture firm, Yokell said.

Public markets and large corporations now lead the way

Even as most venture capital dollars shied away from investments in technology that could move the needle on climate (one large exception being Vinod Khosla and Khosla Ventures … another story), the world’s largest investment firms, money managers, publicly traded energy and agriculture companies began stepping up their commitments.

In part, that’s because the economic viability started to become more apparent for decades-old technologies like wind and solar. The costs of these energy-generating technologies made sense to develop because they were, in many cases, cheaper than the alternative. A June report from the International Renewable Energy Agency showed that renewable power generation projects were cheaper than the cost to operate existing coal-fired plants. Next year, the energy agency said, the 1.2 gigawatts of existing coal capacity could cost more to operate than the cost of new utility-scale solar photovoltaics. According to the agency:

Replacing the costliest 500 GW of coal with solar PV and onshore wind next year would cut power system costs by up to USD 23 billion every year and reduce annual emissions by around 1.8 gigatons (Gt) of carbon dioxide (CO2), equivalent to 5% of total global CO2 emissions in 2019. It would also yield an investment stimulus of USD 940 billion, which is equal to around 1% of global GDP.

Beyond that, the real effects of climate change began to be felt in rising insurance payouts as a result of increasingly frequent natural disasters and money managers beginning to realize that you can’t have a functioning economy if you don’t have a functioning society thanks to social unrest brought about by rising populations consuming increasingly limited resources thanks to climatological collapse. 

In early January, BlackRock, one of the world’s largest investment firms, pledged to refocus all of its investment activities through a climate lens. The investment bank Jefferies has declared 2020 to be the shot from the starting gun for what will be a decade of investments focused on environmental, social and corporate governance. Big energy companies were already picking up the slack where venture investment left off, with firms like National Grid Partners, Energy Investment Partners and others committing capital to new energy technologies even as venture investors pulled back. In 2016, Bill Gates launched a $1 billion investment fund that would focus on climate-related investing, backed by several of his billionaire buddies (including Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr and former Kleiner Perkins managing director, Vinod Khosla) and take the big swings that many venture firms were unwilling to take at the time.

Opportunities beyond energy

Investments in clean tech and sustainability were never just about energy, although that captured a fair bit of the imagination and some of the earliest returns — in biofuels companies and electric vehicles. Now, the breadth of the thesis is being expressed in a deluge of exits and millions invested in areas like novel proteins for food production, new technologies for a more sustainable agriculture, new consumer food products, new technologies for managing power and distributing it, and fantastic new ways to generate that power.

Last week, AppHarvest, a company using greenhouse farming techniques to grow tomatoes more sustainably, agreed to go public through a special purpose acquisition vehicle, and just today, a bioplastics manufacturer is taking the same tack. With the world awash in capital and looking for high-growth companies to generate returns, sustainability looks like a good bet.

Those are the companies that have managed to access public markets in the last week. Beyond Meat captured the attention of institutional investors and the investing public with its better-tasting hamburger substitute, and Perfect Day snagged a massive investment from the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board to make an alternative to cow’s milk. In fact, Perfect Day was the inaugural investment in the national pension fund’s climate strategy. Other deals should follow.

Meanwhile, as carbon emissions monitoring, management and sequestration gain broader commercial and consumer traction, other investment opportunities will begin to open up for digital solutions.

#beyond-meat, #biofuels, #chemicals, #climate-pledge-fund, #congruent-ventures, #energy, #exxonmobil, #fisker-automotive, #food, #food-tech, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #greentech, #microsoft, #nextera-energy, #renewable-energy, #sustainable-energy, #tc, #warburg-pincus

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#DealMonitor – navabi-Gründer kaufen ihr Startup zurück – Vistaprint übernimmt 99designs


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 6. Oktober werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

navabi
+++ Die navabi-Gründer Zahir Dehnadi und Bahman Nedaei kaufen ihr Unternehmen aus der Insolvenzmasse heraus. Der Shop für Plus-Size-Mode wird laut Impressum bereits von jpc united, die den Gründer jeweils zu 50 % gehört, betrieben. Vor der Insolvenz hielt der Private-Equity-Investor Verdane die Mehrheit an navabi. In den vergangenen Jahren flossen rund 35 Millionen Euro in das Unternehmen, das kürzlich von Aachen nach Köln gezogen ist. Ende Juli schlitterte navabi in die Insolvenz.  Davor musste das Startup in Folge der Corona-Krise massive Umsatzeinbußen von bis zu 70 % erleiden. 2018 erwirtschaftete navabi einen Umsatz in Höhe von rund 25,4 Millionen Euro (+ 15 %). Der Jahresfehlbetrag lag bei rund 5,1 Millionen (Vorjahr: 1,7 Millionen).

Scraegg
+++ Der Bielefelder Foodgigant Dr. Oetker investiert weiter in Scraegg, eine Rührei-Maschine. Das Unternehmen, das von Andreas Leonhard und Florian Hofbauer gegründet wurde, bietet in 15 Sekunden verzehrfähiges Rührei. Die kleine Maschine kann neben Rührei aber auch Porridge und Suppen machen. Derzeit ist die Jungfirma aus Wiesloch im B2B-Segment unterwegs. Für das kommende Jahr ist aber auch ein Küchengerät für den Hausgebrauch geplant. Oetker hält inzwischen knapp 40 % an Scraegg. #EXKLUSIV

Dryad
+++ Stihl Digital, der Corporate Venture-Arm der Stihl  Gruppe, das  Energieunternehmen LEAG, der Impact Investor Isar und Brandenburg Kapital investieren 1,8 Millionen Euro in Dryad. Das IoT-Startup mit Sitz in Berlin und Brandenburg, das von Carsten Brinkschulte geführt wird, entwickelt ein System zur ultrafrühen Erkennung von Waldbränden.

Codesphere 
+++ Der noch junge Geldgeber 468 Capital investiert gemeinsam mit Mirko Novakovic (Instana) und Ben Uretsky (Digital Ocean) 500.000 Euro in Codesphere. Das deutsch-amerikanische Startup, das 2020 von Elias Groll, Christian Siemoneit und Jonas Zipprick gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als “intelligente Plattform für die Entwicklung von WebApps”.

Prolupin
+++ Der European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF) investiert neben Munich Venture Partners und eCapital Entrepreneurial Partners sowie Capricorn Partners und Novax in Prolupin. “Der European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF) ist ein neuer paneuropäischer Fonds, der mit Eigenkapital- und Mezzanin-Finanzierungen in Wachstumsunternehmen der Bioökonomie und der zirkulären Bioökonomie investiert.  Er wird von der Europäischen Investitionsbank (EIB) als Ankerinvestor unterstützt”, teilt die Jungfirma mit.  Prolupin bietet Lebensmittel aus Lupinen-Eiweiß an – etwa Joghurt, Desserts, Frischkäse, Milch und Eis. Prolupin ging 2010 als Fraunhofer Spin-off an den Start.

EXITS

99designs
+++ Die Digital-Druckerei Vistaprint übernimmt den australischen Grafikdesign-Marktplatz 99designs, der 2012 das Berliner Startup 12designer übernommen hatte. “99designs wurde von Cimpress akquiriert, dem Mutterkonzern von Vistaprint, und wird sowohl als Teil von Vistaprint als auch als eigenständige Marke geführt werden”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. 99designs ging 2008 an den Start. Von einem Online-Forum entwickelte sich das Unternehmen seitdem  zu einer “Community talentierter Grafikdesigner”. 99designs unterhält Büros in Melbourne, Australien, Oakland, Kalifornien, und Berlin. Der Umsatz lag 2018 bei 60 Millionen australischen Dollar. Accel und Recruit Strategic Partners investierten in der Vergangenheit 45 Millionen Dollar in 99designs. Vor einiger Zeit war bei 99designs sogar ein IPO ein Thema.

DIE HÖHLE DER LÖWEN

MeDusch
+++ In der sechsten Folge investierten Regal-Löwe Ralf Dümmel und Sales-Löwe Carsten Maschmeyer 100.000 Euro in MeDusch (30 %), einen Duschschaum, der ätherische Öle in die tägliche Körperpflege integriert. Gründerin Jacqueline Torres Martinez kam in die Vox-Show um ein Investment von 75.000 Euro für 20 % der Firmenanteile einzusammeln.

Schmucki
+++ In der sechsten Folge investierte Regal-Löwe Ralf Dümmel 100.000 Euro in Schmucki (40 %), einen Auto-Schmutzsack für Kinder. Das Schmucki-Team wollte ursprünglich 100.000 Euro für 20 % der Firmenanteile einsammeln.

Ella’s Basenbande
+++ In der sechsten Folge investierte Pharma-Löwe Nils Glagau 150.000 Euro in Ella’s Basenbande (20 %), Fertiggerichte die auf dem Prinzip der Säure-Base-basierten Ernährung basieren. Gründerin Ella della Rovere wollte ursprünglich  150.000 Euro für 15 % der Firmenanteile einsammeln.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#12designer, #468-capital, #99designs, #aktuell, #berlin, #codesphere, #dr-oetker, #dryad, #eberswalde, #ellas-basenbande, #food, #grimmen, #koln, #medusch, #navabi, #prolupin, #schmucki, #scraegg, #stihl-digital, #venture-capital, #vistaprint, #wiesloch

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GrubMarket raises $60M at a $500M+ valuation as food delivery stays center stage

Companies that have leveraged technology to make the procurement and delivery of food more accessible to more people have been seeing a big surge of business this year, as millions of consumers are encouraged (or outright mandated, due to Covid-19) to socially distance or want to avoid the crowds of physical shopping and eating excursions.

Today, one of the companies that is supplying produce and other items both to consumers and other services that are in turn selling food and groceries to them, is announcing a new round of funding as it gears up to take its next step, an IPO.

GrubMarket, which provides a B2C platform for consumers to order produce and other food and home items for delivery, and a B2B service where it supplies grocery stores, meal-kit companies and other food tech startups with products that they resell, is today announcing that it has raised $60 million in a Series D round of funding.

Sources close to the company confirmed to TechCrunch that GrubMarket — which is profitable, and originally hadn’t planned to raise more than $20 million — is now valued at around $500 million.

The funding is coming from funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Reimagined Ventures, Trinity Capital Investment, Celtic House Venture Partners, Marubeni Ventures, Sixty Degree Capital, Mojo Partners alongside with previous investors GGV Capital, WI Harper Group, Digital Garage, CentreGold Capital , Scrum Ventures, and other unnamed participants. Past investors also included Y Combinator, where GrubMarket was part of the Winter 2015 cohort), and for some more context, GrubMarket last raised money in April 2019, $28 million at a $255 million valuation.

Mike Xu, the founder and CEO, said that the plan remains for the company to go public (he’s talked about it before) but given that it’s not having trouble raising from private markets and is currently growing at 100% over last year, and the IPO market is less certain at the moment, he declined to put an exact timeline on when this might actually happen, although he was clear that this is where his focus is in the near future.

“The only success criteria of my startup career is whether GrubMarket can eventually make $100 billion of annual sales,” he said to me over both email and in a phone conversation. “To achieve this goal, I am willing to stay heads-down and hardworking every day until it is done, and it does not matter whether it will take me 15 years or 50 years.”

I don’t doubt that he means it. I’ll note that we had this call in the middle of the night his time in California, even after I asked multiple times if there wasn’t a more reasonable hour in the daytime for him to talk. (He insisted that he got his best work done at 4.30am, a result of how a lot of the grocery business works.) Xu on the one hand is very gentle with a calm demeanor, but don’t let his quiet manner fool you. He also is focused and relentless in his work ethic.

When people talk today about buying food, alongside traditional grocery stores and other physical food markets, they increasingly talk about grocery delivery companies, restaurant delivery platforms, meal kit services and more that make or provide food to people by way of apps. GrubMarket has built itself as a profitable but quiet giant that underpins the fuel that helps companies in all of these categories by becoming one of the critical companies building bridges between food producers and those that interact with customers.

Its opportunity comes in the form of disruption and a gap in the market. Food production is not unlike shipping and other older, non-tech industries, with a lot of transactions couched in legacy processes: GrubMarket has built software that connects up the different segments of the food supply chain in a faster and more efficient way, and then provides the logistics to help it run.

To be sure, it’s an area that would have evolved regardless of the world health situation, but the rise and growth of the coronavirus has definitely “helped” GrubMarket not just by creating more demand for delivered food, but by providing a way for those in the food supply chain to interact with less contact and more tech-fueled efficiency.

Sales of WholesaleWare, as the platform is called, Xu said, have seen more than 800% growth over the last year, now managing “several hundreds of millions of dollars of food wholesale activities” annually.

Underpinning its tech is the sheer size of the operation: economies of scale in action. The company is active in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Texas, Michigan, Boston and New York (and many places in between) and says that it currently operates some 21 warehouses nationwide. Xu describes GrubMarket as a “major food provider” in the Bay Area and the rest of California, with (as one example) more than 5 million pounds of frozen meat in its east San Francisco Bay warehouse.

Its customers include more than 500 grocery stores, 8,000 restaurants, and 2,000 corporate offices, with familiar names like Whole Foods, Kroger, Albertson, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Raley’s Market, 99 Ranch Market, Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Fresh Direct, Imperfect Foods, Misfit Market, Sun Basket and GoodEggs, all on the list, with GrubMarket supplying them items that they resell directly, or use in creating their own products (like meal kits).

While much of GrubHub’s growth has been — like a lot of its produce — organic, its profitability has helped it also grow inorganically. It has made some 15 acquisitions in the last two years, including Boston Organics and EJ Food Distributor this year.

It’s not to say that GrubMarket has not had growing pains. The company, Xu said, was like many others in the food delivery business “overwhelmed” at the start of the pandemic in March and April of this year. “We had to limit our daily delivery volume in some regions, and put new customers on waiting lists.” Even so, the B2C business grew between 300% and 500% depending on the market. Xu said things calmed down by May and even as some B2B customers never came back after cities were locked down, as a category B2B has largely recovered, he said.

Interestingly, the startup itself has taken a very proactive approach in order to limit its own workers’ and customers’ exposure to Covid-19, doing as much testing as it could — tests have been, as we all know, in very short supply — as well as a lot of social distancing and cleaning operations.

“There have been no mandates about masks, but we supplied them extensively,” he said.

So far it seems to have worked. Xu said the company has only found “a couple of employees” that were positive this year. In one case in April, a case was found not through a test (which it didn’t have, this happened in Michigan) but through a routine check and finding an employee showing symptoms, and its response was swift: the facilities were locked down for two weeks and sanitized, despite this happening in one of the busiest months in the history of the company (and the food supply sector overall).

That’s notable leadership at a time when it feels like a lot of leaders have failed us, which only helps to bolster the company’s strong growth.

“Having a proven track record of sustained hypergrowth and net income profitability, GrubMarket stands out as an extraordinarily rare Silicon Valley startup in the food technology and ecommerce segment,” said Jay Chen, managing partner of Celtic House Venture Partner. “Scaling over 15x in 4 years, GrubMarket’s creativity and capital efficiency is unmatched by anyone else in this space. Mike’s team has done an incredible job growing the company thoughtfully and sustainably. We are proud to be a partner in the company’s rapid nationwide expansion and excited by the strong momentum of WholesaleWare, their SaaS suite, which is the best we have seen in space.”

#ecommerce, #enterprise, #food, #food-delivery, #grocery-delivery, #grubmarket, #recent-funding, #startups, #tc

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