Monday, May 25, 2015

FoodCrunch 2015: Innovation You Can Taste

Sorry for the hiatus.  I am back with more start-up news.

The Food & Agribusiness Institute at Santa Clara University and Beta Gamma Sigma, international business honor society, hosted FoodCrunch: Innovation You Can Taste on April 30th.  The event brought together two of the most important elements of Silicon Valley—technology and food.  Over the course of the evening, participants heard from four top executives in the industry and enjoyed a sampling fair with local vendors of innovative sustainable food products.  

Roger Royse of AgTech Incubator moderated the panel that included:
Dan Zigmond, VP of Hampton Creek
Kate Danaher, Lending Manager at RSF Finance
Harvindar Singh, local forager at Whole Foods Market
Eric Quick, CEO of Froovie

The panel was incredibly informative with great advice for any entrepreneur.  Here are some of the highlights:

Starting up

  • EQ: Bootstrap as long as you can.  You will learn about your own resiliency.
  • DZ: “The cost of failure has never been lower.”
  • EQ: Don’t start a company just to sell it.


  • KD: Investors and lenders want to know if you understand your clients, know your numbers, understand what your goals are, and how you are going to get there. 
  • HS: Know your industry and do your homework.
  • EQ: Free samples are free feedback.  Use it.

People matter:
  • EQ: You want to listen to the people who will tell you that the product isn’t right yet.
  • EQ: “Surround yourself with great advisors who will bring you forward.”
  • HS: When he initially meets an entrepreneur, he doesn’t look at the product primarily, but observes the people first.  He wants to build a relationship.
  • KD: Relationships are huge.
  • KD: Stakeholders matter.
  • DZ: In food you must win over customers one at a time. 

The product
  • HS: Local markets are saturated so you need to be different, unique, not available on the market.   To do so, you need to be innovative and takes risks, stand out, and don’t be a me too product. 
  • HS: To stand out, pay attention to your packaging.