The Inaugural Class of Startup Next Food & Tech

The first ever Startup Next Food & Tech program is now halfway finished. Over 50 mentors are working with our 6 companies, including founders, investors and corporate executives.

While all of our sessions have been high energy, one highlight was a panel of CEOs from the Techstars Retail Accelerator, in partnership with Target. During the “ask me anything” style panel, advice on everything from how to get that first sale to how to engage mentors and get the most out of the program was covered. It was great to see the TS Retail teams already start to #givefirst. (It is worth pointing out that one of those CEOs, Francois Poirier of MakerBloks, is a Startup Next Montreal Alumni!)

Check out the Class:

Bizzy Coffee is the energy source, both mentally and physically, for the next generation of movers and shakers. Bizzy has become the #1 rated selling product in their category on Amazon and were recently accepted into HyVee chain-wide. They are now focused on raising a round of seed capital.

Termi Platform is a smart rodent prevention platform that helps the food industry protect vital food assets with sensor-enabled connected devices, and a data analytics platform that enables more effective & cheaper, DIY rodent prevention. Termi recently completed a new version of their trap with more advanced sensors and data collection capabilities. Termi is now moving focus to finding beta testers from the food & ag industry for their MVP.

Local Crate is a meal-kit delivery service focused on being locally responsible, while building the experience and true connection to real food that the market is craving! Local Crate recently hit capacity at their current facility, topping $35k in revenue after just 9 months in business. They are working towards a seed round which will be used to help fuel growth.

HerdDogg is a wearable device for improved accuracy of livestock traceability and biometrics. HerdDogg closed a research pilot with Oregon St. University and is a Startup Showcase finalist at the ECO SXSW. HerdDogg is prepping for fundraising and the launch of their new product.

Philia Foods creates handcrafted, all natural feta cheese spreads in four bold flavors; Rosemary & Basil, Roasted Red Pepper, Dill & Garlic and Habanero. Philia Foods has tripled their distribution points in the last 8 months, including a roll out to 50 NYC retailers. Phillia is looking for a strategic investor who will be able to advise & help scale the company.

Jonny Pops all-natural, frozen fruit and cream pops are like a smoothie-on-a-stick. Jonny Pops topped 6,000 retail locations and expanded their school lunch program to 8 states. Schools see a 15% increase to lunch participation when Jonny Pops are on the menu. Jonny Pops is looking to expand their network and meet with other founders that have scaled food companies quickly.

We look forward to continued progress, mentor engagement and the future success of our 6 companies!

land o lakes tech stars cohort #1


Applications Open for Startup Next Food & Tech, presented by Land O’Lakes

Earlier this year, Techstars launched a partnership with Land O’Lakes focused on food and tech. Applications are now open for Startup Next Food and Tech, presented by Land O’Lakes in Minneapolis, MN!

With a strong desire to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Twin Cities, the Land O’Lakes partnership with Techstars Startup Next will galvanize the best startups and provide them with mentorship, partnership, and executive access to help them along their entrepreneurial journey.

From farming to dairy and consumer products, the Twin Cities have a long history of success in food. This program is an exciting opportunity to leverage this expertise and ensure food and ag tech entrepreneurs play a serious role in the burgeoning startup scene.

Techstars will work closely with Land O’Lakes executives to recruit startups working anywhere in the farm-to-fork food chain. Examples include innovative consumer products, traceability tools, distribution, supply chain efficiency, safety, food processing and logistics innovation.

Solutions for the dairy industry – from dairy farmers to dairy transportation, processing and products – will be of particular interest. Startups working to solve problems related to food and technology in the retail, foodservice, industrial or other channels are also invited to apply.

Entrepreneurs will gain hands-on mentorship and education during the program, culminating in a Demo Day event. Land O’Lakes will provide expertise and mentorship to program participants along with other leaders from the Minneapolis startup ecosystem.

An informational session will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, June 7 from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., in Minneapolis. Those interested in applying for the program are invited to attend and learn more. Event details and registration are here.

In addition to the in-person event, interested entrepreneurs also can join us for an online informational session on Thursday, June 16, at 3 pm CDT. Registration for the June 16 session can be found here.

Application deadline is June 30, 2016.


Startups interested in applying to Startup Next Food and Tech, presented by Land O’Lakes can apply here.

Are You a Foodie? #SWyum recap

After months of preparation, SW Food has come and gone! Before our memories fail us, let’s try to capture the most unforgettable moments of #SWyum.



In our first blogpost, we mentioned the international mix of our organizing team, representing the UK, US, China, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy… and how our love of food brought us to organise the event. The attendees beat us at our own game by travelling to London for our event, from countries including Belgium, France, Ireland, Sweden, and Switzerland, to name a few. Wow!

And it didn’t stop there. We had a brilliant designer join us remotely from Dubai, who helped several of our teams with amazing designs throughout the weekend. So special shout out to Zahed Mirza!

One of the striking things the organisers noticed was how easily the participants interacted and collaborated throughout the event (we even noticed a few people consulting and giving feedback across teams!). With so much to fit in to 54 hrs, it’s easy to get caught up with the work – but the people you meet and the network you build are ultimately the most valuable takeaway you’ll get from Startup Weekend.




Mentors, Speakers, and Judges:

We had 20 brilliant speakers, mentors, and judges, who provided top-notch support to our teams. Participants noted the high quality mentorship as being a highlight of the event, so thank you all!

Friday: Patrick Drake of HelloFresh, kicked things off by inspiring us all with his story of how leading a double life of playing lawyer by day and chef by night, lead him to venture out to pursue his love of food full time.

Saturday: Danny Bluesone of CyberDuck gave us a wonderful talk on lean UX and personas to get the teams on the right track with their product design. Our mentoring sessions for Sat included: Corrado Accardi of Pizza Rossa, Fahim Hussain of Market Munch, Ali Meruani of Menuspring, Tania Pasia of Red Badger, Ivan Shyr of Sussex Place Ventures, Chris Steinau of Uncover, and David Voxlin of Craved.

Sunday: On Sunday, we continued mentoring with seasoned Startup Weekend mentor and organiser Amalia Agathou, Kastytis Kemezys of Cinnamon Bridge and Dave McDougall of Hult Business School. Our judges who helped us make the tough call on deciding the winners of the event were JinA Bae of CHOPCHOP (a former SW winner herself!), Madeleine Blyth of Techstars, Kastytis Kemezys of Cinnamon Bridge, Ryan Perera of Henchman, Ivan Shyr of Sussex Place Ventures, and Raj Sharma of Only By Nature.

Startup Weekend is ALL about community, and we loved seeing so many SW community leaders come out for the event. Special shout out to our new friends from SW Ireland, who we were thrilled to meet and get some top tips from. And another special shout out to Ryan Kuder from Techstars, who stopped by throughout the weekend to help mentor some of our teams.





Now what you’ve all been waiting for – the menu for the weekend, followed by a few of our favourite #foodporn moments 😉  We guarantee that SW Food was certainly the best fed hackathon in town!

Friday: We started the event off in true hackathon style with pizza and beer – but took it up a notch with mentor Corrado Accardi’s Pizza Rossa.

Saturday: Best to start the day happy and healthy with breakfast from MangoMango and your not so average salads from Pollen & Grace. Harry Thuillier of Oppo hand delivered some of his delicious Oppo ice cream, and even found some time to talk to us and help out some of the teams. After an exhausting day of hard work, our lovely sponsors from Hungry House were there to save the day with some delicious Thai and Indian food.

Sunday: Keeping it simple again for breakfast, with a spread of bagels and fruit. For lunch, Hungry House spoiled us AGAIN, with sushi from Youme sushi, and we also had some sandwiches from Pret. And finally, we had some delicious Hummos Bros. Gipsy Hill helped us to top off the event by sponsoring beer – it was a huge hit, and the packaging put a smile on everyone’s faces.

Snacks and drinks: We were spoiled with choices from our snack sponsors, who helped fuel us throughout the weekend. A HUGE thank you goes out to: Nari Palm Juice, Nudie Snacks, Propercorn, Rude Health, Urban Fruit, and Vita Coco.







Before this blogpost gets out of hand (thanks for making it this far!), check out a great recap of the pitches here. Our recap of the winning teams, and the team MVP awards is posted here.

The winning teams won awesome prizes, including office space at WeWork, places in Cinnamon Bridge’s food startup bootcamp, advisory with Crowdfooding, and a workshop with Startup Manufactory. Shaken Cocktails also sponsored a box for each winning team to celebrate. The MVP winners each got a HelloFresh box to continue the #yum at home. We hope that these prizes will help encourage and support them in continuing with their entrepreneurial pursuits.

Last but not least, the organising team wants to thank our wonderful facilitator Maria-Christina Tsitsopoulos, for her support, and putting up with our crazy antics over the weekend 🙂

This was our first time organising a Startup Weekend, so thanks all for making it one to remember! Keep an eye out for us in the future, because in the words of M. Schwarzenegger – We’ll be back.


On Friday, 13 Nov, Startup Weekend friends old and new came together in London at Innovation Warehouse for networking, learnings and drinks.

Many thanks to Innovation Warehouse for providing the space, and to Big Hug Brewing and Vita Coco for spoiling us with drinks for the evening.

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David Haber, Lead Software Engineer at Soma Analytics and Co-founder of Import Classes, shared his top web development tools for non-developers, giving the attendees of our upcoming event a toolkit to ‘hack’ their way to a Startup Weekend win.  David has kindly shared a list of the tools he discussed here.



Next up, we welcomed our panel of previous SW winners to discuss their experiences and top tips for SW success.  The panel featured JinA Bae from ChopChop, Ray Ziai from Mode for Me, and Amalia Agathou, seasoned Startup Weekend mentor and organizer.  Everyone agreed – Startup Weekend played a crucial role in building the network they needed to get their startups off the ground.  Some of our favourite quotes from the panel included:

  • “Be translucent about your skills and be specific to what you can bring to the table and what you are looking for. Become friends and bond with your team beyond the Startup Weekend.”
  • “Make the most of the mentors!”
  • “Be flexible and make sure you validate your idea. You might find out something you didn’t know as you go.”
  • Bootstrap as long as you can – the more progress you’ve made, the more negotiating power you have”


Thanks to everyone for making this a great evening!

Don’t forget to sign up for our upcoming event, Startup Weekend Food, 4-6 Dec, where you might meet your next co-founders and can put all of this great advice into practice! 

For any questions, email us at:




Why Startup Weekend Pittsburgh is Supporting 412 Food Rescue: By The Numbers

As one of the proud community leaders of Startup Weekend Pittsburgh, I believe that our events bring out the best in our community. We’re the ones who teach others to stand at the edge and leap head-on into the unknown. We encourage people to listen to our city’s problems, create solutions, and iterate them if they don’t work out.

We’re the ones who create a community that’s “No Talk. All Action.” 

However, I think we sometimes get a little caught up in the glory of the startup world and forget about the pressing needs that are surround us at all times. Pittsburgh’s certainly a city on the rise, but it’s a city with a lot of work to do as well.


Perhaps most pressing of all is the problem of hunger. That’s why, with the support of The Brazen Kitchen and The Free Store, we’re hosting a benefit called Summer Harvest.

Summer Harvest fb 2

All proceeds go entirely to 412 Food Rescue, a non-profit initiative to reuse unsellable food and convert them into healthy, delicious meals for our community’s hungry. The event will take place at The Livermore in East Liberty on July 25th from 7pm to midnight.

Here are 7 figures that motivate our entrepreneurial efforts to curb this very serious problem (facts and figures mostly extracted from Feeding America):


That’s the percent of people who live in Allegheny County who are “food insecure,” or are unable to feed themselves adequately. That seems small, but here’s another number.


The number of people who are food insecure in Allegheny County. You could almost fill Heinz Stadium three times over with that many people.


Among them…


How many children are food insecure in Allegheny County. That’s greater than the capacity of PNC Park.



How much an average healthy meal costs in our region.


How much it would cost to eradicate hunger in Allegheny County every year.


The price of a ticket to the Summer Harvest. Using 412 Food Rescue’s efficient, ecological approach, each person who attends this will be able to feed a family of suffering from hunger for an entire week.



The number of people it takes to make a difference.

As an entrepreneur and a community organizer, I am convinced of the power of a single individual to make a huge difference in their community. This is not idealism – such impacts happen all the time. After all…
Source. Credit to Pablo Stanley.

To get your tickets to Summer Harvest, follow this link: Get them before 7/20 and save 20%!

If you’d also like to sponsor or donate, please contact me at Thank you for reading!

Lee Ngo is a community leader based in Pittsburgh, PA.

Une histoire de thème

Si mon projet ne concerne ni le vin, ni la gastronomie, ni le tourisme, est-ce que je peux quand même participer ?


C’est LA question que l’on nous pose depuis l’annonce du thème du SWBX et qui reviendra certainement chaque jour jusqu’au 15 mai 2015. Elle mérite donc de trouver dès aujourd’hui sa réponse : petite histoire d’un gentil organisateur du SWBX qui explique le pourquoi du comment de ce thème, et qui vous propose les solutions qui s’offrent à vous.

Un constat

Startup Weekend, c’est un événement par semaine au moins en Europe.
Pour vous donner une idée, rien qu’en France c’est :

  • Nantes, 12 Septembre 2014
  • Perpignan, 27 Février 2015
  • Paris (Women Edition), 6 mars 2015
  • Tours, 20 Mars 2015
  • Toulouse, 27 Mars 2015
  • Mulhouse, 10 avril 2015
  • Monaco, 24 avril 2015
  • Montpellier, 8 mai 2015
  • Paris (Maker Edition), 8 mai 2015
  • Compiègne, 15 mai 2015
  • Bordeaux (Wine, gastronomy and tourism), 15 mai 2015
  • Aix-Marseille (Green & Tech Edition), 22 mai 2015
  • Lyon (Food Edition), 29 mai 2015
  • Belfort-Montbéliard, 29 mai 2015
  • Le Mans, 25 septembre 2015

Et on en oublie certainement…

Des concours d’entrepreneuriat, il y en a partout et tout le temps en France.

Pire encore pour nous, l’écosystème entrepreneurial bordelais est, nous l’avons très vite découvert, extrêmement dynamique, et il ne nous a pas attendu pour avancer et bosser sur des idées.

Objectif : se faire une place !

Au départ, notre événement était généraliste. On a pensé dès le début à se spécialiser bien sûr, à faire bosser les gens sur un sujet commun, mais on était bien trop frileux, on avait peur que les gens se bloquent sur ce thème. C’était trop tôt pour prendre des risques, tu te rends compte : « pas de Startup Weekend depuis 3 ans, il faut que le Startup Weekend refasse une ou deux éditions pour fidéliser les gens ». Et puis, ça nous faisais déjà assez peur comme ça.

Mais, nous sommes allés à la rencontre des principaux intéressés, les entrepreneurs bordelais, les étudiants, les différents réseaux d’habitués, et on s’est vite rendu compte que la demande était bien présente mais sur des événements concrets, qui sortent un peu des sentiers battus, et qui débouchent sur un vrai résultat. Tout le monde connaît le Startup Weekend, on ne révolutionne rien.

Et récemment, on nous a dit :

« Vous voulez faire un Startup Weekend pour faire un Startup Weekend, ou vous voulez faire un événement qui défonce, qui apporte une vraie plus-value et qui se différencie ? ».

C’est vrai, t’as raison ! Vite, une réunion d’urgence, on prend une décision, et on change tout ! On veut un événement qui claque, miser sur la qualité, avoir des personnes motivées pour aller dans une même direction, pour brandir bien haut les valeurs de notre belle ville et de notre belle région. Les faire accompagner par des mentors expérimentés sur la question et constituer un jury connaisseur et reconnu.

Des startups pour mettre en valeur le patrimoine bordelais

La ville de Bordeaux, par le biais de son site Osez Bordeaux titre: Bordeaux, un art de vivre

 « C’est à un subtil cocktail mêlant splendeur architecturale, rayonnement culturel, vignobles de renommée mondiale, gastronomie de choix et douceur du climat, que succombent chaque année les quelque 3 millions de visiteurs de passage à Bordeaux. »

Tout est dit ! Et notre thème est trouvé. 3 mots, parce qu’on a quand même toujours un peu peur que le thème soit trop restrictif, et parce que, si on y réfléchie bien, ces mots perdent un peu de leur saveur lorsqu’ils sont dissociés : Vin, Gastronomie et Tourisme. Pour ce qui est de la douceur du climat, on se dit qu’en mai, ça devrait aller, et la splendeur architecturale sera représentée par les nouveaux locaux de Kedge Business School qui nous fait l’honneur de nous soutenir et de nous encourager dans nos démarches car l’entrepreneuriat est l’une de ses priorités, mais ça nous en reparlerons plus tard.

Les possibilités qui te sont offertes

Alors à ce stade, face à ces thèmes, quelles possibilités s’offrent à toi si  l’idée à laquelle tu réfléchie ne correspond pas vraiment ? On te donne 3 pistes que tu pourrais éventuellement explorer.

Le petit filou

Ton idée n’est pas clairement dans le thème, tu le sais. Mais il y a toujours un moyen de faire le lien. Tout ou presque peut se rapporter au tourisme, à la gastronomie ou au vin, tout dépend de la manière dont tu tourneras ton idée pour convaincre les autres participants de se lancer dans ton aventure. Tu peux donc décider d’escroquer quelque peu l’audience, ou peut-être modifier ton idée pour en créer une nouvelle qui correspond au thème.

En clair, tu ne travailleras pas sur ton idée première durant le weekend, mais cette rencontre avec d’autres têtes bien faites va te permettre de challenge certains points similaires, et de valider ou non ton idée de base.

Le bon élève

On va pas le cacher : c’est certainement la bonne attitude à adopter. Tu t’es renseigné, tu as lu de la documentation sur internet pour comprendre ce qui t’attendait durant ce weekend, tu t’es procuré un dossier de sponsoring pour étudier à quoi sert le prix que tu payes, ou tu as simplement regardé des vidéos sur Youtube pour t’imprégner de l’ambiance Startup. Bref, tu connais la mécanique, sais ce qui t’attend durant ce Startup Weekend. Et ça tu l’as bien retenu au moment où Victoria te l’as dit :

« Le but n’est pas tellement de créer une entreprise au bout de ce weekend *regard séducteur*, mais plutôt de participer à cet événement, de découvrir la scène startup et de rencontrer des personnes qui sont aussi motivées et aussi géniales »

Victoria Stoyanova – Regional Manager Up Global

Si tu ne l’as pas vu, c’est le moment :

En bref, tu vas passer un très bon weekend, même si c’est pour bosser sur l’idée de quelqu’un d’autre, rencontrer peut-être des personnes qui seront les partenaires de ton projet plus tard, et développer des compétences et qualités auprès de mentors expérimentés qui te seront nécessaires lorsque tu souhaiteras te lancer.


Cette attitude découle fortement de la précédente, mais avec la créativité en plus. En effet, tu décides de venir participer au Startup Weekend pour passer un excellent moment et monter en compétences.

Mais en plus, tu souhaites participer à la réussite de cet événement en venant pitcher une idée nouvelle, une idée conforme au thème. Le vin, la gastronomie et le tourisme, ça touche absolument tout le monde, et je suis sur que chacun d’entre vous peut venir pitcher une idée le 15 mai. Nous avons tous des idées géniales et il ne faut pas avoir peur de venir les partager.

En effet, c’est tout à fait dans l’esprit du Startup Weekend de ne partir que d’une simple idée. De partir de rien, pour créer un réel prototype en 54h. Tu verras, c’est une aventure formidable et dont tu pourras être fier.

Partnership: Startup Weekend and Festival of Innovation and Creativity

Hi all,

Townsville Startup Weekend and the Festival of Innovation and Creativity are excited to announce a partnership in which the teams with the best performances during the weekend will be invited to present their ideas during the Festival in the following topics:

  • Finance
  • Food
  • Fuel

We have also invited key participants of the Festival to be present on Sunday’s pitches, so we can promote an even greater knowledge exchange between the audiences of the two events.

Festival Schedule

Festival Keynote Speakers:

1. Dr John Hewson will be a special panellist in our Second Energy Futures Roundtable. He is among other things the Chair of the global Asset Owners Disclosures Project, which is heavily involved in issues related to the financial risks of climate change, and how to manage them.

2. Dr Steve Mark AM, the retired Legal Services Commissioner of NSW and former President of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Commission, and a seriously “big brain” when it comes of social organisation, governance and public value and creative public policy development. He was for example a key player in the development of social bonds in NSW as a way of funding “non economic” public policy initiatives. He is a recipient of an Order of Australia for services to the community.

3. Dr Pradeep Taneja, Fellow (Regional Relationships) at the Australia-India Institute, University of Melbourne who is a global expert in China and India economic development policies and trajectories. He’ll help us better understand just where the region stands when it comes to how India and China are planning on meeting their energy needs into the future.

4. Professor Kerry Brown, all the way from Curtin University in WA,  is an internationally recognized expert on regional economic development and the role of clusters and networks. If we need a bit of inspiration about ways in which we can “reshape” how we go about things, Kerry will be able to show us the way.

5. Associate Professor Martin Blake, from the UK, who is a world-recognised leader in corporate and social sustainability. He is prolific and global. Just “Google” him!

Don’t miss this opportunity to get great exposure for your business!

Sneak Peak: Food Edition Teams

Today was the second day of Startup Weekend Food Edition NYC. Not only did we have a phenomenal set of mentors to help guide each team in their iterations of design, business plan, and product idea, but we had our very own cooking show! Pentloft Studios brought Cajun in the city and cooked up homemade red beans and rice, southern style.

The teams that formed last night after an intense series of pitches from SW participants were in full throttle today. Here is a sneak peak into some of the teams that are hard at work building their product.

The Teams: What’s That?, Dynamic Food, Off The Menu, One Touch, Lunchees, Fork Meets Spoon, Brew Local, VegSpotter, One Menu, Mobile Oasis, Grandma’s Meatballs, Sage, Food Loop, Stamps, YourFood

Fork Meets Spoon

What’s That?


Brew Local

The teams have a wide range of product ideas: Visual dictionaries to expand peoples palates; service to provide affordable tailored meals for kids in schools; a food discovery app through pictures (swipe through photos to build food preferences); service that dynamically controls wholesale food prices based on expiration date and shelf time to improve revenue; personalization of food recommendations; ‘speed dial’ for menu items to make mobile app takeout easy.

Gary Reloj, co-founder of Swill, gave a few solid pieces of advice:
1. In the food space, beautiful content is important!
2. Choose a product that is either easily executable or that you can make money on early after launching.
3. Clearly identify the problem, describe the solution, and finally point out the opportunity you have to carry out this solution.

Up next? Teams are working hard to validate their products, build a business plan, create wireframes of their product, and in some cases begin product development itself. Tomorrow we will find out what the judges have to say. Best of luck to all!