By Bread Alone: Investments in Food-centric Web Start-Ups on the Rise

It is a common expression that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – but what if the stomach is the way to a man’s wallet as well? That is the bet that some investors are making as they invest in Internet companies aimed at the burgeoning gourmand’s palate (and purse). Food-related websites and technology interfaces vary, but they share the common idea that people are curious, hungry and Internet-savvy, and seek to fully leverage that combination.  While it is not clear how many start-ups in the food space are gaining venture capital traction, there is certainly a lot of buzz around food-centric business models.

 The food-and-technology space is, perhaps, a microcosm of some of the largest trends in the Internet/technology space generally. Here is an overview of some of the more popular food-centric business models:

    • The Wisdom of Crowds. A few particularly successful food-centric start-ups provide recipe, restaurant and food product ratings by everyday consumers (AllRecipes, Yelp, Urbanspoon, Foodily).
    • There’s an App for That. Others use mobile (KitchenMonki, LoseIt!).
    • Thinking Local and Green. Websites and applications abound that help the “locovore” or other food-conscious consumer (vegan, gluten-free, organic) identify local resources and make connections with the foodie community (Yummy Plants, Real Time Farms, Cocomama)
    • Get Organized. Some savvy sites help consumers compile their own virtual, searchable cookbooks and create shopping lists to help users get what they need (FoodDude)
    • The Daily Deal. In addition to general “daily deal” websites such as Groupon and LivingSocial, there are foodie-centric daily deal sites (Daily Gourmet, Lot18, VillageVines)

This post was authored by Caitlin Vaughn.

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