Images courtesy Food Foundry, Chicago
There’s a lot of hard work being done to recruit startup technology firms to Buffalo, and give off the overall impression that we’re an innovative, tech-friendly city. That’s especially hard to do when Time Warner/Spectrum has the entire city in a death grip, offering 2003’s fastest, most unreliable internet available at $70/month. The mayor is asking wireless companies to pay a much higher rate than other cities to build 5G towers here (so they’re not coming any time soon). Verizon doesn’t want to (or cannot because of some back door deal) invest in their infrastructure in the city to offer any competition to Spectrum, and finally, after two long phone conversations with them, National Grid has zero interest in digitizing their grid for efficiency and creating the fastest internet in the region as a byproduct. (Chattanooga TN, another former rust belt city, did exactly that and nearly put Comcast out of business there and actually did become a tech hub as a result. Check out “The City that was Saved by the Internet.“
With all that said, we shouldn’t stop trying to recruit all sorts of businesses, including tech-firms, but why not embrace one of the things we already do so damn well: FOOD.
43North is about more than the prize money. There’s also mentorship and immediate development of a strong network to rely on for supplies, labor, expertise and other services. It’s part of the effort to keep businesses here after their first mandatory year in town.
Chicago has a program called the Food Foundry, “A startup accelerator rethinking the way food moves and moves us.”
Learn about it, and apply to participate in it right here.
We’re not writing a desperate plea for something similar to start in Buffalo, we’re encouraging Buffalo companies to apply, get $100K, and a ton of mentoring. While our restaurants are incredible and help define us, this is more so about our urban and rural farmers and producers. Often not in the spotlight, they’re the reason you love your locally-owned, locally-sourced restaurant in your neighborhood.
We need more businesses to send their people out of town to learn better ideas and bring them back home. It’s not 1993 anymore, Buffalo. We need new ideas.
Who they are
The Food Foundry is a Chicago-based accelerator program by Relish Works built in partnership with Gordon Food Service (The place in North Buffalo on Elmwood by Regal!) and 1871. The Food Foundry supports, connects, and propels innovative startups who are reimagining the foodservice industry.
Who you are
An innovative early-stage startup that is actively pursuing disruption within the foodservice value chain and ready to scale to the next level. (Must be willing to travel to Chicago for a portion of the program).
Examples include: 3rd party delivery, block chain, emerging technology (IoT, AI, sensors, AR/VR, autonomous vehicles, robotics), food as medicine, food safety, food science, food waste, hydroponics/vertical farming, labor solutions, loyalty programs, meal kits, transparency, and anything else that is potentially disrupting and reshaping foodservice in North America.
The Food Foundry will provide startups with a blended investment of $100k in exchange for 3%* equity.
*comprised of a common stock purchase agreement and a SAFE (simple agreement for future equity)
They will connect startups to national food service business resources, distribution and supply chain resources, advanced curriculum, access to restaurant operators, mentors, and more.
Quadruple your network by connecting with like-minded startups, innovation practitioners, seasoned entrepreneurs, industry experts, and mentors within one of the nation’s most exciting culinary and technology hotspots.
Tag your friends who are working in this unseen side of the industry. Let’s bring some new ideas and expertise back to town.