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Techweek Chicago 2015: Food Startups Compete in LAUNCH Competition

- Written by on July 1st 2015

If you noticed we've been a bit silent for awhile, it's because we've been busy getting ready for Techweek Chicago and its LAUNCH competition. On June 26, spoonacular and 15 other startups participated in the semi-finals, having been selected from more than 100 companies who showcased their businesses the day before. The winning startup, Apollo Medical Devices, more than deserved first place with its potentially life-saving medical device.

Before the semifinals, we spent two days at our table, drawing in visitors with our bright green shirts and inviting gummy bears. Those who participated in our little taste experiment—trying to distinguish the regular gummy bears from the sugar free gummy bears—were introduced to our site and apps.

Some stats:

-115 Techweek attendees participated

-43% could not tell which gummy bears were sugar free

-57% preferred the taste of the sugar free gummy bears compared to the regular gummy bears

Though we didn't have much time to look around, we made a point to track down other food-related companies presenting their services, whether as part of the launch competition or the expo. Here are some of the food startups from Techweek Chicago worth checking out:

FoodTrace helps farms, local restaurants and grocers, and artisanal food producers manage their businesses by connecting suppliers and buyers.

Cuiserve: Their website doesn't reveal much to outsiders, but this service will help restaurants better handle seating their guests, whether they have reserved a table or just walked in.

Chefmade is a meal delivery company that lets you order chef-prepared meals that you can reheat when you're ready to eat. For every meal you order, the company feeds one person via a local food bank.

Sprig delivers ready-to-eat meals in as little as 15 minutes. Better yet, this isn't your average delivery dinner that you end up feeling guilty about. Sprig uses high-quality, sustainably-sourced ingredients AND uses compostable packaging.

Spoter is an upcoming app that will recommend food you'll enjoy based on your interests.

ZeroCater: If you dread planning company events because you don't want to deal with hiring a caterer that can accommodate everyone's dietary needs, ZeroCater can take all that work off your hands.

OFNI, which is currently accepting beta testers, lets you place an order and skip the line at your favorite fast food locations and restaurants.

Tally, like OFNI, aims to shorten your wait times by letting you order and pay for your drinks at the bar using your phone, so all you have to do is pick up your finished drink.

Purshable is definitely the startup we're most excited about; their app notifies users when items go on sale because their sell-by date is approaching. As a result, grocery stores throw away less perfectly edible food, while users get great discounts on grocery products.

All in all, Techweek Chicago 2015 was an interesting event, but we're hoping to attend GROW next time!


Crystal Schlegelmilch

Written by on July 1st 2015

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