On Wednesday night, the food+tech community packed into 4Food for the latest Meetup where the theme was the business of food e-commerce. There were over 140 people in attendance! The demos, from Ordr.in, Blue Apron and ChopChopGo! showed off how these three innovative startups are capturing segments of the food e-commerce market. Attendees posed some tough questions. We all had a chance to enjoy some good food, drinks and catching up. A big thank you to all those who came out, and if you weren’t able to make it, check out the Meetup page for the next one!
Demoing first was David Bloom of Ordr.in, who started off his presentation with a number: $170 billion. The size of the restaurant pickup and delivery market in the United States and, he says, still relatively untapped by new ventures. Ordr.in is a technology company that essentially takes all the information on a menu and turns it into flexible data. It helps restaurants get their menu onto Facebook and across the web, and has an API that developers can build off of. Restaurants pay them to digitize and syndicate their menus.
Since Ordr.in takes unstructured data, structures it and basically turns it into a fire hose (of an API) one of the audience members asked, what else could it be used for? Bloom says they think the restaurant market is plenty big for now, but what they’ve built could be applied to other things, sure…
Next up was Matt Salzberg from Blue Apron. The number he started with was $626 billion. “Food is a gigantic market,” Salzberg said. (Basically, larger than the market cap. of Apple.) Blue Apron sources recipes from chefs and sends you the ingredients to make them each week. For just shy of $60, you get all the ingredients necessary to make three meals for two people each week, delivered to your door.
One of the questions from the audience was about how many subscribers Blue Apron has. Salz didn’t give it away, but he said if you follow them on Twitter and see the boxes stacked floor to ceiling (for shipping), you’ll get the sense that they’re growing and they are.
Last up, but not least, was Un Kwon from ChopChopGo! She won the “furthest to travel” award for coming all the way from the West Coast where her company is headquartered (in Orinda, CA) to demo. Her startup is a middle man between grocers and shoppers with a twist. It aggregates food bloggers’ recipes and let’s you add them to your shopping list where they appear as ingredients. ChopChopGo! integrates with grocers like Safeway to let you order those ingredients direct. You can also add in household items and the like. It’s in private beta right now.
One of the audience members asked how ChopChopGo! prevents
larger companies from coming along and just replicating what they’ve done? Kwon noted that for a lot of traditional grocers, a very slim chunk of their business is online and there is room for a nimbler startup to come in and take some of that market and, who knows, maybe be an attractive buy for a larger grocer that, when they get around to it, isn’t looking to reinvent the wheel.
That was it for the demos! Which probably lasted about as long as the drinks and conversation that followed. Thanks again to all of the presenters and attendees! We look forward to seeing you at the next one.