May 1 Startup Summary:
Eating and Entrepreneurism

Much of this week’s startup news centers around that four-letter f-word that gives our lives energy, sustenance and meaning. No, this isn’t a Dave McClure speech, so the word we are referring to doesn’t rhyme with duck.

Maple, the new project from celebrity chef (and SXSW speaking alum) David Chang emerged as the focal point of all this food-related hype. Explains Fast Company: “Maple’s focus is on getting the food as quickly as possible from oven to your door, because delivery is not a side business, it’s the only business. Maple also avoids paying for expensive real estate, instead housing its inventory and most of its kitchen space in an old Pfizer factory in Williamsburg. It can serve more people with fewer staff, and the number of dishes it sells is not limited by a line that spills onto the sidewalk.”

But, not everyone is completely sold on the food startup buzz. In TechCrunch, Austin’s own Robyn Metcalfe warns that funding in this space has become too frothy too quickly: “We’re seeing some of that same recklessness creeping into the food industry, as we rush to embrace a new surge of food-related startups. A bubble is coming. Unfortunately, venture capitalists may not be subjecting food startups to the same due diligence that they do for non-food-related startups.”

Likewise, in a posted titled “Call ‘Food Delivery Startups’ By Their Real Name: Restaurants”, Brian Solomon of Forbes writes: “The space is crowded because they aren’t competing with each other–they’re competing with hundreds of thousands of traditional restaurants. The differences between these companies and their restaurant brethren are basically nonexistent.”

At any rate, if you have an appetite for learning, there are plenty of startup-related events to choose from in the coming week. TechCrunch Disrupt comes to New York on May 4–6 (if you are in the Big Apple for this confab, be sure to stop by the SXSW event on Tuesday evening). Also, Collision returns to Sin City on May 5–6 and Big Omaha brings the entrepreneurial fever to the heart of Nebraska from May 6–8.

Speaking of startup-related events, the third annual SXSW V2V in Las Vegas is now less than three months away. The 2015 program features a strong slate of founders and other entrepreneurial experts. Save $200 on the walkup fees by purchasing your badge before the end of the day on Friday, May 8.

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