WeWork’s first Food Labs accelerator program is in full swing at the flagship Food Labs location at WeWork 511 W 25th St in Manhattan. Earlier in the year, eight auspicious food startups, spanning industries across the food and agriculture sectors including consumer packaged goods (CPG), food waste, and agriculture and technology were chosen to join the accelerator.
“We selected these companies based on their ability to make an impact on the future of food, and we’re excited to play our part by providing them with the tools, resources, and connections they need to grow and succeed,” says Tessa Price, WeWork Food Labs program manager. “We can’t wait to see what they will accomplish.”
As part of the program, the startups were granted access to on-site amenities, including dedicated desks, a research and development kitchen with pantry and storage, event space, and studio space for podcasts and photo shoots. These selected startup companies will benefit from intensive programming and access to equity investments over an accelerated five-month period, while also sharing in the opportunity to collaborate within the broader Food Labs and WeWork communities. WeWork has contributed $125,000 in equity investments to each participating company, and facilitated access to a dedicated program manager, industry experts, venture capitalists and investors, and distribution opportunities.
Learn about the inaugural class of WeWork’s accelerator program and how they intend to impact the future of food below.
HotSpot Cooktop has reinvented what it means to cook at home. Instead of heating food on a conventional stove top, this flat-top grill can be customized to heat pots and pans of any shape or size and can heat several pots at different temperatures simultaneously. It doesn’t hurt that the smooth surface completely cuts out the task of cleaning between cumbersome stove-top burners.
Spare Food Co.
Approximately 40 percent of the food grown in the U.S. goes to waste. Launched by brothers Adam and Jeremy Kaye, Spare Food Co. intends to tackle these astounding numbers head on. The CPG company innovates to solve for a host of challenges around food waste. Part of the business’s work involves identifying ingredients that tend to be wasted in large kitchens (think: onion scraps), and then finds new ways to create delicious meals and products to feed more people while simultaneously reducing the environmental impact of food waste.
Seed + Mill
This women-led CPG startup aims to make it easier for more people to eat more plants with a range of delicious products. Seed + Mill’s prime ingredient is high-quality Ethiopian sesame seeds, which they use to produce artisanal halva, tahini, and other sesame seed–derived goods.
Katif wants to ensure there’s a future for farmers. The company is developing autonomous farming technologies that include stackable robotic farms that can produce high-quality and affordable crops to feed the growing population. Katif’s hardware is fully open-sourced and constantly improving with AI learning so others can benefit from it work.
Farmshelf makes it possible to grow fresh produce virtually anywhere. The company builds smart, indoor farms for restaurants and hotels, enabling the user to grow food in a more cost-effective and sustainable way. These individual farms—which are about the size of a bookcase—produce enough food to feed a successful restaurant year-round.
ESL Works strengthens teams and communication within food and beverage companies by providing work-focused mobile tools to teach English to food industry employees around the U.S., helping them succeed in their current jobs and advance their careers.
Oxtale, a women-led CPG company that helps modern consumers integrate global flavors into their everyday meals, partners with acclaimed chefs with expertise in specific cuisines to craft delicious and convenient meal starters that consumers can cook in under 30 minutes. The product, which is set to launch in early 2020, will debut with traditional Asian dishes, providing Americans access to authentic flavors that typically require numerous shopping trips and hours of cook time.
Dailyhuman provides data, analytics, and insights to help restaurants, food service, and CPG brands anticipate food preferences, target customers, and curate offerings. For consumers, the company’s APIs, chatbots, and mobile apps can be used to nudge people towards healthier and more sustainable food choices, and better connect with family and friends. Today, Dailyhuman is applying its proprietary Human Taste Index™ and developing new tools for corporate nutrition, healthcare, and the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.
Kate Bratskeir is a writer for WeWork’s Ideas by We, focusing on sustainability and workplace psychology. Previously, she was a senior editor at Mic and HuffPost. Her work has appeared in New York magazine, Health, Travel & Leisure, Women’s Health, and more.