Austin is well on its way up! In recent years the state capital’s reputation for both its food and tech scene has grown considerably. Once known only for burgers, tacos and pizzas, Austin’s culinary landscape has since become more sophisticated and diverse. The transformation is thanks in no small part to the influx of tech entrepreneurs who are choosing to start up in Austin. With various accelerator programs and a growing ecosystem, this funky city is becoming a thriving hub for food startups and new food ideas. Here’s a few of them to whet your appetite.
Rhythm Superfoods creates clean, nutritionally powerful raw food snacks aimed at encouraging people to achieve optimal energy through their food. Using ingredients such as kale, broccoli and beetroot the company has a range of healthy dehydrated snacks, such as chips and bites. With growing raw and health food trends it is no surprise Rhythm is taking off. The startup closed an investment round this year that was led by General Mills.
BeatBox Beverages produces a range of trendy, packaged mixed drinks in shareable 3L box. The startup currently offers five different flavors including fruit punch and cranberry limeade. Designed towards younger drinkers, the boxes are intended for parties and social occasions. The startup caught the eye of Mark Cuban on Shark Tank, who invested $1 million USD.
Farmhouse Delivery is a local food delivery service. Members get their choice of weekly or bi-weekly deliveries of local fruits and vegetables with the option to order additional items such as locally source organic eggs, meat, dairy products, bread and artisanal cheese. With deliveries that come straight to customers’ doors it’s a convenient way to support local producers without having to run all over town. The company sources its food from a range of different locations to ensure a good selection of produce.
Topshelf makes it easier to get your hands on the hard stuff. Their app connects users with local liquors retailers. Users can browse, order and pay for liquor directly through the app, which will then arrange delivery. Launched in 2015, the app has generated an impressive 78% month-on-month revenue growth for their partner stores since launch.
Aspire Food Group aims to solve the massive problem of economically challenged and malnourished populations with high protein and nutrient rich insects. Founded by a group of McGill MBA students in 2012, the startup won the prestigious $1 million Hult Prize and has since set up in three markets: Ghana, Mexico and the US. Their American operation produces edible cricket flour from their Austin farm.
Ten Acre Organics is an urban farming company founded in 2012, whose ten-acre farm is designed to mimic a natural ecosystem and be exceptionally sustainable and productive. The company uses aquaponics greenhouses where they raise fish and vegetables in a closed system. The farm also grows organic food crops, fruit trees and mushrooms, as well as raising chickens and bees. Their aim is to optimize efficiency without creating any waste.
Epic manufactures meat based products including protein snack bars, harvest mixes and bone broths. The jerky-like meat bars are made with grass fed animals and come in a range of flavors such as Bison Bacon Cranberry. The company was founded in 2013 by husband and wife team Taylor Collins and Katie Forrest who saw an opportunity to meet growing demand within the Paleo diet movement, and was purchased by General Mills at the beginning of 2016.
Funding: $750,000 in 1 Round.
Drink Daily Greens aims to do exactly that – offer the population cold pressed green juice drinks everyday. Their line of drinks feature fruits and vegetables sourced from local farmers. The company was founded by Shauna Martin who discovered a passion for green juice and its benefits following a battle with breast cancer.
Funding: $8.5M in 2 Rounds
Austin based hardware startup Supermechanical has created the Range Smart Cooking Thermometer. Easy-to-use and with Bluetooth connectivity, the thermometer can be connected to your phone to track temperatures over time or to remotely monitor cooking. Perfect for the food connoisseur with a hand in technology. The thermometer is extremely accurate and has probes in different shapes and sizes to suit various uses. Supermechanical ran a successful kickstarter campaign last year raising nearly $100,000 USD.
TabbedOut lets customers pay for restaurant or bar tabs directly from their phones, while also reviewing the establishment. For customers, this makes paying a tab straightforward without having to wait for staff. The app allows you to split the bill amongst your party, submit reviews and take advantage of special offers. For bars and restaurants the app enables them to accept mobile payments directly into their POS as well as get insights into customers’ spending habits, product preferences and feedback.
Beanitos wants you to forget about corn-based tortillas chips and shift your focus towards the benefits of beans. Made from beans, Beanitos’ tortillas are full of proteins, fiber and antioxidants. The snacks are available in a range of flavors such as lime, nacho and different bean types – including white, black and pinto beans. With as much flavor as other snacks they’re an interesting and healthy alternative.
Dinner Elf offers affordable home cooks who visit customers’ homes with all the ingredients and equipment needed to cook a set of 3 healthy meals. Customers can choose from a range of menu options and get 3 meals cooked for 2 people for $100 USD, or family size for $120 USD. It’s an innovative and interesting way to get home cooked food without actually having to do the cooking yourself.
Burpy is a same day grocery delivery service that can pick up groceries from any preferred local retailers. The website and mobile app make it easy for users to order the goods they want and communicate with their designated shopper as often as they like. The platform is currently working on developing painless reordering, and making the process as personalized and straightforward as possible.
Paleo-friendly Beetnik produces organic gluten free frozen meals and pasta sauces. The company focusses on creating healthy versions of classic and contemporary dishes using very high quality ingredients. For example, the meat Beetnik foods uses is humanely raised and grass fed, the company supports local producers wherever possible and also sells sustainably sourced meat and fish for customers to cook at home.