One month in a Parisian flat (which could be stated otherwise as overpriced and awfully small space) is a long period of time. But as we can’t go out, we have to find some positive occupations such as thinking about the world ahead. Looking at the business closed and the impact of the current crisis on businesses, I remembered this quote by Warren Buffet explaining its conservative approach of the markets: “only when the tide goes out that you learn who has been swimming naked.”
Like many of you, I am now looking at startups with circumspection (and maybe less commonly, I also look at agriculture, food, beverage and retail corporates with the same caution). I share with you the modest result of my thinking. I broke my evolution into four criteria:
- Is this company proving able to evolve fast during the crisis and after it?
- How is it treating its employees? After years and years of “human capital is the most important of all”, notably in the food business, we now see who is truly committed to the welfare of its workers (and who’s not). This is maybe the weakest criterion, but after more than 10 years in the food ecosystem, I have the conviction that in this ecosystem at least, there is a correlation between doing great business and being nice to the people who work for you.
- And last but not least, is this company able to face a crisis? What’s behind the usual bullshit it serves its shareholders (angels, VCs or public markets)
- Would the world in ten years miss this company? Or put it in another way: is it contributing positively to the big issues we are facing?
What would be your criteria? Below are some examples of companies evolving fast and other swimming naked. I hope you are all doing fine and that you find some time to think and do all the stuff you kept in your “todo lists”. If preparing the future for you, your startup, project or company is one of them, contact us!
#1 – Luckin Coffee drop more than 80% of its value after an alleged fraud of $300M
As Warren Buffet famously said: “only when the tide goes out that you learn who has been swimming naked.”
Indeed, while social distancing is the new normal and most coffee shops are closed or reduced to takeaway orders, what could be worse for the fastest growing chain of coffee in the world? Luckin’ Coffee has found the answer: a $300M allegation of fraud.
#2 – Foodservice procurement startups are pivoting to deliver food to consumers
Since 2017, a new wave of foodservice procurement startups connecting startups and their suppliers has emerged, among which Choco based both in Germany and France, and Pepper in the US. Both have moved from B2B to B2C as most of their foodservice clients shut down. This example is more than an illustration of how startups can move quickly. It should be an inspiration for many corporates.
#3 – Nature’s Fynd raises $80M for its revolutionary protein
This $80M series B will be used to grow the production capabilities of Nature’s Fynd. The company is known for the extremophile fungus that one of its co-founders discovered in Yellowstone’s geysers (known as yellowstonensis). As their names suggest, extremophile organisms are used to extreme situations and therefore require much fewer resources to multiply. Going forward on this discovery, the company aims to create a complete ingredient based on this protein. For that, it is building a 35,000 square food facility to create a flour with 50%+ protein.
You still want more, here are some of our favourite reads of the last couple of weeks:
- Restaurant delivery consolidation is still underway. Latam iFood and Delivery Hero local brand (Domicilios) merge to compete with local giant Rappi.
- Toast, one of the leaders in restaurant payment (ePOS) cuts 50% of its staff.
- Starship Technologies’ robots start making food deliveries in Arizona
- India’s delivery ecosystem is still leading: BigBasket raises another round of $60M to grow its grocery delivery platform
As you can see, FoodTech is indeed moving faster than ever in 2020. But you are not alone. DigitalFoodLab is here to help you :
- Stay at the top of your domain. We prove exclusive insights and information through talks and our FoodTech watch
- Prepare for the future. We help you make plans for long term trends and their implication on your business and to identify the right startup to work on your current issues.
- Innovate faster. We work with you to define the innovation strategy fitted to your business means and needs.
No matter if you are a startup or a food giant, we are here to work with you and change the world of food! (contact us).
Have a great week!