A few months ago, it would have been very safe to say that mobility and data science have transformed the global scenario, and food-related technologies lagging behind in the race at a much lower rung of innovation. Not today… FoodTech is a bubbling ecosystem that has over 200+ start-ups competing for attention from the consumers, investors, and job-seekers. One such player in this Foodtech ecosystem, Tastewise has splashed into the ‘AI-startup-pool’ with their latest funding round. Pinching $5 million Series A from a leading FoodTech investor PeakBridge means that the company would now focus on growing and expanding its AI-powered food trends and intelligence platform.
Trivia from FoodTech: Earlier in May this year, PeakBridge had hired food investment veteran Peter Kruger to manage the EIT FoodSparks seed fund in collaboration with EIT Food.
What is FoodTech?
FoodTech is a new tech-driven ecosystem consisting of all the agri-food entrepreneurs, AI startups and marketing technology platforms that offer innovative products for distribution, marketing, customer service, and last-mile retailers. Keeping in mind the expanding business opportunities related to customer experience and mobile application development in food and beverages sectors, Tastewise brings together a tight-knitted AI platform to gain a deeper and better-contextualized understanding of consumer culinary needs and emerging trends in the foodtech market.
Specialized FoodTech venture fund PeakBridge is uniquely qualified to lead the funding round, with a senior team from the agri-food industry, investment management and venture capital founded by Erich Sieber, former Nestlé executive, and partner of Nestlé’s Fund-of-One and Nadav Berger, the founder of FoodLab Capital, respectively. Peakbridge Venture Partner Rick Borenstein, Chairman of Sequoia Partners and former President of Wells Fargo Investment Company, will join as Tastewise’s board member.
Last year Pico Venture Partners provided Tastewise $1.5 million in seed funding, bringing the company’s total funding to $6.5 million to date.
At the time of this announcement, Tastewise co-founder Alon Chen, said —
“We’re looking forward to deepening the understanding of consumer needs and trends by using AI that comprehends human behavior around eating and drinking. We are delighted to partner with PeakBridge’s team of experts and executives from Nestlé, Mars, Pepsi and Sequoia Partners, as we build toward creating a smarter, better food industry powered by AI and food intelligence.”
Why Tastewise Funding Matters So Much!
The Series A round is a big-win for Tastewise’s AI technology. The technology was so far focused on understanding human interactions with food. Now, the game-changing moment would enable the foodtech company to further scale the platform to measure behavioral and emotional factors such as the motivations behind why people select and prefer certain foods over others.
By breaking down data to the specific functions that interest consumers, Tastewise not only knows what foods are trending, but why. With the platform expansion, Tastewise will further train its AI to comprehend the deep human motivation around food trends, with insights that will shape the future of the industry.
Tastewise gains actionable insights into real-life interactions with food by analyzing over 1 billion food photos shared every month together with the largest restaurant menu database available today (over 180,000 restaurants in the U.S.). The company already works with Fortune 500 food and beverage brands to pinpoint market opportunities and is primed to identify potential market gaps to fill for rising trends like virtual restaurants. Plans to expand the AI technology platform’s visual analysis of images will empower the platform to provide more proactive insights on emerging trends in the culinary industry.
“We are dedicated to supporting companies that are focused on high-impact FoodTech insights and solutions, like Tastewise, as they expand their AI platform development to gain deeper insights about trends that will change the future of the food industry,” said Erich Sieber, PeakBridge’s Founder and Managing Partner. “As FoodTech investors, we’ve evaluated hundreds of companies’ impact on the market. Tastewise is absolutely a company that is on the path towards revolutionizing the food industry with deep data-based consumer understanding.”
In tandem with announcement, Tastewise has also published its “2019 Food for Function” report, drawing attention to some of the biggest opportunities for food brands emerging in today’s era of wellness-obsessed consumers.
Founded by former Google executive Alon Chen and Eyal Gaon, Tastewise brings the power of data to the art of food and beverage intelligence. The platform analyzes billions of food data points – including menus, home recipes and social media – to provide real-time insights for restaurants, hospitality groups, and food brands. Capturing food innovation in real-time, Tastewise equips industry professionals to identify target segments and competitors, understand emerging trends, and determine which dishes or products should be served next. Tastewise leverages machine learning to tap into the culinary consciousness that drives the world’s freshest food and beverage insights.