Irish American entrepreneur Sean O’Sullivan who is credited as being one of the creators of the term cloud computing. He is also responsible for bringing street mapping to personal computers. He has been a hugely successful entrepreneur and his investment firm SOS Ventures recently announced a new initiative, an accelerator for startups in the food and drink industry. This program is called Food-X and is being run in New York by one of O’Sullivan’s long term collaborators Shen Tong.
Food X founder Shen Tong graciously agreed to give IrishCentral the low down on what the program is all about. SOS Ventures plan to run several Food X programs and they believe that the food industry is ripe for large scale disruption. They are actively recruiting teams for the first Food X and have already had several hundred applications from food delivery applications to food labelling technology.
You can apply to Food X here.
Shen Tong and his team at Food X have assembled a formidable and impressive panel of mentors and advisors for the successful applicants from Dorothy Hamilton (International Culinary Institute, James Beard Foundation), Ben Cohen (Ben&Jerry ice-cream) and Shawn Broderick (TechStars, Boston)
What advice would you give entrepreneurs looking to make an impact in the food and beverage sector?
You can do well by doing good in the disruptive areas of the food industry. This is a very rare opportunity. It's usually next to impossible to do both. While it is hard to do so in food just like any impactful and scalable start-ups.
What are some of the traits or characteristics of entrepreneurs or their companies that stand out for you?
- Great taste and eating experience
- Promoting Personal Responsibility
- With a core team (star CEO, and at least 1 more capable co-founder)
- Directly relevant track record,
- Business ideas close to full business plan but changeable,
- Other potential investors,
- An identifiable talent pool,
- An emerging market,
- An existing mature market attacked by disruptive technology and/or business model,
- A directly relevant following, numbers in hundreds (or thousands depending on industry),
- A web of key influencer and decision makers in the targeted. markets
- The existence of similar start-ups
What are the next steps for Food X after the initial cohort are finished with their 14 weeks?
Demo Day. Further investment in Seed Round and Series A. Extending our Impact Network for our companies, founder communities. Starting 2nd cohort.
Can you describe what an opportunity Food X is for entrepreneurs?
The first international business accelerator program launching food-related innovation ventures with an evergreen fund SOSventures for multi-stage investment. We can afford to have a long view, and we want to revolutionize food.
In addition to up to $40k per team funding for 8% equity, our New York accelerator space will have regular mentor sessions by luminaries such as Dorothy Hamilton (International Culinary Institute, James Beard Foundation), Ben Cohen (Ben&Jerry), Joel Berg (NYCCAH), Sean O'Sullivan (Netflix, 500Startups), Bill Liao (WeForest, CoderDojo, Xing co-founder), Shawn Broderick (TechStars, Boston), Brad Higgins (State Department, Goldman Sachs), Charles Adler (Agency.com Kickstarter co-founder), Krysia Zajonc (Local Food Lab), Deborah Estrin (Cornel Univ.), Food-x founder Shen Tong (VFinity Tiananmen activist), and scores of entrepreneurs, nutritionists, food experts, top chefs, investors, business coaches, academians, media and design coaches.
Food-X partners with early-stage food startups to bring out their best potential and take products and services to become value in the market in areas of food&beverage, health, and environment that are ripe for disruption. Whether your solution is upstream or downstream, agricultural or technology-based, we will consider providing funding and mentorship to accelerate your company to do well by bringing real change.
What would be a successful outcome for you after the program ends?
Create value for our founders; not only offering healthy, sustainable, good tasting products and services to people that promote community and personal responsibilities, but help to create a jolt to imagine a better food future.