Honolulu New Tech is a series of tech related entrepreneur workshops held at the Box Jelly. Last Thursday, a food edition of New Tech was presented to a crowd of business enthusiasts. Free cupcakes and subsidized beer were available to everyone who made it in the door. Three small food businesses were in attendence – Shogunai Tacos, Hokulani Bake Shop, and WowWow Waffle.
After the standard 30 minutes of networking/confusion/inconspicuous cupcake consumption, everyone was herded into a back room for presentations from four diverse food related startups.
This presentation was mostly about the story of Recipe Remixed, rather than an actual pitch. Recipe Remixed is a website that allows people to share and mix recipes, creating an organized cloud of recipe variations. The idea was sent in to Campbell’s “Hack the Kitchen” contest and was selected for entry. In pursuit of a potential blockbuster, the team flew to New York and made it to the top 6 out of 150, but unfortunately were eliminated before the money rounds.
This Hawaii based startup seeks to be the go-to online marketplace for niche “Made in Hawaii” products. Their presentation sounded more like an actual pitch, which was good practice for a team still in its infancy. Even though the pitch came off as inexperienced I am biased toward liking any startups that are based in Hawaii. It also helped that they gave the audience a discount – use MakanaTake5 on their website to get $5 off an order.
I’m constantly amazed at the types of companies that come to the relatively small events here in Honolulu. GroupRaise is a company that uses restaurants to catalyze fundraising for schools or sports. It’s already well established, so the presentation was more about the amazing story behind the company. Based in Houston, a 4 person team has taken their idea to 100 cities across the US and are not showing signs of slowing down.
It was hard to follow this presentation, I think it was a shopping related app that allows greater interactivity between smartphones and stores. They really could have used a tech demo in their presentation to make it easier to understand. Currently the 5 person team is working for free, but have raised $400k in funds so far and are seeking $1.6m more.
After the initial four groups had presented, the floor was opened for some spontaneous shoutouts by the audience. In attendance were some representatives of Uber, a high end personal driver request app that is used in 36 cities worldwide. They just had a soft launch in Honolulu, so their service should be available (but maybe limited).
Side Note: The most consistently asked question for all presentations was “how do customers find you?”