Last week, incubator and early-stage investment firm 500 Startups hosted an event it called “Aloha Friday”, where food startups and other friends of the firm ate meals prepared by famous Hawaiian chef Roy Yamaguchi (founder of Roy’s).
500 Startups founder Dave McClure admitted that the event was mostly an excuse to eat good food. But it was also an opportunity to talk about the intersection of food and tech. McClure actually spoke on the subject last year at the first Hawaii Food and Wine Festival (an event that Yamaguchi helps organize) and he plans to return this year with startups in tow to a fully-fledged tech track at the event.
You can watch my interviews with Yamaguchi and McClure in the video above. Yamaguchi described himself as being “naive” when it comes to the startup world, but he also recognized that tech could play an important role in the future of his business. McClure, meanwhile, explained why he’s invested in a number of food startups.
“Our general philosophy is we’re looking for companies that have a really simple revenue model and provide innovation in areas that are maybe less tech- and innovation-centric and just a regular use case,” he said. “Turns out that the food industry is a very big industry — not necessarily one of the most innovative. It’s been kind of an easy place to do innovation with already a pretty big audience and pretty straightforward revenue models for a lot of those companies.”