Chicago has long been regarded for its deep-dish pizza, Italian red meat sandwiches, and a handful of other culinary concoctions. Food tradition in the Windy City has branched out some distance past those staples, of course–and for plenty marketers, it is becoming a large business.
From higher espresso for caffeine-disadvantaged students to healthful vending system options, Chicago is now a hotbed for burgeoning food organizations. It helps that the town’s broader startup scene has been heating up in recent years, comprising a numerous range of industries and a marked growth in funding. On May 21, Chicago will play host to Inc.’s Fast Growth Tour, a conference proposing keynotes, one-on-one coaching sessions, and networking possibilities with accomplished business leaders.
The occasion also will include a panel dialogue with RxBar co-founder Peter Rahal and Simple Mills founder Katlin Smith, Chicago entrepreneurs who’ve led meals companies to big fulfillment. Here are 4 startups that appear poised to comply with their footsteps.
1. Farmer’s Fridge
Tired of snacking on potato chips and candy bars from vending machines? Farmer’s Fridge is trying to trade that via refurbishing antique machines and filling them with healthful alternatives like salads, sandwiches, and trail mix. The objects fee between $five and $8 and are stocked day by day to make certain freshness. The company now has extra than 250 machines in Chicago and Milwaukee, in hospitals, airports, and retail places like comfort shops and pharmacies. CEO Luke Saunders tells Inc. It plans to amplify someplace else in the Midwest, with as a minimum 500 extra installations by means of the cease of the 12 months.
Saunders based Farmer’s Fridge in 2013. In September, the enterprise raised $30 million in a Series C round led by means of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s mission capital fund Innovation Endeavors, bringing its total funding to $ forty-two million, consistent with Crunchbase. Farmer’s Fridge additionally these days announced it changed into stepping into a 50,000-rectangular-foot manufacturing facility on Chicago’s South Side.
Lucas Philips turned into a freshman at Northwestern in 2015 and annoyed via the restricted espresso options to be had: He both should drink the terrible brew served on the faculty’s cafeteria or wait in painfully long strains at Starbucks. To remedy the problem, he released BrewBike, a scholar-run coffee company that began operations as a small cart connected to a motorcycle. Now the employer has retail places in Chicago and motorbike stands at Northwestern and the University of Texas at Austin.
In September, BrewBike raised an $800,000 seed round to amplify operations. Key investors include Chicagoans Mats Lederhausen, founder of the making an investment platform BE-CAUSE, and Matt Matros, the founder of caffeinated sparkling water enterprise Limitless Coffee.
3. Vital Proteins
Kurt Seidensticker’s résumé consists of schooling NASA astronauts to perform space shuttles, working at Motorola, and launching a Millennial beauty logo. He’s also the founder of Vital Proteins, an enterprise that sells dietary supplements and drinks containing collagen, the main structural protein in hair, pores, and skin, and bones. The products–along with collagen-infused water, bone broth collagen powder, and collagen creamers–have won recognition for the reason that enterprise’s 2014 release for their promise to plump pores and skin, grow hair, and treat aches and pains.
Seidensticker, an avid runner, was given the concept for the agency when he discovered that once the age of 25 the human frame stops generating collagen, that could cause the type of knee ache he changed into experiencing. After initially self-funding the startup, he acquired $19 million from non-public-fairness company Cavu Venture Partners in November 2017.
Today, Vital Proteins is in extra than 10,000 shops across the country, including Whole Foods and Target, consistent with Crain’s Chicago Business. While famous dietary tendencies helped fueled its increase, the employer was given an introduced boost this month from an announced partnership with Kourtney Kardashian’s way of life and e-commerce website online, Poosh.
Food has recognized the key to surviving the workday: lunch. The organization works with eating places to convey pop-up sites to office buildings and runs in-workplace eating places that update company cafeterias. The intention is to provide workers more culinary alternatives and decrease the quantity of time they waste trying to find a snack.
The startup becomes based by way of Orazio Buzza, the previous president and COO of Echo Global Logistics, a supply-chain management enterprise. It has raised $34.2 million in funding, including a $12.Five million Series C in September 2017, in line with Crunchbase. Since its 2011 launch, it has multiplied to 22 towns throughout the U.S., which includes a gap in JFK Airport’s just-opened TWA Hotel. Fooda is operating the meals corridor there, which includes New York City favorites like Empanada Mama and the Halal Guys.