On December 1, Vulcan Post was invited to attend the Demo Day of Startup Weekend Food KL 2019, the first food edition of Startup Weekend KL ever.
Demo Day was the final day of the event and marked the end of the 54 hours participants had to come up with an idea, create a minimum viable product and pitch it to a panel of judges: Bryan Loo of Tealive, Sayed Azam Ali of Crops For the Future, Vandana Dhaul of GROW AgriFood Tech Accelerator, and Kengyew Tham of Supplybunny.
In total, 12 teams (named after various food) pitched their ideas enthusiastically, presenting their business model, validating it, and their design and execution of it.
Out of those 12, we personally found 7 that stood out, so here they are, listed according to the order of their team pitches.
1. Team Cherries, matchmaking farmers and non-farmers
No, it’s not a dating app. Hann, Evan, Eugene, Esther, and Chen’s startup called Arice is meant to connect farmers with non-farmers for educational purposes.
Farming isn’t generally seen as an attractive job, but the Arice team found some youths that expressed interest in trying their hands at farming. However, their lack of knowledge about agriculture was stopping them.
Their platform would allow youths to learn how to manage a farm hands-on while also allowing farmers to earn additional income through the knowledge they can share.
2. Team Carrot, beating down the high cost of restaurant startups
Entrepreneurs interested in starting or renovating a restaurant typically spend a large amount of money on it.
The startup called Fablab, consisting of Yong Wen, Lee Yan Zhuan, Tang Chii Haw, Edyvean, Dan, and Tan Dai Yang identified that this was one of the main factors why many restaurants couldn’t carry on operations shortly after starting up.
To solve this, they plan to create a smart one-stop restaurant ecosystem where you can test out your concept in the latest cloud kitchen and build your business there, or they can help you build up your own restaurant in brick and mortar.
3. Team Scones, creating cutlery from rice husks
Agroware is the name of Carmen, Michelle, Lee, Regina, and Wong’s startup. We’ve written about rice straws before, and edible cutlery isn’t new either.
However, this startup wants to take rice husks, which is the inedible outer shell of rice grains, and turn them into cutlery.
Not only is this another alternative to biodegradable foodware, but it also tackles the issue of agro waste that comes from food processes and production.
4. Team Brinjal, helping suppliers and their customers save money
The freshness of our consumables is pretty important, and expiry dates can’t always be trusted.
This is the issue that Shelf Life, the startup belonging to Yudhiesh, Chan Chun Wei, Phy Na, Seow Jia Min, and Wei Shern Wong want to tackle.
They plan on introducing a freshness index for suppliers to track the shelf life of their stock and so that customers are also aware of how fresh a product still is.
This will reduce food waste and therefore costs on the supplier’s side and also potentially allow customers to buy products at prices that reflect their freshness.
So, the less fresh a product is, the lower its price drops.
5. Team Corn, giving surplus food from hotel buffets a second chance
This startup is called FoodShare, and its founders are Edison Ngu Wei Long, Khoo Chong Siang, Kheshini, and Koo Xi Moon.
Hotel buffets are notorious for creating surplus food, which then turns into food waste.
Before the food even begins to go bad, FoodShare plans to collect the surplus food, repackage it, and sell it to students and young working professionals.
Imagine that, fancy hotel food for probably half the price (or less)! These aren’t people’s leftovers either, they’re simply extra food produced by the kitchen that wasn’t even sent out.
However, the idea of taking surplus hotel buffet food specifically is rather new, so it’s no wonder that they also won first prize.
They’ll be fast tracked for the Thought For Food Challenge, get tickets to Thought For Food 2020, exclusive mentorship by Thought For Food, and 3 months of coworking at MaGIC.
6. Team Bronana, giving babies more food options than just bland mush
Team Bronana is the merger of Team Broccoli and Team Banana. Their startup name is Nutrifairies, because they’re taking on the role of fairies who bring nutritious, fresh and tasty food to babies.
Started by Wan Farihah, Nathan, Shakira, Surya Dharma, and Brandon Chong, this startup aims to be the alternative to instant, pre-packaged baby food (that’s full of sugar) you’d find in stores.
It’ll be made lovingly in a central kitchen that’s up to safety standards and can be prepared on a daily or weekly basis.
Parents who are working may not be able to find the time to make their own fresh baby food from scratch, so that’s one other issue that Nutrifairies is solving.
Their idea earned them third prize which includes an exclusive mentorship by Thought For Food and 3 months of coworking at MaGIC.
7. Team Capsicum, providing a cloud drive-thru solution for independent restaurants
This isn’t quite the same as just ordering delivery through GrabFood or foodpanda.
No, this startup called Lalu created by Anas, Siva, Keen Hon, Adam, and Tiffany simply wants to bring the concept of drive-thru beyond McDonald’s and Starbucks.
Say you’re planning to head home after a long day at work, and you start thinking about dinner.
There’s nothing nearby that you’d like to tapau, cooking at home sounds tiring, and ordering delivery once you get home means a longer delay for dinner.
Lalu wants to make it possible for restaurants to prepare your order (placed through Lalu’s app) based on your ETA and have it pop out hot and fresh from the kitchen just as you arrive.
All you’d have to do is roll down your windows and get your food.
However, this isn’t a completely new idea either. It’s already being done in Penang by a startup called DROP, but what Lalu wants to do is take this concept to Klang Valley.
These ideas and solutions were all conceived within 54 hours, so it’s to be expected that they’re still rough around the edges.
Hopefully, the teams can stay together and build upon their ideas to make them into a full-blown operational startup, as these solutions can definitely benefit us all.
- You can read more about other Malaysian startups we’ve written about here.
Featured Image Credit: Techstars & Pona