Food+City Startup Challenge

Be the Future of Food Innovation

The Food+City Startup Challenge is an international competition for startups who are transforming the food system. Each year, finalists compete for valuable prize packages, access to a special mentorship program, significant exposure to investor networks and much more.

We are calling on innovators from across the globe to create businesses, disrupt traditional supply chains and improve how we feed cities around the world.


Finalists are selected from the entries submitted during a two-month application period in the fall. Our experienced advisors pair the finalists with qualified mentors until the Showcase in March. At the Showcase, the finalists pitch and demonstrate their startup businesses before a live panel of judges, industry peers and attendees.

Who Should Apply

Entries must include a process, product, service or technology that solves a problem within the “to” of Farm to Table.  For example, some of the business ideas that interest us include:

  • Food distribution technology that enables food to travel in a safer, more efficient way
  • Data systems or products that increase visibility throughout the supply chain
  • Systems that decreases waste by getting more food into and through the supply chain
  • Packaging materials that extend shelf life or reduce waste
  • Energy-saving tools that lower carbon footprint
  • Services that optimize resources within the last mile

Benefits realized from your startup may include:

  • reduced food waste
  • lowered carbon footprint
  • safer food
  • less food fraud
  • extended shelf life
  • increased traceability
  • simplified last mile
  • improved efficiencies
  • minimized expenses
  • increase food security

Key Dates

Early Bird Application Deadline
Friday, October 19, 2018 ($35 Entry Fee)

Final Application Deadline
Friday, November 16, 2018 ($50 Entry Fee)

Finalists Announced
Monday, December 3, 2018

Mentor Pairing On or Before
Monday, December 17, 2018

Startup Challenge Showcase Events
March 2019 during SXSWeek in Austin, Texas (Exact dates TBA)

Discover More

Explore the rules and FAQs, get to know our tribe of mentors, judges and alumni, and see coverage of our previous competitions.

Ready to Apply?

Entries for the 2019 Startup Challenge are currently being accepted. Make sure to apply before the early bird deadline at midnight on Friday, October 19.