Food+City Challenge Prize Recaps

 Food+City Startup Challenge  2019


En Solucion: Using nanobubble technology to create the next generation of food safety.

Cambridge Crops: Developing a unique and natural biomaterial food coating that dramatically extends the shelf life of perishable goods.

Heliponix: Aeroponic appliance that grows food in consumers homes.

People’s Choice Winner

ChefisConnecting Mexico City’s home cooks with eaters via a food delivery platform

Student Prize Winner

LV Fruitfly: Smart Automated Aerial Orchard Harvesting System


The 2019 Food+City Startup Challenge at SXSW was a resounding success, with five talented teams taking home the awards. 

 Congratulations to:

  •  En Solucion (Austin, TX.) – 1st place and $10,000
  •  Cambridge Crops (Cambridge, MA.)- 2nd place and $5,000
  •  Heliponix (Evansville, IN.) – 3rd place and $2,500
  •  Chefis (Mexico City, MX.) – People’s Choice Award 
  • LV Fruitfly (Austin, TX.) – Student Prize and $2,500

After receiving almost 100 applications from across the globe, our community of mentors, judges, and advisors reviewed and rated each one. The top 13 startups were invited to participate in a three-month mentorship program and pitch their food logistics solution at SXSW.

On March 10, finalists came from all over the world to meet in Austin and be officially welcomed to the Food+City family during an expo, student pitch competition, and speaker series at The University of Texas at Austin. LV Fruitfly was crowned the winner, and given the opportunity to pitch again the next day.  The event culminated with an amazing networking dinner with food from previous Food+City Startup Challenge participant Bento Picnic.

March 11 was the big day. Finalists pitched their solutions to an audience of Food+City community members, and SXSW attendees with En Solucion, Cambridge Crops, Heliponix and Chefis taking home the awards.
We’d like to extend a huge thanks to all the participating startups, mentors, judgessponsors and attendees. Without all of whom this event would not be possible!

Although only five companies could take home the prize, the real value of the competition lies in the connections made among their peers, mentors, judges and investors. We look forward to keeping up with the progress of each company and supporting them in any way possible.


1. Alpaca Market

2. Cambridge Crops

3. Chefis

4. Comerso

5. En Solucion

6. Food For All

7. Grow Computer

8. Harvestable

9. Heliponix

10. NAMPYA Farmer’s Market

11. FoodFam

12. LV Fruitly

13. Swipe Me In

 Food+City Challenge Prize 2018


Taimba: A mobile based cashless platform connecting farmers to retailers in Kenya.

Aggressively Organic: Producer of simple hydroponic system for plant-to-plate food production.

UAV-IQ: Bridging the gap between drone data collection and agriculture clients who need the resulting information to support decision making.

People’s Choice Winner

Aggressively Organic: Producer of simple hydroponic system for plant-to-plate food production.

The 2018 Food+City Challenge Prize at SXSW was a resounding success, with three talented teams taking home the top awards.

Congratulations to Taimba (Kenya), Aggressively Organic (Indiana) and UAV-IQ (California/Puerto Rico) which each won the prize of $10,000 in funds.

After receiving almost 100 applications from 14 countries, our community of mentors, judges, and advisors reviewed and rated each one.  The top 14 startup finalists were invited to pitch their food logistics solution at SXSW, given a free badge to attend the conference, and paired with a hand-picked industry expert for three months of mentorship.

On March 8th finalists came from all over the world to meet in Austin and be officially welcomed to the Food+City family at Practice Pitch Day. They were joined by attendees from the Food+City community, and many of their mentors.  Each company had the chance to give their pitch, and receive feedback from a panel of Food+City coaches to further refine their unique value proposition.  This was also the first opportunity they had to meet each other and create lasting professional relationships.

Big thanks to Mike MillardAshley ShafferManuel RossoCurt NelsonShari Wynne ResslerLaurence MittelbronnJohn Rea, and Bob Metcalfe for being the coaches on practice pitch day and helping the finalists with very pointed and useful feedback.  Another huge thanks goes to our sponsors, without whom this event would not be possible.

March 13 was the big day, and the finalists pitched their solutions to the SXSW audience and Food+City judges during three sessions, with the winner of each session getting the coveted $10,000 prize.

Although only three companies could take home the prize, the real value of the competition lies in the connections made among their peers, mentors, judges, and investors.  We look forward to keeping up with the progress of each company, and supporting them however possible.

Thank you to the finalists, mentors, judges, advisors, funders, sponsors, volunteers and event team that made the experience an incredible success.

 Food+City Challenge Prize 2017


Gold Prize Winner

Evaptainers: Producer of electricity-free, mobile refrigeration technology that keeps food fresher longer using only sun and water.

Silver Prize Winner

Rise: Producer of beer flour which is upcycled from spent grain, has more protein than chicken and is 100 percent sustainable.

Bronze Prize Winner

Nuwiel: Producer of bike trailers that are flexible and have braking systems that provide optimum safety for food delivery.

People’s Choice Winner

OriginTrail: Helps quality food brands build genuine transparency to stand out in the marketplace and increase trust in their products.

Congratulations to Evaptainers (Boston / Morocco), which won the gold prize, $30,000 in seed funds and business products and services from and RWR Legal. Rise (New York) took home the silver prize—$10,000 in funds and the business service package. The bronze winner was Nuwiel (Germany), whose award was $5,000, and the People’s Choice Award of $5,000 went to OriginTrail (Slovenia).

The Prize experience kicked off on Feb. 2 with sold-out Jeffersonian Dinners that explored the topic of the Last Food Mile. Six knowledgeable moderators facilitated lively discussions at our two host restaurants, El Naranjo and Central Standard, with a crowd of supply chain experts, Prize finalists and mentors, food business veterans and other interested attendees. Even the chefs got involved, with Chef Iliana de la Vega of El Naranjo sharing her supply chain challenge of accessing specific chiles and other ingredients she relies on from Mexico. Chef Michael Paley of Central Standard talked about his experience obtaining locally-sourced ingredients.

Food + City Challenge Prize 2016


Gold Prize Winner

True Made Foods

Silver Prize Winners


Garbage to Garden

The Food Corridor

Real Food Solutions

People’s Choice Winner


Innovation in food takes all forms, from crafting an energy bar that eases nausea to one made out of crickets, from using soldier fly grubs to break down food waste to an app that learns to read a user’s food preferences, not unlike Netflix.  All of these ideas and more were presented at the Food City Challenge Prize day on Saturday.

Each of the 20 finalists had their own unique way of addressing the many intricacies of how we feed cities, challenging our notions of how the supply chain works, the food that enters and the waste that leaves. At the second annual event, entrepreneurial energy and curiosity filled the atrium of the McCombs School of Business on the University of Texas campus. Throughout the day, hundreds of people milled through the space, not only learning about the many different facets of food entrepreneurship represented, but also engaging in conversations with each other about the challenges that face our food supply systems today.

The Gold Prize, which included a check for $30,000, a scholarship for two team members to participate in the Food Business School’s (FBS) Food Venture Lab and a variety of other startup goodies from sponsors, Barnraiser and MWR Legal, was awarded to True Made Foods, a startup based out of New York City that makes vegetable-based, lower-sugar condiments, including ketchup and barbecue sauce.




3.Bento + Picnic


5.The Food Cooridor

6.Eat at Home

7.Garbage to Garden

8.“Go Fresh!” Products

9.J.W. Hunt Organics


11.Moflo Aeroponics

12.Piggy Bank

13.Real Food Solutions



16.St. Louis MetroMarket 

17.Steak TzarTzar


19.Tree Adoption Uganda

20.True Made Foods

Food+City Challenge Prize 2015:


Ten Acre Organics – Grand Prize

Aspire – Healthy Eating and Education

Revive Foods – Inputs and Production

Sereneti Kitchen – Processes, Packing & Safety

City Sprout – Storage & Distribution

Sproot – People’s Choice

The Food Challenge Prize launched in May of 2014 and received more than 120 entrants.

By November, the pool was narrowed to the top 20 teams who were each paired with a food industry mentor. Those 20 teams, representing four states and four food system categories, presented in Austin on February 14, 2015 to a panel of 13 esteemed judges and more than 400 attendees.

Ten Acre Organics of Austin took home the grand prize of $10,000 and the four category winners were awarded with $5,000 each: Aspire Food Group for Healthy Eating and Education; Revive Foods for Inputs and Production; Sereneti Kitchen for Processing, Packing and Safety; and CitySprout for Storage and Distribution. The winning team, Ten Acre Organics, uses an integrated blend of aquaponics, greenhouses and automation to create what is called “the most sustainable and productive ten-acre farm in the world.” They plan to put the Food Challenge award money toward the construction of two new greenhouses.

Massachusetts-based Sproot won the People’s Choice Award, winning two scholarships for the Innovative Intensivesprogram, a soon-to-launch executive education program from The Food Business School at The Culinary Institute of America in Napa, California.

“This first-time event generated tremendous goodwill and enthusiasm throughout the university, the city and across the country,” said Dr. Robyn Metcalfe, founder and director of The Food Lab at UT. “And the Challenge is intended to have an impact well beyond today’s awards – we are connecting teams to a powerful network geared towards continued growth. We look forward to seeing where all of the teams will be a year from now.”