After a few days back in Boston, it was time to get back in the groove of going to networking events again. One group whose events I recently started going to was Mass Innovation Nights. They throw an event every month at a new location and source local startups and small businesses to be there. Their next one was on Tuesday at ONCE, and the theme was “food”, so I was excited to check them out (and get free food).
Out of all the industries I knew companies in, food was definitely one of the least. I had spent all summer getting to know people in education, so I wanted to expand from that. But, ironically enough, the first person I talked to at the event went to Harvard Grad School of Education. We ended up talking about what I learned during my time studying the educational system in Costa Rica and what she learned during her educational research while in grad school.
She’s currently working with dineoutwith.us (I can’t believe I just Googled them to find out their URL), and introduced me to their CEO. Basically, dineoutwith.us lets people host dinner parties at restaurants, complete with a “personalized menu” for their party. In turn, the restaurants get to fill up excess seating during downtime. They launch in September, and I’m definitely interested.
Continuing on, at the very next table I was offered ice cream. Sweet. It was Minus the Moo lactose-free ice cream, and it tasted amazing. See, rather than producing the ice cream without lactose with Lactaid, they instead produce ice cream the regular way and then remove the lactose afterwards. That way the ice cream stays rich and creamy and tastes just as good to people who aren’t lactose intolerant as it does to people who are. I’m surprised they have this process but they told met that anyone can use that process since recipes generally aren’t patent-able but the real challenge in food is building up a reputable brand.
Later in the night I met the guys at MOJO. They make cold-brewed, bottled coffee drinks. That’s different from iced coffee, which is brewed hot then cooled with ice. I tried some MOJO and it actually tasted really good. Apparently most people say the taste is like “melted coffee ice cream”, and I agree. Oh, also they catered for an event at the MIT Media Lab in July, which I thought was pretty cool.
The last company I really got to know there was Seedsheets, a roll-out garden. On their website, you mix and match the plants you want in, or have an algorithm pair up the best plants for growth synergy. Then, they send you a sheet with all the plant seeds in pouches perfectly laid out. You simply roll out the sheet on a plot of soil and add water, which dissolves the pouches into the soil underneath. The sheet keeps weeds from growing and keeps the plants evenly spaced out. If you don’t have a plot of soil readily available, you can also purchase that from them. As they like to say “We’re not meal delivery. We’re farm delivery.”
All in all, the event was good, and it was refreshing (literally) to get to know some companies where you can eat the products. And now, I can have a new list of new delicious foods to look for next time I’m at a grocery store, an app to throw personalized dinner parties, and a sheet that lets me grow a garden with minimal hassle.