Mylk Guys wants to be the online vegan grocery store that non-vegans can love


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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Gaurav Maken, the chief executive officer of the online vegan grocery store, Mylk Guys, doesn’t think of his company as a place to just buy food. For him, it’s a testing ground and platform for all of the new food products he expects to be developed as startup entrepreneurs and established food companies start tackling the plant-based and alternative meat market in earnest.

The company has raised $2.5 million in support of that vision from investors including Khosla Ventures, Pear Ventures, and Fifty Years.

“Today we’re an online grocery store,” says Maken. “We are also a place for cultured meats and any genetically engineered food that allows us to scale our food production and allows us to keep feeding people.”

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Maken isn’t wedded to plant-based products and envisions a virtual store stocked with products that create more sustainable consumption options for its customers. In fact,

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How to Steam a Good Ham in Your Instant Pot


This post is by A.A. Newton on Skillet, shared by A.A. Newton to Lifehacker from Lifehacker


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Like many of the greatest minds of my generation, my brain has been utterly poisoned by memes. Although I’m not exactly a discerning meme consumer, I do have my favorites—and I think I’ve watched every iteration of the iconic Simpsons “Steamed Hams” clip on YouTube twice, minimum. (My favorite is “Steamed Hams but…

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Final tickets to our 14th Annual TechCrunch Summer Party


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One of Silicon Valley’s most fun and enduring traditions — the 14th Annual TechCrunch Summer Party — takes place on July 25. If you don’t have a ticket yet, know this: We just released the last batch of tickets. Once they’re gone, that’s it. No party for you. Don’t miss out on a night of fun and opportunity — buy your ticket today.

The Park Chalet, San Francisco’s coastal beer garden, provides a picturesque setting (ocean views anyone?) for a casual evening celebrating the early-startup spirit. Hang out and enjoy local craft beer, cocktails, delicious food and great conversation with other fearless tech entrepreneurs.

TechCrunch parties provide a relaxed way to connect and network, and they’re known as a place where startup magic happens. Who knows? You might meet your future co-founder or funder. Aaron Levie and Dylan Smith, founders of Box, met one of their first investors at a

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Phuture Foods is creating a plant-based pork substitute for the Asian market


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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We met with a handful of Brinc’s top startups earlier this week, during a visit to the accelerator’s Hong Kong headquarters. The lion’s share of the demos involved hardware products, which has long been the organization’s core offering. Increasingly, however, food focused startups like Phuture Foods have become an important focus.

Whereas stateside companies like Beyond and Impossible largely work to approximate beef, the Malaysian startup has been pioneering on a plant-based pork substitute. The meat is in particularly high demand in the Asian market, where it’s targeting initial sales, beginning with Hong Kong in the next few months and then branching out into Singapore shortly after.

The foodstuff is designed to mimic the taste and texture of pork, using a variety of plants, including wheat, shiitake mushrooms and mung beans. The company has received support from Hong Kong-based angel investors, beginning with online sales, before rolling out to area

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Kencko chugs down $3.4M to help you get more fruit and vegetables in your diet


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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Kencko, a company that wants to help people eat more fruit and vegetables in their daily life, is entering feast mode after it announced a $3.4 million seed round for growth and product development.

We profiled the company last year, but — for those who missed it — Kencko develops plant-based products that help people eat healthy without having to suffer the pain of horrible tasting food or other extreme eating. That’s to say that its fruit drinks, the company’s first product, include the pulp and vitamins absent in pressed juice but come in a convenient sachet that has been flash-frozen and slow-dried to retain all the goodness. The company says that each packet, which is 20g and mixes with water, contains two of the five-a-day recommendation for fruit and vegetable servings.

Right now, Kencko — which means health in Japanese — is selling the fruit drink

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Cannabis processing startups hope to unlock new chemicals and treatments


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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Jeff Ubersax knows yeast.

The chief executive officer of Demetrix studied yeast genetics and biochemistry in school and was an early employee at Amyris Biotechnologies, a technology company that was using fermentation to make biofuels back in the early days of the first clean technology boom back in 2008. 

Now, the same technology that Ubersax and Jay Keasling, the celebrated professor from the University of California at Berkeley who co-founded Amyris and Demetrix, used to make biofuels is being applied to the production of cannabis.

The company launched with an $11 million seed round led by Horizons Ventures, a Hong Kong-based investment fund backed by the multi-billionaire real estate mogul Li Ka-shing, to begin commercializing the technology that Keasling had been researching in his lab.

The goal was to refine a process that would enable yeasts to make a range of cannabinoids that are found in the marijuana plant

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Planted joins the meatless meat melee with its pea-protein ‘chicken’


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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Imitation meat is poised to expand its presence in our diets exponentially, if the success of dueling faux burger companies Impossible and Beyond are any indication — but where’s the chicken? Planted is a brand new Swiss company that claims its ultra-simple meatless poultry is nearly indistinguishable from the real thing, better in other ways, and soon, cheaper.

Made from only pea protein, pea fiber, water, and sunflower oil, the company’s first product, which they call planted.chicken, imitates the texture and flavor (or lack thereof) of chicken meat very closely.

There are no exotic substances or techniques involved, which keeps production simple and vegans happy. It’s created by making a sort of fibrous dough using the ingredients mentioned, then using a carefully configured extrusion machine to essentially recreate the structure of the muscle fibers that make up meat. These are reassembled into larger pieces with a similar texture to

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Make Quick Pickles Even Quicker by Massaging Your Veggies


This post is by A.A. Newton on Skillet, shared by A.A. Newton to Lifehacker from Lifehacker


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Quick pickles are the MVP of no-stove-required summer side dishes. Despite the name, some versions need to soak for an hour or two before they’re ready to eat. If you need a bright, crunchy vegetable side and you need it now, you can get things started with a little massage.

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Fish replacement may be the next big wave in alternative protein development


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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Fish make up 16% of animal protein consumed globally, and demand is set to rise, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, largely thanks to rising disposable incomes.

But overfishing is hugely problematic – and it’s not sustainable to continue with the way things are. Fish populations are being decimated – including the Pacific bluefin tuna, which is now at four percent of its original size. Industrial fisheries are using large machinery to trawl oceans, which traps and kills many other animals, including whales and dolphins.

In China alone, where demand for seafood dwarfs any other country, demand is rapidly growing. This is partly due to the African Swine Fever outbreak hitting pig farms affecting pork, and causing people to turn to other sources of protein. In addition, the country’s

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Make Perfect Croutons From Leftover Hamburger Buns


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Nobody in the history of the world has ever brought precisely enough buns for a barbecue—either they run out in an hour, or the host gets to figure out what to do with 48 leftover hot dog buns. If the latter sounds like you today, you can use those extra buns to make some truly excellent croutons.

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Pod Foods gets VC backing to reinvent grocery distribution


This post is by Kate Clark from TechCrunch


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Larissa Russell and Fiona Lee founded a cookie startup called Green Pea Cookie in 2014. The cookies were 100% natural, vegan and “handcrafted with love.”

The company failed but not because the cookies weren’t selling. The business couldn’t keep up with the antiquated wholesale food distribution system’s steep costs. Two incumbent players, United Natural Foods Inc. and KeHE Distributors, essentially controlled its only pathway to grocery stores across the country. So the founders shut down Green Pea and focused their efforts on building the tool Green Pea had needed to survive: Pod Foods, a distribution and logistics platform for emerging food brands.

“We were like so many other young entrepreneurs,” Russell, Pod Foods’ chief executive officer, tells TechCrunch. “I had studied government and economics and did the cookie company because I wanted to create something better for the world but we realized there was a much bigger issue

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Uber Eats invades restaurants with Dine-In option


This post is by Josh Constine from TechCrunch


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Tired of cleaning up after take-out or getting hangry waiting at your table in restaurants? Well Uber Eats is barging into the dine-in business. A new option in some cities lets you order your food ahead of time, go to the restaurant, and then sit down inside to eat, a tipster from competing dine-in app Allset tells us. We tested it, and Uber Eats Dine-In even waives the standard Uber delivery and service fees.

Adding Dine-In lets Uber Eats insert itself into more food transactions, expand to restaurants that care about presentation and don’t do delivery, and avoid paying drivers while earning low-overhead revenue. Uber’s Dine-In option is now available in some cities including Austin, Dallas, Phoenix and San Diego where it could save diners time and fees while helping restaurants fill empty tables and waiters earn tips.

UberEats Dine In Option

Uber confirmed the existence of the Dine-In option, telling me “We’re always

Uber Dine In
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Millennials don’t want to get drunk. What do they want? Apéritifs.


This post is by Kate Clark from TechCrunch


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Gen Z doesn’t want to get drunk. Millennials are tired of the obligatory after-work drinks.

Haus, a new startup selling apéritifs online, has a solution for them. The company’s beverages have a lower alcohol content than standard hard liquors on the market, which means you can drink one, even a few, without getting wasted. Made from distilled grapes, fresh herbs and botanicals, its natural ingredients and A-plus branding are sure to appeal to the younger demographic.

Launching today with pre-seed backing from venture capital funds Combine, Haystack and Partners Resolute, customers can begin ordering Haus’ citrus & flower-flavored debut apéritif (15% ABV), priced at $70 apiece. The goal, co-founder Helena Price Hambrecht explains, is to be the first fully direct-to-consumer player in an industry dominated by digitally-novice incumbent alcohol brands and distributors.

Haus enters the market at an opportune time. VCs — more than ever — are funneling cash

Continue reading “Millennials don’t want to get drunk. What do they want? Apéritifs.”

Indonesia’s Kopi Kenangan raises a sweet $20M to expand its coffee business


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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Kopi Kenangan, a startup that wants to make quality, fresh coffee affordable to Indonesian consumers, has raised $20 million as it begins to consider overseas expansion in Southeast Asia.

The round comes courtesy of Sequoia India and Southeast Asia, via the $695 million investment fund it closed last year. Kopi Kenangan previously raised $8 million from Alpha JWC Ventures.

Started in 2017 by Edward Tirtanata and James Prananto, the company aims to bridge the gap between cheap street vendor coffee and drinks priced at the higher end of the spectrum from international chains such as Starbucks — the ‘sweet spot,’ you might say. That delta is a major reason why Indonesia, which is the world’s fourth-largest coffee exporter, has Southeast Asia’s lowest coffee consumption per person, Tirtanata argued.

Kopi Kenangan is also unashamedly local. Rather than lattes, mochas or flat whites, its top-selling drink is ‘Es Kopi Kenangan Mantan,’ a

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Early-bird pricing ends tonight for TC Sessions: Mobility 2019


This post is by Emma Comeau from TechCrunch


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The robotaxi’s blowin’ its horn and zooming autonomously down the home stretch. At 11:59 p.m. (PT) on June 21 — that’s tonight, people — we hit the brakes on early-bird pricing for TC Sessions: Mobility 2019. Don’t miss your chance to join us in San Jose, Calif. on July 10 and save a smooth $100. Get your ticket now.

Innovations across multiple technologies — AI, robotics, electric batteries, digital platforms and manufacturing — are transforming mobility and transportation. Join the leading experts, technologists, founders and investors as they discuss the promise, hype and challenges within this nascent revolution.

More than 1,000 attendees are expected for a program-packed day of speakers, panel discussions, workshops and demos. How packed? Here’s the day’s agenda, plus a sample of just some of the presentations we have lined up:

The Geesaa automates (but overcomplicates) pourover coffee


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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Making pourover coffee is a cherished ritual of mine on most mornings. But there are times I wish I could have a single cup of pourover without fussing about the kitchen — and the Geesaa, a new gadget seeking funds on Kickstarter, lets me do that. But it’s definitely still a ways from being a must-have.

I’m interested in alternative coffee preparation methods, low and high tech, so I was happy to agree to try out the Geesaa when they contacted me just ahead of their Kickstarter campaign going live (they’ve already hit their goal at this point). I got to test one of their prototypes and have used it on and off for the last couple weeks.

The Geesaa is part of a new wave of coffee makers that make advances on traditional drip techniques, attempting to get closer to a manual pourover. That usually means carefully controlling

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Dishcraft launches with a massive robotics-powered dishwashing system


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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Bay Area-based robotics startup Dishcraft has unveiled a massive robotics and AI-powered dishwashing system. Like much of the rest of the industrial robotics industry, the company’s looking to automate a dull task with a high turnover rate, which amounts to about a month of employment on average.

It’s a beast of a system from the looks of it. Employees drop dishes off into stacks, which are then loaded into the robotic system up to 90 at a time. It uses a vision-based AI system to inspect the plates, cleaning them again if it finds any food remnants left.

It’s probably over the top for a vast majority of kitchens — and while we don’t have quote, it’s almost certainly price-prohibitive, as well. But the startup’s got an interesting pedigree — co-founded by Linda Pouliot and Paul Birkmeyer, who were also involved in the founding of Neato and Dash Robotics, respectively.

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More tickets available to the 14th Annual TechCrunch Summer Party


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Get ready for summer in the city, TechCrunch -style. We just released a fresh batch of tickets to the 14th Annual TechCrunch Summer Party. Available on a first-come, first-served basis, tickets to our popular event sell out quickly, and they’ll be gone before you know it. Don’t wait — buy your ticket today.

Join us for TechCrunch’s fabulous summer fete at Park Chalet — San Francisco’s coastal beer garden — where you can enjoy ocean views, refreshing drinks and delicious appetizers. It’s a wonderful way to relax and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit with more than 1,000 members of the startup community.

It’s also a wonderful way to meet your next investor, co-founder or — who knows? You’ll find startup magic in between the drinks, the games, the food and the fun. Opportunity happens at TechCrunch parties.

Check out the party particulars: