The future of food apps: The worst VC pitch ever
By JASON KESSLER
It’s an honor to be here at Sequoia Capital today. I’m here to tell you about a new app I’m launching that will transform the world as we know it. It’s the Next Big Thing.
Let’s focus on things that are important. Is choosing the next Pope important? No. Is stopping North Korean nuclear capabilities important? No. Is the lack of a functional budget for the entirety of the United States of America important? Absolutely not. You know what is important? Food. If we don’t eat it, we die.
The problem is, we don’t eat food like we used to. There was a time when we just put it into our mouths and swallowed. That was before the Internet. Nowadays, we chew with our eyes and digest with our brains. So what happens to flavor? I’ve got your flavor right here, Jack. I assume one of you is named Jack. No? That’s fine. Let’s move on.
Have you ever been surfing around the Internet and come across a photo of one of these beauties?
(Cue Slide #1: The best damn alligator burger you've ever seen.)
It looks good enough to eat, right? The problem is, that's a photo of an alligator burger in Clearwater, Florida; you're stuck in this very elegant glass conference room in Palo Alto, CA. Where do you get this much glass? Is it a special order? Sorry. I got sidetracked. Anyway. You can't eat that burger unless you jump on your private jet and head down to Gator Town, USA. But maybe you’re not in the mood to fly this afternoon. So what are you supposed to do?
That's where TasteMax 3.0 comes in. Welcome to the future: the first flavor translator that plugs right into your phone’s dock connector, assuming you have a Motorola Razr circa 2001, which is currently the only phone that’s compatible with the TasteMax 3.0.
(Cue Slide #2: The TasteMax3.0, a Motorola Razr with a dongle attached.)
There's a saying that we eat with our eyes first. That's become a reality, thanks to the Internet. Everyone takes photos of their food these days. We post them to blogs and share them with friends. We don't just eat food anymore, we talk about it and think about it and dream about it. We let our brains do the processing instead of our mouths. More often than not, we're consuming it intellectually instead of digestively. The Internet has made food a concept more than a tangible item.
For years, I would look at photos of food online and get hungry. It made me sad, jealous, angry, and melancholy. I cried constantly. I punched holes through walls that seemed sturdy enough to withstand my punches. That’s a hard lesson to learn, considering my extremely high insurance deductible. I would sit for days upon days just scrolling through pictures of food that I couldn't eat. Why? Why would somebody torture me like that? Why can't I grab that lobster roll from Maine and eat it on the spot? There must be some solution!
And now there is. It's the TasteMax 3.0. I’d like to introduce one of our greatest supporters, celebrity diabetic Paula Deen, to tell you more.
Paula Deen: Hey y'all. I’m Paula Deen. This man paid me to tell you about the TasteMax 3.0. So here I am. Telling you about the TasteMax 3.0. It’s, um, tasty. Okay, y’all, that’s my time. Love, peace, and rendered duck fat, y’all.
(Paula Deen gives everyone the peace sign and leaves.)
She’s an American hero. Just remember that, Kevin. Is there a Kevin here? Forget it.
Let me explain how the TasteMax 3.0 works. You see a photo of food that looks incredible. Instead of falling into a week-long depression because you can’t eat those foie gras s’mores, you simply fire up the TasteMax 3.0. The app pulls the metadata from the photo, which, as you know, includes a full recipe for the dish, and starts to synthesize the flavors using the food equivalent of a 3D printer in our patented TasteDongle. Flavor capsules inside the dongle are combined to create the exact aroma of the dish in a completely safe, mostly non-toxic miasma. When you hear these sweet chimes...
(Cue TasteMax chimes sound effect.)
...your synthesized flavor snack is ready to be enjoyed. Just put your face up to the TasteDongle, inhale, and enjoy the flavor of the dish as you view the photo. It's just that easy.
Just a side note, try not to inhale for too long. I won’t the say the dongle is filled with carcinogens, but a few may snuck in there, if you know what I mean. Hahahahahahaha. Oh boy. I’m in over my head, aren’t I? Moving on.
You'll be happy to know that you're getting in on the ground floor with the TasteMax 3.0. The only other investors currently involved are some very nice Korean men who may or may not be very organized into what the U.S. government calls “a syndicate.” They’re very good businessmen, though, so you know it’s a safe bet to get involved here. The return on your money will be massive. It has to be, considering I sold all of my Go Karts to pay for the prototype. Speaking of, your investment will go towards an online marketing campaign and will in no way be used to finance a new fleet of Go Karts for myself. I want to make that clear to you right now. Any Go Karts I purchase from this point forward will come out of my own personal savings. I promise.
The Internet has changed the way that we enjoy food. Our olfactory system has been almost entirely eliminated from the equation and that's not fair to our taste buds. The TasteMax 3.0 is the answer to our food-lust prayers. Once the product hits the market, I anticipate every household in the world will have their very own TasteMax 3.0. With your business expertise and my ingenuity (combined with my above-average personal hygiene), we can take TasteMax from an imaginary company that's continually ridiculed by my family to a globally known entity that will shut my grandma up for good.
Now who's ready to taste the future?
Jason Kessler is a food and travel writer based in Los Angeles. He writes The Nitpicker column online for Bon Appetit and is a frequent contributor to Food Republic, Sunset Magazine, Organic Spa and many other publications. If you’re not careful, he’ll empty out your refrigerator. Follow him @thehungryclown.
Photo by glw102012/Flickr