Digital ad agency Razorfish played a major role in the founding of New York City’s tech scene in the 1990s. The teamhas often been creditedwith creating the world’s very first banner ad, paving the way for digital advertising to become what it is today.
But when it became clear in the late ’90s that the tech bubble was about to burst, Razorfish cofounder Craig Kanarick began to consider other options. He had nurtured a love of food for most of his life, but he had never pursued it professionally. The Razorfish offices happened to be across the street from the French Culinary Institute.
“When I was sitting there having to think about cutting staff and doing all the things you don’t like to do when businesses go bad, I would stare out the window and see people coming out of the Culinary Institute and think to myself, ‘I would way rather be taking a break from learning how to make soup or something than thinking about all of the lives I’m going to ruin by laying them off,'” Kanarick said to Business Insider.
What he came up with was Mouth, a Brooklyn-based website that curates food products from independent makers across the country. From maple bacon lollipops to pickled string beans, Mouth’s products aren’t things you’d find at a typical grocery store.
He teamed up with Sam Murray, a veteran in the plastics industry, and Nancy Kruger Cohen, an art director who had done work with ESPN Magazine and Details, and launched the company in April 2012. Last November, it received $US1.5 million in funding from Vocap Ventures, VegasTechFund, and angel investors Joanne Wilson and Jason Calacanis.
“This is an opportunity for me to combine a good 10 to 15 years of digital expertise with this pervasive love of food,” he said.
Independent makers send samples of their products to Mouth with the hope they will be selected to be carried on the site. Each Friday, the team at Mouth holds a tasting where they sample all of the products they have received recently.
We visited Mouth’s headquarters in DUMBO, Brooklyn during a tasting to get a sense of what this startup is all about.