VC Slams Analyst Who Questions $350 Million Investment In Food Startups

TechCrunch Max Whitaker, via Flickr Creative Commons Commercial Use licenseFood startups are gaining traction, as investors pumped in roughly $350 million into them over the last year

Some of these startups aim to connect restaurants with food lovers, provide on-demand delivery services from local farms, or even invent new foods, like meat and egg substitutes from plants, Jenna Wortham and Claire Cain Miller of The New York Times reports

But one analyst, Susan Etlinger of the Altimeter Group, is sceptical about the long-term promise of food startups.

“I don’t see a multimillion-dollar business coming out of any of these companies,” Etlinger told the NYT. “The majority of Americans will not likely be able to participate, they’re simply too expensive for them.”

Etlinger’s sentiments prompted a response from Vinod Khosla, a widely respected venture capitalist with investments in companies like GroupMe, Slide, AppNexus, and Jawbone. Khosla is also the founder of the esteemed firm Khosla Ventures. 

“Typical clueless analyst who never did anything real herself,” Khosla tweeted.

But one could argue that Etlinger has done at least a few “real” things herself. While she has never founded her own company, Etlinger has more than 20 year’s worth of experience helping companies develop their audiences and social media strategies.

It’s also worth noting that Khosla Ventures has invested in a half-dozen food startups like Nu-Tek Salt, a company working on a replacement to salt with less sodium, and Unreal, a company working on low-sugar alternatives to candy, snacks, and soda.

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