Robyn Metcalfe talks about the UT Food Lab
Where are you from originally?
Los Angeles, CA
What university did you go to?
University of Michigan/Boston University
What brought you to Austin?
Husband and I had been in New England since 1994 and decided it was a time for a change, better weather, new challenges, and opportunities to learn about a new area and field.
What is your group’s mission?
To promote food entrepreneurship in Austin and throughout the world. To provide new and creative opportunities to learn more about the food system.
What need does it fulfill?
A need for food-specific entrepreneurship that addresses specific issues related to food, such as food safety, security, public health. A need for a non-polarizing, public conversation about food.
What exactly does it bring to startups?
Knowledge about the food system, access to experts and entrepreneurs that possess knowledge that is applicable to the food business.
What type of startup would benefit from your group?
Early stage startups that are looking for teams, access to expertise, and general business planning skills.
What was the most challenging aspect of starting up the initiative?
Lack of a critical mass of food startups.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
Solve a problem and be able to articulate both the problem in the food system and how you plan to solve it. It should save time and money for the customer.
What Austin-based resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?
UT’s research faculty who are thinking in creative ways about our food system. Also local incubators, such as The Incubation Station, who are working with food-related startups.