Kara Swisher

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Tasty: FoodyDirect Gets $3M, as Former Goldman Tech Banker Turns Entrepreneur

HancockLobster

For a long time in Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, Brad Koenig was one of Silicon Valley’s top investment bankers, shepherding deals such as Yahoo’s IPO and a plethora of others.

That’s no surprise, given that he was the managing director and head of global technology investment banking at Goldman Sachs. Goldman, as well as Morgan Stanley, led many of the big-name, big-money transactions for the digerati.

But no matter how you slice it, Koenig’s job was on the sidelines as a facilitator rather than as a participant.

No longer. After retiring in 2005 from Goldman and doing a bunch of advising work, Koenig decided to jump into the fray, putting his money into a new start-up called FoodyDirect.

Simply put, the service ships food from iconic restaurants, bakeries and other specialty food outlets, adding in a variety of information about the products and also making it easier for those businesses to ship.

Some of the offers being coordinated include well-known — among foodies, at least — fare from places such as Anderson’s Frozen Custard in Buffalo, N.Y.; Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart, Texas; Sable’s Smoked Fish in New York City; and Hancock Gourmet Lobster in Cundy’s Harbor, Maine.

I tried both Anderson’s and Sable’s and they arrived on time and fresh — as well as delicious — which is presumably the selling point that FoodyDirect pitches to merchants.

While many of these restaurants do this on their own, Koenig is hoping that the systems FoodyDirect creates are easier and more efficient, from packaging to shipping.

Of course, FoodyDirect faces a lot of competition — from big online retailers like Amazon to smaller ones like Gilt Taste — as well as an uphill battle to acquire frequent customers.

But Koenig believes in the concept so much — which he is doing with his brother, who has been in the restaurant biz for 25 years — that he invested his own money in the initial effort.

Now, along with more money from him, a bunch of angel investors and venture interest, FoodyDirect is getting $3 million more to see if the concept pans out.

Here’s Koenig talking about his new life on the other side of the table:


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work