A new tech incubator is only funding startups that have to do with food, wine and travel. A new tech incubator is only funding startups that have to do with food, wine and travel. A new tech incubator is only funding startups that have to do with food, wine and travel. (Photo: FCSCAFEINE / Shutterstock)

Innovative incubator specializes in wine, gastronomy and tourism

Food, spirits and travel startups get a huge boost from French accelerators.

The international phone code for France is 33, so when an entrepreneurial company based in Bordeaux set up shop, it was natural to call it 33entrepreneurs. And being French, it was also natural that the company’s focus should be on food, wine and tourism. With a twist: Their goal is to develop technology to help people working in those industries.

It’s a global venture capital firm willing to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in tech startups around the world that relate to food, wine and travel – “the three verticals,” as they say. The ultimate aim, says 33entrepreneurs founder and CEO Vincent Prêtet, is “to develop promising teams from seed level, as future industry leaders.”

So how are the lucky startups chosen?

33entrepreneurs has gone around the world – everywhere from London to Jerusalem – searching for tech startups in their three areas of concentration. And they will be touring the United States and Canada in July. They’ll be listening to startup pitches in New York, Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, Austin, Boulder, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Vincent Prêtet traverses the globe looking for tech food-related startups to help.Vincent Prêtet traverses the globe looking for tech food-related startups to help. (Photo: Courtesy 33entrepreneurs)

In each of the nine cities, 33entrepreneurs will hold a contest for local tech startups working with the three verticals. There will be one winner from each category, leaving 27 winning startups at the end of the tour. Winners will be invited to one of two major conferences in Miami and San Francisco.

The winning contestants in travel-tech will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Phocuswright Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from Nov. 17-19. The other winners will receive a similar prize, but they will attend the Bon Appetech food and beverage conference in San Francisco, from Oct. 2-4.

At these conferences, the contestants will attend speaker sessions and have opportunities to network with more than 100 industry luminaries and key decision makers. They will pitch their concepts at a final contest at the conference and one winner from each vertical will be chosen. The grand prize for the lucky three winners: a three-month acceleration program sponsored at the 33entrepreneur offices in Bordeaux, plus $100,000 to fund their startups.

33entrepreneurs visited Israel recently, and most of the participants in that meeting had startups relating to travel. One useful app, BooOla, is like a virtual bulletin board, with traveler-provided information on deals, services, events and even local parties.

Another, ShopnFly, saves shoppers time and money by giving users access to duty-free stores in desired locations, allowing them to shop the stores online and have their purchases delivered either in flight, at the next duty-free shop on their route, or at the hotel reception.

DrinkedIn is another cool Israeli app that points the way to bars, hotels and other booze-dispensing places, where the drinker can select alcohol at a discount. One startup, Shepherd, is an app that helps tour guides stay in touch with every tour participant. And there were three companies with apps that help organize trips according to travelers' specific needs.

ODS, the one start-up featuring a physical product at the Jerusalem meetup, sells special wine corks that are supposed to preserve wine in an opened bottle for up to six months later.

Do you have a great concept related to food, wine or tourism? Why not pitch it to 33entrepreneurs when they stop by your town? Who knows – maybe an all-expense-paid trip to the South of France is in your future.

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