Forget the socks and golf tees. This year, why not reserve dad a cow tongue and tenderloin?
Launching June 6 in Chicago, food tech startup Crowd Cow will begin shipping throughout the U.S. The product: whatever the consumer chooses to become a “steak holder” in. The company is allowing users to buy portions of an actual cow online, along with strangers.
The result, the company says, will be transparent and sustainably raised beef available to all. Not to mention, a process that cuts out the middleman and opens the barn to cuts difficult to find in stores, such as grass-finished Black Angus and Wagyu. All of it dry-aged and hormone and antibiotic free, it adds.
Additionally, Crowd Cow says the process will help farmers reach more consumers and reduce waste. “We hand-select the best producers and bring their beef to consumers everywhere, pairing every shipment with recipes and support. As a result, marrow bones and tongues sell out as quickly as tenderloins and nothing goes to waste,” says co-founder Joe Heitzeberg in a release.
The company is backed by NFL legend Joe Montana, as well as the founders of Zulily and venture firms such as Fuel Capital and Maveron. It was started by Ethan Lowry (Urban Spoon) and Joe Heitzeberg (Madrona Venture Labs). Inspiration struck when the pair listened to a friend talk about independent ranches and the quality that accompanies such operations.
"Our friend told us we'd need a meat freezer, a pickup truck and a few thousand dollars in cash," Heitzeberg says. "Ethan suggested that we crowdfund a cow so 50 people could each purchase 5 to 10 pounds." After emailing 100 friends, the first cow was sold in 24 hours and was delivered in time for July 4th.
Transparency is the driving factor. Crowd Cow features a ranch and tells its story through a short video and web page. Consumers can then select cuts from a single animal. The product shows up at their door with a welcome note from the founders.