The Fresh Diet to become public company

The acquirer of The Fresh Diet is spinning off the homegrown national gourmet meal delivery subsidiary into a separate public company.

The Fresh Diet, founded by South Florida entrepreneur Zalmi Duchman, was acquired in August 2014 by publicly traded Innovative Food Holdings in Bonita Springs, Fla., and became a wholly owned subsidiary at that time. The Fresh Diet, which operates out of its North Miami facilities, currently delivers its chef-prepared meals to 44 metropolitan areas across the United States.

Spinning off the company will establish The Fresh Diet’s direct-to-consumer operations as distinct from Innovative Food Holdings’ long-established direct-to-chef specialty food platform, which provides specialty foods, healthcare foods and gluten free foods to the professional food service market. As part of the transaction, institutional investors have agreed to provide $1 million in funding directly to The Fresh Diet.

Sam Klepfish, CEO of Innovative Food Holdings, said the spinoff will allow both companies to better focus on their core businesses. The Fresh Diet will become a pure-play direct-to-consumer business, positioning The Fresh Diet to realize the higher valuations typically associated with food-tech and food-delivery public companies and better take advantage of acquisition opportunities. “We believe it provides the best opportunity to maximize shareholder value,” Klepfish said.

Completion of the spinoff is subject to certain regulatory approvals, but Innovative Food Holdings expects there to be a separate listing of The Fresh Diet on a U.S. exchange in the first quarter of 2016. Innovative Food Holdings also plans to retain between 10 percent and 19.9 percent of The Fresh Diet, and expects to distribute 70 percent to 85 percent of The Fresh Diet shares directly to Innovative Food Holdings’ shareholders.

“We believe that operating The Fresh Diet as its own entity will provide greater transparency into operations, and further establish its current position as the leading specialty food platform in the fast-growing direct-to-consumer, fresh-meal category,” said Bryan Janeczko, The Fresh Diet’s CEO. “This will also better position The Fresh Diet to attract additional partners and the capital markets support it requires, as demonstrated by the institutional funding commitment.”

Duchman founded The Fresh Diet in his apartment 10 years ago, with $500 he put on his credit card. The then 25-year-old was a pioneer in bringing healthy, portion-controlled meals to people's doorsteps daily. Today, food-tech is in favor with venture capitalists, who are funneling millions of dollars into the sector. The Fresh Diet will be the first fresh meal delivery company to trade on the public markets, Duchman said.

“The Fresh Diet has a bright future ahead and as its own publicly traded company it will have its own currency to continue making strategic acquisitions in the space,” said Duchman. “With the consolidation I see coming down the road, I believe The Fresh Diet, as a publicly traded company, will have a big advantage to execute on those opportunities.”

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Meet The Brothers Who Sold The First 100MM Apt In NYC

In what could be a real estate record for New York City, the nation of Qatar is in contract to buy an Upper East Side townhouse for $100 million, The New York Post reported earlier this week.

If the sale is completed in April, as expected, the 20,500-square-foot mansion, currently an art gallery, will become the priciest New York City commercial townhouse ever sold, according to The Real Deal. Qatar is expected to turn the townhouse, known as the Wildenstein Building, into a consulate.

Incredibly, the real estate agents who represented Qatar in the deal were not wizened New York brokers, but a pair of 20-something brothers who have made a name for themselves selling ultra-luxury homes from the Hamptons to Israel.

The brothers, Oren and Tal Alexander of Douglas Elliman's Alexander Team, are 26 and 27, respectively. The brothers were also behind the sale of Miami's most expensive mansion, and the team is currently marketing a $95 million apartment at New York's prestigious Sherry Netherland building.

In an email to Business Insider, Tal called the deal a "milestone transaction for New York City," adding "[we] were glad we were able to open the door for the next 9-figure sale in Manhattan." 

Even for brothers who are used to making headlines (The Real Deal dubbed Oren "the party boy" at age 23, and The New York Post has called him "the ultimate young gun") the Qatar deal is a major feather in their cap.

Oren posted about the news on his Facebook page:

Business Insider spoke to Oren last year, after he closed the $47 million deal in Miami. Despite his young age, he said he meets many of his wealthy clients — whom he likes to call "friends" — by living like they do. That means he spends New Year's in St. Barts, goes to the clubs they frequent, and dresses like them, too.

Alexander decided early on to focus on the luxury market and not rentals, a risky move that ultimately paid off.

"I knew who I wanted to be and to get there I had to be selling big product," he told Business Insider. "It's the only way to get recognition. Otherwise, you're just another real estate broker. I didn't want to be another rental broker. It is almost a negative thing to be a broker, almost like being a club promoter. There are so many of them and it's hard to differentiate yourself. I wanted to bring a good reputation to the business and I felt I could only do that on the high end."


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How David Schottenstein's Tech Co Will Disrupt Billable Hours




There’s an old joke: A lawyer dies and goes to heaven. At the pearly gates, he protests to St. Peter, "But I’m too young to die, I’m only 45!" St. Peter responds, "Not according to your time sheets."

Lawyers may not falsely claim decades' worth of billable hours, but for many of their clients, there’s a feeling that the process of calculating those hours is needlessly opaque. A new application called Viewabill, cofounded by David Schottenstein,Robbie Friedman, and the famous lawyer and writer Alan Dershowitz, aims to bring a new transparency to the process, and a more trusting relationship between business owners and the professionals whose services they contract.

"A lot of tension grows because of misunderstandings over bills and time," says Dershowitz, who has defended such high-profile clients as O.J. Simpson and Mike Tyson. "I just like the idea that everything in the relationship between lawyer and client should be open and transparent."

Alan Dershowitz

The idea behind Viewabill is simplicity itself: a cloud-based application that enables firms to easily track and share their pre-bill activity, and for clients to monitor that activity. The attractively designed app allows users to log on and navigate their pending charges via a dashboard, or periodically receive emails reporting on the charges from their lawyers (or accountants, or copywriters, or any professionals they may contract).

A dyed-in-the-wool entrepreneur, David Schottenstein clandestinely sold cigars to his father’s friends at 12. Now 29, he cuts a dapper figure when we sit down to meet in a Brooklyn café. He wears his first two startups (Viewabill is his third) quite literally on his sleeve. His salmon-colored bespoke cashmere blazer is a product ofAstor & Black, the custom clothing company he founded almost a decade ago. An orthodox Jew, he wears a beige yarmulke embroidered with the name of his other startup, Swiss Stays, a maker of extendable collar stays.

Over the years, like any businessman, Schottenstein has had a need of lawyers for routine issues. And each month, Schottenstein would get a bill in the mail from these lawyers. "Every time the bill came, it was like having a pit in my stomach," he says. "I had no idea what I was in store for. I heard Darth Vader music in the background." His lawyers would bill 50 hours for a task, when he would have told them to cap it at five. Sometimes he wondered if his lawyers simply looked at Schottenstein’s account at the end of each month and figured, "We didn’t hit him hard enough this month. He’s doing well."

He fired three law firms before reaching out to a childhood friend from Columbus, Ohio, Robbie Friedman. Friedman had just left a big firm where he was unhappy and moved back to Columbus to hang out a shingle on a practice of his own. Schottenstein offered him a deal. He’d hire Friedman for all his legal work, but to avoid conflicts, Friedman would send him a list of everything he’d done, the hours spent, and the fees accrued. "That way I can tell you any time, stop doing whatever, shit’s out of control," Schottenstein told his old friend.

"It worked like magic," he says. Only, the process was slightly cumbersome for Friedman, who had to enter the data into an existing time system he used, and then re-send the data in an email. The two put their heads together to develop one system that would achieve both tasks, Viewabill.

Zalmi Duchman Writes A Compelling Article For Forbes

The On-Demand Economy Is Here To Stay, And Now Is The Time To Put It To Use For Your Business


It’s hard to believe that only two years ago most people had never heard of Uber. Now, if there is someone out there who still doesn’t know what Uber or the on-demand economy is, they must be living in some very remote area of the universe. Startups like Uber achieved massive success not by inventing new products or categories, but by disrupting the way industries operate, and making our lives more convenient in the process. Companies like Uber succeed by putting information at our fingertips and giving us what we want: instant gratification. The on-demand economy is all about “now” and “transparency.” I need my taxi now; I don’t want to pick up the phone to call or raise my hand to flag down a vehicle. Don’t tell me when my cab will arrive; show me on a map how far away it is.

I first heard of Uber about four years ago, only a year after the company launched. At the time Uber was not operating in Miami due to a heavy regulated taxi industry, but I would always use it on my frequent trips to New York. I had the privilege of sitting on a panel with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in August 2012, at an off-site event at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Looking back, I wish I’d taken more advantage of my one-on-one time with Travis, as there is no doubt his knowledge of the startup world is unprecedented. But after that panel, I became obsessed with Uber and the on-demand economy, and I started thinking about how I might use this new way of doing business to continue to disrupt my industry.

Group photo after our Startup America Panel on Government & Startups. CEO of Uber in the middle. Me all the way to the right.

By August 2013, my situation had changed drastically. Instead of continuing to disrupt my industry and adding verticals to my business, I was dealing with fire after fire. As an entrepreneur, there is nothing more frustrating than having amazing ideas without the bandwidth or funding to implement them. Instead of adding product lines based on on-demand concepts into our meal delivery company, I was trying to save my company from our toxic angel investor. The only way to keep my company running was to bring in new management, a demand made by our investor. So I moved from CEO to Chairman of The Fresh Diet, a shift that allowed me a bit more time to explore the fascinating on-demand economy. What I found was surprising. There were many entrepreneurs trying to disrupt their industry using the on-demand economy.

Today countless startups refer to themselves as the Uber of X. Companies likeBuddytruk, an Uber for Pickup Trucks, are trying to disrupt the short-haul moving industry; start-ups like Zeel, an Uber for Massages, brings a Massage Therapist to your door. Swifto, the Uber for Dog-Walking, brings you not only a dog walker, but also the ability to track your pet as its travels through your neighborhood. StyleBee, the Uber for beauty services, brings make-up artists and salon specialists into your home.

Uber has tapped into a few key human desires, and that is why it has become one of the most successful companies in the world. The growth of the on-demand sector demonstrates that customers are interested in on-demand services. And thanks to companies like Dispatch, it is easier than ever to bring your business into the on-demand economy or launch your new Uber of X startup.

Dispatch is software-as-a-service company that allows entrepreneurs to move into the on-demand world quickly and inexpensively. Gone are the days when launching a technology company like Uber would take hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of hours building a tech platform. With Dispatch, you can launch your on-demand business in weeks and for less than $10,000. Dispatch is disrupting the Uber of X economy by having no up-front costs and charging a per transaction fee on the back-end. This business model has already proven successful: Dispatch raised over three million in funding last year and has just recently closed another three million dollar round from its current investors. It has also shown early success for companies using its service.Aatlantic Fitness, a fitness equipment repair service company, moved into the on-demand economy using Dispatch, and Handyman Connection, a 20 year old home repair service company, is using Dispatch’s platform to compete with Handy an on-demand service for house cleaning that has raised $60 million in venture capital.

These technologies reduce startup time by months or years and can turn your entrepreneurial dreams into a reality. As technologies continue to disrupt industry after industry, we the entrepreneurs are the greatest beneficiaries. So get out there and take advantage of this ever-changing world.

If you have the next big idea for an on-demand startup, or if want to bring your industry up to speed, reach out to Yaakov James Zar of Dispatch. He would love to help you make your dreams come true.

I am currently an investor in Buddytruk

You can find me on Twitter (@ZalmiD) and learn more about my work at