LOCATE FLX: How Geneva nurtured the growth of food startup RealEats

When food-tech company RealEats was looking for a home for its startup operations, it sought a location that could support both the development of its product and its business.

It found that sweet spot in Geneva, New York.

Dan Wise, RealEats founder and CEO, said the company selected Geneva because of its central location in the Finger Lakes agricultural region.

“The bounty of this region in both agriculture and talent is a perfect match for RealEats,” Wise said.

He credited the City of Geneva for finding the company its space at the Geneva Enterprise Development Center, within the City’s Innovation Kitchen, and for obtaining funding to develop its operation there. The City secured RealEats a $350,000 grant from the Community Development Block Grant program and a $150,000 loan from the City’s Revolving Loan Fund.

“Geneva is proud to be the home of RealEats and to do our part to support its growth within the City and around the country,” said Sage Gerling, Geneva City Manager. “Whether it is support with financing, incubator space, or prospective partners, the City of Geneva is committed to help innovative food and agribusiness startups thrive in our community.”

Ontario County has been another important partner at the table. “Ontario County is delighted to be part of the success story for RealEats,” said Mike Manikowski, Director of Ontario County Economic Development. “We partnered with the City of Geneva early on to help attract and provide early capital as RealEats established its business in Geneva. They are a leading example of the power of our central Finger Lakes location for Ag and Food businesses.”

Founded in 2017, RealEats delivers locally-sourced, chef-prepared meals directly to homes across America. The meals arrive in vacuum-sealed pouches, and, reheated in boiling water, are ready in about six minutes.

“I started RealEats because I was a busy single father challenged to find a way to make my kids healthy, real food,” said Wise. “Every day around 4 p.m., I found myself in the position of choosing between healthy and easy. I wanted to start feeding my kids healthier food instead of choosing unhealthier options. I found a product that made a lot of sense for us and we turned it into a business.”

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