FoodBytes! by Rabobank is a next-gen pitch competition-meets-networking event that brings together the game-changing startups, investors and industry leaders pioneering the future of food and agriculture.
Date: May 16, 2018
The Sofitel Montreal is one of our official hotels. Attendees will receive a discounted rate of $255, exclusive of applicable taxes. To book your reservations, call the hotel toll free +1 877-285-9001 or email H3646email@example.com and specify that you’re calling about Rabobank FoodBytes! Montreal.
Hotel Omni is one of our official hotels FoodBytes! Montreal. Attendees will receive a discounted rate of $205 per night, exclusive of applicable taxes. To book your reservations, please head to https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/montreal-mont-royal/meetings/rabobank-foodbytes
Hear from our Alumni
“The longer we’ve been involved with FoodBytes!, the more opportunities emerge. FoodBytes! has been a continual resource since we pitched and an awesome community to be part of.”Will Deluca
“The sustainable food community is unmatched at FoodBytes!”Colleen Kazemi
3.5 Minute Pitches
Impactful Health Research & Development
We develop biomaterial-based solutions for the food and health industries.
Proven Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning for controlled environment agriculture; if you can Monitor, Control and Predict – you can redefine crop automation for the world.
Oatbox is a breakfast subscription company founded in Montreal in 2014 that handcrafts and delivers nutritious and healthful breakfast products in a convenient monthly box to its subscribers across North America.
Nectar offers a data-driven apiary management platform to assist beekeepers in keeping their honey bees healthy and productive to answer the rising need for pollination services, using sensors and AI.
Partake Brewing makes craft non-alcoholic beer that’s “alcohol free and beer lover approved”.
UKKO’s ecosystem enables farmers to optimize pesticide usage to achieve better crop yield, while integrating with on-farm tools to track, analyze and quantify sustainability achieved
San Francisco, CA
Pod Foods is the first software-enabled food distributor designed to bring good food to retailers across the nation at a fraction of the current cost.
Carol Stream, IL
Here brings people closer to food, through food, by making locally-sourced, locally-produced, and locally-distributed foods and beverages in the Midwest.
IOK Labs Inc
Moon Township, PA
We are building an AI+ML based solution- Klove, that will change the way we cook at home with a vision to bring back home cooking for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
SmartCatch provides Sustainable Seafood Technologies to reduce by-catch waste, combat Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) Fishing and promote global sustainable seafood markets.
1.5 Minute Pitches
We empower people to prepare healthy and complete plant based food with innovative and accessible products.
Natur+L XTD inc.
XTD is a new “Game Changer” staple in the food business, providing loooonger shelf life to fresh products of almost any kind. XTD uses HPP (High Pressure Process) technology to help food processors lower their wastes at every level of the supply chain. In 2017-18, XTD will have helped removing the equivalent of 3000 cars from the road (GHG), having the same food made with less resources, and been eaten, not sent to the landfill.
AmazStev Lifestyle Brands Inc.
AmazStev LifeStyle Brands Inc. (“AmazStev”) is a Montreal-based food ingredient company focused on the development, production and commercialization of AmazStev® UltraDulce™, a portfolio of novel, natural, calorie-free and bitter-free Stevia extract sweeteners that enable food and beverage manufacturers to develop clean- label, great-tasting, sugar-free products for health conscious consumers.
Ocean Executive is a sales and procurement software tool for the global B2B seafood industry. Our software solves supply-chain inefficiencies by streamlining the sales process for seafood professionals working within the aquaculture farm, wholesale, distribution, restaurant, retail and grocery chain sector.
Feedback is a mobile platform that applies dynamic pricing to the restaurant industry in order to reduce food waste and create a win-win-win solution for vendors, diners and society.
The Real Co
We are the world’s first single origin food company.
New York, NY
StirItUp is creating a stir in the food industry with an innovative uniquely-packaged authentic-tasting fresh hummus that has no preservatives, a 15 month shelf life, and no need for refrigeration.
We are one the world’s first Greek Style, high protein, low sugar frozen yogurt.
Puffed Veggie Crisps at under 80 calories a bag.
Smith & Salmon, Inc. (DBA: Sap! Beverages)
We make sparkling superfood beverages out of maple tree sap and birch tree sap.
2 - 3 PM | Opening Reception
Mix and mingle with food and ag innovators and enjoy food and drinks while meeting the demo companies at their display tables.
3:00 - 3:15 PM | Opening Remarks
Robert Sinescu, General Manager of Rabobank Canada.
3:15 - 3:30 PM | 1.5-Minute Pitches
Hear pitches from 10 game-changing food and ag startups from around the world.
7. The Real Co
8. Ocean Executive
3:30 - 5:00 PM | 3.5-Minute Pitches + Q&A
Our 10 pitch company finalists from around the world give 3.5-minute pitches, followed by 5 minutes of Q&A with the audience of investors, media, thought leaders and entrepreneurs.
6. Pod Foods
8. Impactful Health Research & Development
9. Ukko Agro
5:00 - 5:15 PM | Open Mic & Voting
10 attendees will get the chance to give a 1.5-Minute pitch on a first come first served basis. Attendees cast their vote via the FoodBytes! Mobile App for the favorite pitch company, selecting the People’s Choice Award winner. Our judges deliberate to select the Judges’ Choice Award winner from the pitch finalists and the Highly Commended Award winner from the 1.5-Minute pitches.
5:20 PM | Awards Ceremony
Our judges present the three awards.
5:30 - 7:30 PM | Closing Reception
Mix and mingle some more and enjoy food and drinks while meeting the demo companies at their display tables.
FoodBytes! Montreal Host
Catherine Lefebvre is a nutritionist, speaker and author of Sucre, vérités et conséquences (a book about sugar, its history and impact on health), as well as of recipe books Choux (about local cabbages) and Les Carnivores infidèles (vegetarian recipes). She is particularly fond of food actors, those who feed us every day, whether they are local or on the other side of the world. She is also interested in everything related to food innovations, those that unite food and new technologies in order to improve our health, the environment and to optimize food actors working conditions.
Specializing in food investment, product innovation, retail buying and more, and captained by Rabobank’s Global Head of F&A Innovation Manuel Gonzalez, our esteemed panel brings diverse expertise to the FoodBytes! table.
Christine Couvelier is passionate about food. She shares her passion and enthusiasm for food with everyone she works with. Christine is a Culinary Executive, an Executive Chef, and a Global Culinary Trendologist. Christine is the past Executive Chef of President’s Choice, the Director of Culinary & Beverage/Executive Chef at Cara Operations, and the Chair of The Chef School of George Brown College. She worked on Global Innovation for Unilever and was the first Director of Culinary Strategy at Maple Leaf Foods, where she worked on the vision, design & construction of the ThinkFOOD! Centre. Currently Christine continues to educate, teach, and inspire her customers through her consulting company Culinary Concierge.
With over 30 years of experience, this world-class chef and founder of Culinary Concierge, assists clients in the creation of award-winning food products, services and strategies that help them build their brands and keep them ahead of market trends. Christine goes beyond borders & gets up close & personal with the food industry, to provide her clients with a better understanding of the marketplace & trends in the world food sector in order to help develop and sustain a competitive edge.
Co-Founder, DUX Program
Martin Lemire is a nutritionist co-founder of the DUX Program and Vice-President co-founder of EDIKOM, a firm specializing in communication and information in the food sector, leading the magazine L’actualité ALIMENTAIRE, LE must magazine, and the GAÏA AWARDS, celebrating excellence in biofood packaging.
Since 2012, he is actively leading the DUX EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER Program, a national and innovative program celebrating the leadership in bringing improved nutrition for Canadians.
Martin holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Montreal, and a Masters in Communications at UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal) after obtaining a major scholarship from the Danone Institute of Canada, specializing in food media communication.
Director Incubator and Open Innovation
Caroline Miron has been the Head of Open innovation for Agropur since 2016, she and her team of intra-preneurs lead the development of a successful internal and external innovation practice within the largest dairy cooperative in North America. Caroline stewards the open innovation efforts within an organization that is over 80 years old with over 8000 employees building Agropur’s first incubator and accelerator program their Inno Challenge, Canada’s first open innovation challenge. Caroline, a foodie, specializes in innovation, especially within the consumer industry with 13 years + of international experience with Groupe Danone (Canada, USA, Global team in HQ Paris) as well as in the skincare industry at Nivea (Beiersdorf).
FoodBytes! Judges' Team Captain / Managing Director at Rabobank North America
Manuel Gonzalez is Managing Director at Rabobank North America and FoodBytes! Judges Team Captain. Previously, he was Managing Director of the San Francisco office and Head of the Western Region Corporate Clients after moving from Mexico City, where he served as the country head for Rabobank Mexico for four years. In the spirit of Rabobank's mission of Banking4Food, Manuel created FoodBytes! in 2015 in an effort to support the search for new ways to increase impact in the Food and Ag innovation space.
Manuel joined Rabobank in 1996 as a project manager in the Project Finance business in Mexico. In 2003, he was named Head of Credit and a year later became the Head of Credit and Legal. Prior to Rabobank, Manuel was the General Manager for six years at Gonzalez Guzman Alimentos, a diary and food distribution company. Manuel holds an MBA from Georgetown University.
Managing Partner, Rabaska Partners
As a veteran Investment Banker, Mike currently heads the Consumer, Agri-Food & Retail Group at Rabaska Partners. Formerly with CIBC World Markets, TD Securities and RBC Capital Markets, Mike’s experience includes raising equity and debt capital on the public markets for Canada’s largest corporations as well as Cross-border Mergers & Acquisitions advisory work for a vast array of companies, both large and small. Over the last decade, Mike has focused his practice on the food sector.
Mike is a longstanding member of the Board of Directors of the Cancer Research Society, a national organization that funds basic cancer research across the country.
Mike is passionate about food tech and sustainability. He is also an award-winning chef at home as determined by a panel of his children!
Mike graduated with an LL.B. from Université de Montréal and practised law for 2 years prior to attending the Ivey Business School in London, Ontario where he graduated with an MBA.
Patrice Jolivet joined the Fonds de solidarité FTQ in 2003 as Porfolio Manager. He has extensive expertise securing financing for manufacturing firms, built by assisting clients with acquisition, expansion and modernization projects. Patrice also helped many technology start-ups get off the ground. Since 2012, he has focused exclusively on the agri-food sector and is on the lookout for any innovative project. He spent over 20 years working for well-known financial institutions and holds a business administration degree from McGill University.
Our 20 pitch companies will take part in an invite-only mentor session with industry experts. Our mentor sessions originated at FoodBytes! SF 2016 and are part of our continual quest to provide increasing value to our pitch companies and stakeholders. Get to know our incredible lineup of mentors below.
Shareholder, Polsinelli PC
Chuck has sophisticated experience working with entrepreneurs, nascent companies, and venture funds in the food, beverage, and natural products space, and he leads the firm’s Food and Beverage industry group. Chuck has worked with more than fifty consumer products and related brands and advises such companies at all stages of growth, from startups to ready-to-exit, helping them successfully raise capital, complete acquisitions and divestitures, and comply with regulatory requirements. He also advises numerous venture funds with respect to their investments in consumer products companies. The philosophy of Chuck’s group is that clients are long-term partners and not viewed transactionally.
Having served in a comprehensive advisory role to food and beverage startups for nearly 20 years and helping one of those startups achieve global brand status with annual revenue in excess of $1 billion, Bob knows what it takes to help startups scale and succeed in the market. He’s deeply passionate about helping entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life from inception to globalization through the development and implementation of a comprehensive and rational go-to-market strategy that aligns with the brand and available resources.
Bob’s helped entrepreneurs: evaluate and implement their go-to-market strategy; develop and test great-tasting and consumer-preferred products; facilitate angel, venture and private equity financing; connect with contract manufacturers and distribution partners; and win with consumers.
Prior to joining WILD Flavors (acquired by ADM in 2014), Bob served as co-founder, officer and board member for F&C International (acquired by WILD Flavors in 1994). He’s also served as an economist, sales leader, president and CEO in a variety of industries.
Founder, Fresh Ideas Group
FIG founder Sylvia R. Tawse has conducted national campaigns for dozens of brands. Her “healthier-living-for-all” commitment is evident in her nonprofit work, from Chef Ann Cooper’s LunchBox.org and Salad Bar Project, to years of work for the Boulder County Farmers Market. Sylvia was an instrumental force in the “Keep Organic Organic” public awareness campaign for the Organic Trade Association, which resulted in the highest number of letters received by the USDA, all 280,000+ of them. Sylvia has firsthand knowledge of the food industry, from the ground up. She and her husband own Pastures of Plenty Farm, a 32-acre organic farm in Longmont, Colorado.
Executive Director, Senior Analyst – Food & Consumer Trends, Rabobank
Prior to joining Rabobank, he was a Senior Economist and Vice President of Sales, Research & Marketing, at LMC International, an independent economic and business consultancy for the agribusiness sector. Prior to LMC, Nick worked as a Senior Research Economist for The Natural Resources Institute in the U.K. Additionally he has worked as a freelance economic journalist, a Senior Economist with the Government of Papua New Guinea, as well as a lecturer/tutor in Applied Economics. Nick holds a M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from Reading University in the U.K.
Managing Director, Global Client Solutions, Rabobank
Eric joined Rabobank’s Global Client Solutions Group in January 2015. He focuses on providing equity and subordinated/mezzanine debt private placement advisory services. Eric has over 23 years of investment banking experience, 16 of which have been focused on helping private companies raise growth capital. Prior to joining Rabobank, Eric was a Managing Director with Northland Capital Markets. Before that, he served as a Managing Director at RBC Capital Markets, where he focused on Equity Private Placements. Over the past decade, Eric has successfully advised private placement clients in raising over $3 billion. Eric holds an MBA from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Economics and Business Management from Cornell University.
Executive Director in Acquisition Finance & Sponsor Coverage, Rabobank
Maria is an Executive Director in Acquisition Finance & Sponsor Coverage in New York. In addition to developing and managing relationships with Private Equity clients, Maria is responsible for originating and executing PE backed debt transactions. Maria has been a part of Acquisition Finance since transferring from Finance and Control in October 2010. Maria Joined Rabobank in 2006 as an associate and has held several roles within Finance and Control, concentrating on Basel II implementation and compliance, as well as various accounting and reporting functions. Prior to joining Rabobank, Maria spent two years at Northern Funding, LLC specializing in commercial real estate lending. Maria received her BBA in Public Accounting from Pace University.
Principal, The Intertwine Group
Elliot Begoun is the Principal of The Intertwine Group, a practice focused on helping emerging food and beverage brands grow. He works with clients to design and execute customized route-to-market and go-to-market strategies that build velocity, gain distribution, and win share of stomach. His articles appear in publications such as the Huffington Post, SmartBrief, and FoodDive.
For Cheryl Clements, food is personal. It’s about connection. Growing up, in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, Cheryl spent summers helping her mother run a pie business, with help from her Dad and brother they made close to 10,000 pies. Aptly named The Pie Shell, it was headquartered where all good startups begin; the family’s basement. After working as an accountant for 5 years, Cheryl had the opportunity to take on the tech world. She jumped at the change and for more than 15 years, she was an independent contractor, becoming a highly sought-after Senior Program/Project Manager; working with major corporations such as Hershey, General Mills, and Miller Beer and overseeing the implementation of SAP – the world’s largest enterprise resource planning software.
But while this work was immensely satisfying, Cheryl yearned to do something more personal and a couple of years ago she explored crowdfunding to start her own business based on her Mom’s infamous salad dressing. As she delved into her research, it quickly became apparent that with a 75% failure rate the existing sites were clearly lacking, at least for food and beverage companies. Cheryl quickly realized that the world needed a better crowdfunding solution for food-oriented businesses, more than another salad dressing. Cheryl brings the same effective project management and forward-thinking to PieShell so all “PieShellers,” both campaigners and supporters alike, can be sure that their experience on the site is engaging, seamless and meaningful. She understands the mix of hard work, commitment, and passions that drive every entrepreneur and looks forward to helping them realize their dreams. It was from her mother that Cheryl learned what it takes to build a successful food operation, but more than that, she learned how communities grow around the food that people share. Cheryl lives in New York City with her husband, Adrian, and yes she proudly serves up her Mom’s salad dressing when entertaining!
Proudly Brought to You By
Rabobank Group is a global financial services leader providing wholesale and retail banking, leasing, and real estate services in more than 40 countries worldwide. Rabobank is one of the world’s largest banks with over $750 billion in assets. In the Americas, Rabobank is a premier bank to the food, agribusiness and beverage industry, providing sector expertise, strategic counsel and tailored financial solutions to clients across the entire food value chain. We know that sustainability and innovation are critical in promoting a thriving food and ag industry that will feed growing global populations for years to come, which is a key focus of our Banking for Food strategy.
Founded in 1938 in Québec, Agropur dairy cooperative is joining the FoodBytes! family in 2018, bringing 80 years of dairy sector leadership and expertise. Agropur which is amongst the top 20 dairy leader players in the world, never stops innovating and sees innovation as a guiding principle within the organization.
ADM has been feeding food businesses for nearly 115 years with plant-based proteins, whole-food ingredients and product development expertise. We match your idea to the right ingredients—helping food developers and entrepreneurs get to market faster great-tasting, nutritious foods that consumers love.
ADM is an industry-leading specialty ingredients provider offering an ever-expanding catalog of flavorful, colorful, functional, nutritious and whole-food ingredients through its WILD Flavors and Specialty Ingredients (WFSI) business unit. Whether developers and entrepreneurs are looking for a single ingredient, custom ingredient blend or a complete product solution, we can help them get to market faster with great-tasting, nutritious foods consumers purchase time and time again.
Polsinelli is an Am Law 100 firm with more than 800 attorneys in 20 offices. Ranked #24 for Client Service Excellence and #10 for best client relationships among 650 U.S. law firms, Polsinelli was also named among the top 20 best-known firms in the nation. The firm’s attorneys provide value through practical legal counsel infused with business insight, and focus on food and beverage, food- and ag-tech, health care, financial services, real estate, intellectual property, mid-market corporate, labor and employment, and business litigation.
Crowdfunding for food and beverage entrepreneurs.
Boulder Food Group
Boulder Food Group seeks partnerships with early stage food and beverage consumer product companies. BFG works alongside exceptional entrepreneurs to ensure the business is able to deliver sustainable growth and outperform its competitors.
Food+Tech Connect gives innovators the tech and business insights, connections and skills they need to transform the food industry through its website, newsletters, events, consulting and business courses. Join the community @foodtechconnect.
Fresh Ideas Group
FIG in 1995 with a vision: build a marketing firm that fills the communications gap between the organic industry, retailers and consumers with effective and powerful storytelling that needs no spin — ever. We excel in the areas of public relations, branding, marketing communications and social media. Our clients’ missions drive us and we accelerate their stories, traditionally and digitally, in a refreshingly unconventional way.
The Intertwine Group
The Intertwine Group helps emerging food and beverage brands grow. We design and execute customized route-to-market and go-to-market strategies that build velocity, gain distribution, and win share of stomach. Our approach creates growing brands that are sustainable and investable.
Selffee is the edible photo booth, creating edible selfies live on-demand at events. Our technology allows to print images directly onto food and beverages using edible inks, enabling us to tackle crowds of any size.
The Fonds de solidarité FTQ is a capital development fund that channels the savings of Quebecers into investments. With $13.7 billion in net assets as at November 30, 2017, the Fonds has helped create and maintain over 186,440 jobs. The Fonds has more than 2,700 partner companies and over 645,000
Online global community of 5000+ founders, students, and professionals looking to connect and build.
District 3 is Concordia University’s centre of innovation and entrepreneurship. As a strong and diverse innovation hub located in Montreal, we bring together key players from corporations, government, research, and academia to ensure every innovator and entrepreneur has access to the resources they need to transform ideas into a positive impact.
DUX Eat Better, Live Better publicly honours action and innovation by recognizing leaders in healthy nutrition. The program is a vast movement of leaders who seek to improve their products, the environment and dietary choices to promote health and wellness among their communities.
Montréal International (MI)
Created in 1996, Montréal International (MI) is the result of a private-public partnership. Its mission is to contribute to the economic development of Greater Montréal and enhance its international status. Its mandates include attracting foreign direct investments, international organizations and international strategic workers as well as promoting the competitive and international environment of Greater Montréal. Montréal International—a non-profit organization—is funded by the private sector, the governments of Canada and Québec, the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (Montréal Metropolitan Community) and the City of Montréal.
Récolte supports the emergence of innovative enterprises and community driven projects. We do this by fostering opportunities for local collaboration, facilitating local mentorship, and by adapting training opportunities to the realities of today’s “Foodtrepreneurs”. In doing so, we are working to support the emergence of viable projects that contribute to a more local, sustainable and ethical food system.
SKU is THE consumer product goods accelerator. We educate and equip companies, with market-validated products, for growth into world-class brands. During our 14 week accelerator program SKU surrounds 7-10 stellar startups with tailored mentor teams of rockstar entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts. While the accelerator program is only a few months, the relationships and learning lasts a lifetime.
Union Kitchen is a food business accelerator based in Washington, DC. We build national food and beverage brands that grow locally and scale regionally. We use our expertise, networks, and strong local ecosystem to build businesses' success.
Recognized by Fast Company as one of the world’s ten most innovative companies in food, Food-X is the #1 Food Innovation Accelerator in the world. We help food entrepreneurs bring their products and services to market at super speed. Food-X partners with early stage companies from across the food supply chain, from ag tech to consumer packaged goods.
Rabaska Partners provides high-impact strategic and financial advice to corporations in the context of Mergers & Acquisitions. The partners at Rabaska hail from Canada’s largest and most reputable investment banks and have extensive advisory expertise leading buy-side and sell-side transactions for companies across multiple industries.
Bioenterprise Corporation is a national, non-profit business accelerator offering commercialization services to support the creation, growth and expansion of businesses in the agri-technology sector.
Since 2003, Bioenterprise has focused exclusively on agri-technology, providing companies with scientific and technical expertise, industry knowledge, business services and global connections.
Headquartered in Ontario, Bioenterprise has office locations in British Columbia and Nova Scotia.
Bioenterprise is funded through the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP) delivered by the National Research Council of Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), and the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincialterritorial initiative.
Food in Canada
In publication since 1938, Food in Canada has earned the highest degree of trust and respect within the industry that is unequalled by any other magazine, website or newsletter serving the Canadian food and beverage processing industry. Food in Canada reaches the entire food & beverage industry in Canada and delivers top-quality coverage of the national food and beverage processing industry. For 80 years food and beverage professionals have relied on Food in Canada for information and updates on key industry issues and trends, as well as equipment and ingredient suppliers.
The only french magazine dedicated to Food Processors. L’actualité ALIMENTAIRE is a professional magazine specialized in covering mainly the food processing sector, the largest employer in Quebec. Rich of its fifteen years of publishing, L’actualité ALIMENTAIRE occupies a central space in the media offer of the industry. The magazine informs, documents and digs deep into the topics on the food industry. It is positioned as a reference for Quebec processors. It meets their current concerns and equips them to be on the lookout for the latest trends and technologies.