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
Manuel Gonzalez, Global Head of F&A Startup Innovation and FoodBytes! Founder.
3:15 - 3:30 PM | 60-Second Pitches
Hear pitches from 10 game-changing food and ag startups from around the world.
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.
5:00 - 5:15 PM | Open Mic & Voting
10 attendees will get the chance to give a 60-second pitch on a first come first served basis. Attendees cast their votes via SMS for their favorite demo company, selecting the People’s Choice Award winner. Our judges deliberate to select the Judges’ Choice Award winner from the demo finalists and the Highly Commended Award winner from the 60-second 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.
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.
FoodBytes! Judges' Team Captain / Global Head of F&A Innovation, Rabobank
Manuel Gonzalez is the Global Head of F&A Innovation Rabobank. Prior to this, 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.
Founder, Do Good & AllergyKids Foundation
Robyn O’Brien has been called “Food’s Erin Brockovich” by Bloomberg and the New York Times. She received her MBA on a full scholarship from Rice University, graduating as the top woman in her class. She then went to work as an equity analyst on a team that managed $20 billion in assets. The team launched the company’s first hedge fund which won top performer at the company. As an analyst she covered the food and tech industries, but her life took an abrupt turn when her youngest child had a life threatening allergic reaction. She turned her analytical skills towards our food system, the health of our families, companies and economies and what we can do to invest in health. She has helped lead a food movement and regularly appears in the press. Robyn's work has been recognized by political leaders around the country, by General Mills, Chipotle, Coca Cola, Target, Chili’s Restaurants, investors and others in the food industry. She is a recognized thought leader, an advisor to startups and multinationals, named by Forbes Women as a woman to follow on Twitter, named by SHAPE Magazine as a woman to shape the world, and the author of the bestseller The Unhealthy Truth and founder of Do Good and the AllergyKids Foundation. She lives in Boulder with her husband and four children, where she loves to run and garden.
Our 20 pitch companies will take part in an invite-only mentor sessions 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.
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.
Partner, Holland & Hart
Chuck Cotter advises 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. In both domestic and cross-border transactions Chuck represents clients in financings, mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. His deal experience ranges from sales of small private companies to mergers of large publicly-listed companies across borders, including going-private transactions. Chuck helps growth-oriented clients determine the best way to reach their personal and corporate objectives – from initial formation and financing, through growth stages, culminating in an IPO, sale, or other exit strategy. Chuck has sophisticated experience working with entrepreneurs and nascent companies in the food, beverage, and natural products space and he leads the firm’s Food and Beverage industry group. Before joining Holland & Hart, Chuck practiced at two leading Wall Street law firms and in-house at a major hedge fund.
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.
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.
Holland & Hart is a national law firm headquartered in Denver, CO. The firm has a strong food and beverage practice and has been part of the industry for decades. They help clients through the entire lifecycle of a company’s growth and pride themselves on working with natural and organic products.
The Hain Celestial Group
The Hain Celestial Group , Inc. is a leading organic, natural and better-for-you products company. As a company, Hain Celestial is focused on growing their business by delivering new and sustainable concepts to consumers and are supporting innovation and entrepreneurs in food and agriculture. Cultivate Ventures, was formed to strategically invest and incubate lifestyle brands, concepts, products and technology, which focus on health and wellness. As an official FoodBytes! sponsor, Hain Celestial and Cultivate Ventures directly align to create and inspire A Healthier Way of Life™.
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.
Crowdfunding for food and beverage entrepreneurs.
The Intertwine Group
The Interwine 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.
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.
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.
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.
FTW Ventures is an investment & advisory group for early-stage Food & Ag Tech startups. FTW engages with the best founding teams with a mission to create radical improvements in our Food System.
KitchenTown builds successful food and beverage startups by providing commercialization facilities and expertise to scale. Through educational programs, an innovation center, partnering opportunities and access to capital, KitchenTown nurtures companies from concept to small-scale production.