FoodBytes! is not your average startup pitch competition. On Wednesday March 15, our 20 pitch companies will take part in an invite-only mentor sessions with industry experts and rehearse their pitches for our rockstar panel of judges

Our mentor sessions originated in SF in 2016 and are part of our continual quest to provide increasing value to our pitch companies and stakeholders. The mentorship component in San Francisco will be our most robust yet, facilitating meaningful, collaborative conversations between our up-and-coming pitch companies and leading industry players. Hailing from Rabobank and some of our sponsor organizations, Holland and Hart and Nucleus Maximus, our standout lineup of mentors specialize in branding, legal, financing and consumer trends.

Check out our mentor’ bios below to learn more about their ground-breaking work. Want to attend and have a chance to mingle with our mentors in San Francisco March 16th? Snag your ticket. Interested in pitching for FoodBytes!? Click on the location links for each up coming FoodBytes! Europe, NYC or Austin. Follow FoodBytes! on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates!


Chuck Cotter – Partner, Holland and 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.    


Adam Spriggs – Founder, Nucleus Maximus

Adam founded Nucleus Maximus, a boutique branding and design agency that works exclusively with grocery brands, in 2015. Nucleus Maximus is an instinct-driven agency whose perspectives are continuously sharpened by observance of best practices from the food industry’s emerging brands, as well as ground-level exposure to cultural, design, consumer and culinary shifts that shape consumer interests around food and expectations of brands. Nucleus Maximus’ core expertise and specialties include brand strategy, product positioning and package design. Adam’s work and perspectives have been covered by notable trade groups including Packaging World, BevNet, Project Nosh, Naturally Boulder and New Hope.   



Paula Savanti – Senior Analyst, Rabobank Research

Paula joined Rabobank in 2008 as an Analyst in Argentina’s office, where she was responsible for coordinating the economic analysis of the Argentine agricultural and food sector with an emphasis in grains and oilseeds, animal protein, and dairy. Paula moved to New York in 2015 to join the US consumer foods sector team where her main areas of research include branded foods and consumer trends, foodservice industry and food retail. Prior joining, Paula worked at the World Bank in Washington DC, where she participated in agricultural development projects in Latin America and Africa and was a co-author of the World Bank’s flagship publication, World Development Report 2008 “Agriculture for Development”. Sponsored by ICICI Bank, Paula has also worked on microfinance projects for farmers in India. Paula holds a degree in Economics from the Universidad de San Andrés in Argentina and a Masters in International Development from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.   


Eric Hansen – Global Client Solutions Officer, 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.   

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