Since FoodBytes! inception in 2015, it has grown from drinks with friends to a jam-packed two-day event. The first day offers selected pitch companies targeted mentoring and the opportunity to practice and perfect their pitch for the following day’s pitch competition. FoodBytes! is not your average pitch competition, it’s more of a “mini business school adventure,” according to FoodBytes! SF finalist Liz Skalla of GIVN.
On Wednesday June 14, our 20 FoodBytes! NYC pitch companies will take part in mentor sessions industry experts and rehearse their pitches for our rockstar panel of judges. Hailing from Rabobank and members of our FoodBytes! family, Holland and Hart, ADM, Boulder Food Group, Nucleus Maximus and Fresh Ideas Group, our standout lineup of mentors specialize in branding, PR, legal, funding, consumer trends and supply chains.
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.
Bob Bloom– WILD Flavors
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 resource
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.
Cindy Sieden – Managing Director Head of Capital Structuring N.A. Rabobank
Cindy Sieden joined Rabobank in January 2011 as a Managing Director in Global Client Solutions and is based in New York. She was responsible for the capital structure advisory mandate for our F&A clients. In March of 2014, Cindy was named Regional Head of Debt Structuring for North America, now called Capital Structuring, where she continues to provide capital structure advisory work for our clients as well as product neutral assessments of financing alternatives in support of our origination effort.
Prior to joining Rabobank, Cindy worked at ABN Amro/Royal Bank of Scotland where she was a senior member of their Corporate Finance and Risk Solutions team. Cindy started her career at Salomon Brothers/Citigroup where she was a senior member of the Financial Strategy Group, the primary corporate finance advisory group for the Bank.
Cindy has a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance and International Business from NYU’s Stern School of Business and a BA in Mathematics and Spanish from the City University of New York.
Tom Spier– Founder and Managing Partner of Boulder Food Group
Founder and Managing Partner of Boulder Food Group, previously co-founded EVOL Foods and was the COO of Bear Naked Granola. Under Tom’s management, both businesses were successfully sold to public companies.
In addition to his role at BFG, Tom proudly serves on the board of directors of three non-profit organizations including Chef Ann Foundation, Just Label It and Growe Foundation. Chef Ann Foundation and Just Label It are focused at the national level on critical food related issues. The Growe Foundation works with Boulder Valley elementary schools to provide learning opportunities in school gardens. Tom is also the co-founder of the 929 Non-Profit Summer Series which takes place in Boulder, CO each summer. The event series benefits at least five non-profits each year and raises funds on their behalf.
Tom was born and raised in Santa Fe, NM. He attended Santa Fe Preparatory School and then Vanderbilt University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors and dual degrees in Economics and Spanish. Tom lives in Boulder, CO with his wife and family.
Richard O’Gorman – Rabobank Food & Agriculture Innovation Fund
Richard leads the recently launched Rabobank Food & Agriculture Innovation Fund, a captive VC activity investing venture and early stage capital into innovative food and agri companies in Europe and USA. He has worked with Rabobank Private Equity since 2010 focusing on Rabobank’s international food and agriculture VC and private equity activities. He sits on several Investment Committees and Advisory Boards of Rabobank’s portfolio food and ag funds and works closely with the different food and ag innovation activities under way across the group.
Previously Richard was self-employed in retail and manufacturing businesses. Prior to that he worked for the Australian and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) in structuring and trading interest rate derivatives. Richard is ACCA qualified and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from the National University of Ireland and a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Bristol.
Nick Fereday – 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.
Sylvia Tawse – Founder, Fresh Ideas Group
FIG founder 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 to years of work for the . Sylvia was an instrumental force in the “Keep Organic Organic” public awareness campaign for the , 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 , a 32-acre organic farm in Longmont, Colorado.
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.
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