FoodBytes! by Rabobank is a next-generation pitch competition and networking platform that builds lasting connections between the most promising food and agriculture startups, corporates and investors, helping them pioneer a more sustainable future.
Find all the answers to your burning questions in the FAQ.
Date: Thursday, September 19
Venue: Revel Fulton Market
1215 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607
Official Hotel: Ace Hotel, 311 N Morgan St, Chicago
Attendees will receive a discounted rate of $319, exclusive of applicable taxes. Reservations can be made directly here, by emailing the reservations department at email@example.com or calling 312-548-1177. Group reservation name: Rabobank.
Please note, the exclusive rate is available until August 16, 2019, please ensure reservations before this date.
Food Tech Pitch Companies
The Better Meat Co.
Sacramento, CA USA
The Better Meat Co. is a B2B startup that helps institutional food sellers boost their meat products by using less meat and more plants. In short, we provide innovative plant protein formulas for foodservice providers and meat processors to make their meat better.
Los Angeles, CA USA
Spira is a creator of functional ingredients from spirulina microalgae as a replacement for petroleum and animal compounds found in the foods we eat, working with sustainable farmers worldwide to also help developing communities and heal the planet.
Higher Steaks is a pork cell-based meat company. We are developing a production method that substantially reduces the amount of media needed to produce cell-based meat to reduce the cost of production, an intelligent in-process monitoring system to improve efficiency and reduce batch loss as well as a biomaterial that will allow us to generate more structurally complex products.
Journey Foods Inc.
Chicago, IL USA
Journey Foods is an AI-powered platform that supports product management and data services for food companies. We offer data services to help companies create more cost-efficient and nutrient-focused packaged products for the 3 trillion dollar packaged foods market.
US and Israel
EVIGENCE SENSORS™ are revolutionary, low cost visual monitors that enable you to manage freshness on carton level. These state of the art sensors change color and indicate the true remaining shelf life of the perishables inside.
CPG Pitch Companies
Yolele Foods Inc.
Brooklyn, NY USA
Yolélé is a revolutionary African food business that builds markets and supply chains for delicious and nutritious, climate-resilient traditional African ingredients – for the purpose of providing a source of income to West African smallholder farmers from regenerative agriculture. Our first ingredient platform is fonio, a drought tolerant ancient grain.
Start Right Foods
Ballwin, MO USA
Start Right is on a mission to reimagine traditional breakfast staples as nutritional powerhouses packed with protein and convenient for an on-the-go lifestyle. Start Right has a line of hand-made Belgian Waffles containing 15g of protein per serving, and delicious, all-natural Waffle Sliders with 19g of protein per serving. Start Right is reestablishing breakfast as the most important meal of the day, especially in an over-caffeinated, time-crunched society.
Chicago, IL USA
TeaSquares provides the energy to help reach your aspirations and potential – throughout each day, and in life. Our delicious superfood snacks are developed with nutritionists to help overcome the valleys of fatigue, giving you immediate and sustained energy to FOCUS on what you need to conquer. We also have a social mission to give people from underserved communities the energy – in the form of jobs & skills – to achieve their aspirations, regardless of life’s setbacks.
Tia Lupita Foods
Tiburon, CA USA
We are a better for you, healthy Mexican inspired food company. Our line of hot sauces are made with simple, locally sourced Non-GMO, Gluten Free ingredients and NO SUGAR based on my Mom’s family recipe.
Chicago, IL USA
Shameless Pets works to reduce the environmental impact of pet food through their nutritional, upcycled treats.
Ag Tech Pitch Companies
Agremo is an agri-tech startup that has developed an innovative, intuitive agriculture sensing and imagery analysis software platform for growers, agronomists, and drone professionals. Our mission is to help agricultural producers and other supply chain participants (e.g., input suppliers, crop processors) to achieve higher and more sustainable outputs by using high-end technology that is easy to use, easy to grasp and easy to run.
Ithaca, NY USA
Capro-X is a sustainable agriculture biotechnology company focused on bringing a new age of sustainability to the dairy industry by upgrading wastes and byproducts into valuable chemicals – which we call bio-oil.
Cytophage Technologies, Inc.
Cytophage Technologies Inc. is developing synthetic bacteriophage products to prevent and treat bacterial infections that affect animal health.
Auburn, NY USA
LocalCoho is building a land-based Recirculating Aquaculture Platform (RAS) to grow and sell sustainable, traceable, and fresh Coho salmon. Designed by our chief scientist from Cornell and commercialized by our chief biologist, FLF uses MxCell® RAS technology to create one of the most energy-efficient close-contained designs in the world.
Viroqua, WI USA
SeedLinked is a prescriptive analytics platform augmented by a recommendation engine, by advanced analytics and crowdsourcing technology. By leveraging crowd-sourced data with machine learning, SeedLinked enables farmers to be more profitable by informing selection of seeds adapted for their business and production needs via the marketplace.
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 - 5:00 PM | Pitch Companies
Pitch companies take to the FoodBytes! stage
5:00 - 5:30 PM | Voting & Award Ceremony
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.
Investment Director, ADM Ventures
Darren Streiler is the Investment Director of ADM Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Archer Daniels Midland. At ADM, Darren makes strategic investments in Series A and B startups in the Food, Agriculture, and Animal Health and Nutrition industries. Prior to ADM, Darren was at Monsanto Growth Ventures. As well, he served as Business Development Lead for Monsanto’s Global Strategy group. Darren has over 20 years of investment and deal making experience at top-tier hedge funds, mutual funds and investment banks. He holds an MBA from University of California at Berkeley and a Finance degree from Boston College.
Senior Director of Sustainability, Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN
Tina May leads the innovation team for Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN. In this role she is tasked with creating innovative sustainability solutions to help farmers and co-op member-owners nationwide, harnessing the nexus of policy and business.
Previously, Tina worked for more than a decade in government, including leadership roles with the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Tina has also worked as a Silicon Valley executive, and co-founded the first-ever DC based lobbying firm to incorporate as a Public Benefit Corporation.
Founder, Germin8 Ventures
Michael founded Germin8 Ventures, which is a venture capital fund that is seeking to improve the global food system and is innovative in its own right, providing both investment and strategic resources to the founders of transformative FoodTech and AgTech companies around the world. Michael and his partners at Germin8 are an extension of the exceptional teams they back, applying like-minded entrepreneurial hustle, a partnership approach and creativity to best enable teams. Michael participates very actively on the boards of invested companies and is also a mentor and member at several accelerators and incubators, including the Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator, 1871, The Good Food Accelerator, Family Farmed, The Hatchery and the TERRA accelerator at RocketSpace.
Previously, Michael was an investment banker at Chicago-based Mesirow Financial, successfully executing transactions in Food & Agriculture, Industrial Technology and other sectors, while also serving on Mesirow’s corporate development team. Prior to joining Mesirow’s investment banking practice, Michael began his career in the consulting practice, advising on corporate turnarounds and financial restructurings for clientele ranging from the middle market to Fortune 500.
Michael’s passion for food and agriculture is authentic and deep rooted having grown up in the industry, working throughout the value chain and completing coursework in agribusiness and agriculture sciences. Michael graduated from the University of Illinois with both bachelors and masters degrees in finance. Michael is a proud Chicago native, but regularly commutes to the San Francisco Bay Area, Tel Aviv and in between.
Managing Director and Head of Markets, Rabobank North America
Nader Pasdar is Managing Director and Head of Markets for Rabobank North America. He leads teams that are responsible for debt and equity capital markets, derivative sales and trading for corporate and financial institution clients of the bank. Nader is the CEO and a Board member of Rabo Securities USA. During his 21 years at Rabobank, Nader has had the opportunity to work with many of our clients to provide customized financing solutions.
Previously, Nader was Head of Capital Markets North America, where he was responsible for origination and structuring of capital markets products for the bank’s corporate clients. Nader joined Rabobank in 1998 as an Associate focused on client relationships, marketing, and execution of corporate transactions. His previous experience includes leading foreign exchange sales at Ruesch International, where he primarily focused on forward contract sales to corporate clients. Nader holds a BA degree in Economics from Temple University and an MBA from Boston University.
Finity helps entrepreneurs, companies of all stages, and venture funds in the consumer packaged goods space to reach their goals, including raising capital, executing acquisitions and divestitures, and addressing day-to-day corporate matters. Finity works with dozens of food, beverage, and natural products companies and venture funds who invest in the space. The philosophy of Finity’s group is that clients are long-term partners, who are not viewed merely as transactions
Managing Director, Creative Alignments
Frank Milianti is the Managing Director at Creative Alignments, responsible for overseeing the company’s consumer products practice. He has more than 15 years of experience leading CPG recruitment efforts to help maximize his client’s investment in people. He's energized by developing lasting relationships with strategic partners and sharing his knowledge on how to best build a successful culture and team.
Founder & CEO, Foodspace
After graduating with honors from the California Culinary Academy, San Francisco, Joe co-founded a catering company in 2006. He was instrumental in growing Cosmopolitan Catering (acquired by Compass Group in 2018) to over $20M and in 2015 exited and began consulting in foodservice facility and product design with his newly formed Foodspace® brand. Joe is an expert in foodservice management, food business growth, product development, business strategy and mentorship.
Founder, Brand Champion
Elliot Begoun is a principal at The Intertwine Group and self-proclaimed food nerd. Based on his 25 years in the business, he considers himself a lifelong student and the beneficiary of a holistic view of the industry which he uses to help emerging food brands design and execute marketing strategies, build velocity, gain distribution and win share of stomach.
Principal, Bluestein Ventures
Ashley Hartman is a Principal at Bluestein & Associates, a family office with a dedicated venture capital fund investing in early-stage (Seed-to-Series A) businesses across the value chain in food and retail. B&A has over 20 companies in our portfolio spanning consumer products, services, e-commerce, distribution, and technology. Ashley is involved in all areas at B&A, including screening, due diligence, portfolio company support, and portfolio strategy. B&A takes an active role in our investments, proactively helping our portfolio companies craft and hone their go-to-market strategy, as well as connect them with execution resources and key network partnerships.
VP, Equity Private Placements, Rabobank
Since joining Rabobank in 2012, Roderik has advised many different companies in the Food & Agri space. Roderik started out in the Corporate Finance Advisory group where he advised various large cap companies on their capital structure. Being a former entrepreneur himself (He founded a small start-up in 2014), Roderik shifted his focus to advising venture stage companies in 2017. Roderik currently focuses on helping start-ups and scale-ups with raising capital, using Rabobank’s extensive network of financial and strategic investors. He has a passion for endurance sports; when not talking to investors or innovative companies, he is probably swimming, cycling or running somewhere around New York City.
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.
Printpack is a leading manufacturer of flexible and specialty rigid packaging that combines unique insights on consumer preference with advanced technological capabilities in order convert packaging concepts into reality. Printpack has over 60 years of experience helping brands improve retail visibility, heighten brand awareness and capture market share. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Printpack is a privately held company. Printpack employs over 3,200 associates worldwide and operates 19 manufacturing facilities in the United States, Mexico and China. To learn more, please call (404) 460-7000 or visit printpack.com.
Land O Lakes
Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN™, the newest business unit under Land O'Lakes Inc, works to support a healthier planet with improvements in air, soil and water quality; strong rural and farm economies with more money in the pockets of farmers; and more connected relationships between consumers and those who work hard to feed them.
Polsinelli is an Am Law 100 firm with more than 85 attorneys in 22 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.
FoodSpace® is a foodservice consultancy based in the heart of Silicon Valley. They specialize in facility design, operational management, program and project management and innovations in foodservice. FoodSpace® is your partner in building sustainable food programs, foodservice businesses and food technology.
JBS USA is a leading global provider of diversified, high-quality food products, including a portfolio of well-recognized brands and innovative, easy-to-use food solutions. We process, prepare, package and deliver fresh and value-added premium meat, poultry and retail-ready food products for customers in approximately 100 countries on six continents. Our exclusive global production and distribution platform covering five continents allows the company to service nearly every consumer market in the world and provide more than 270 million 4 oz. servings of protein to families every day.
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.
Creative Alignments helps quickly growing companies build their teams for success, using a very different approach to recruiting. With our Time-Based Recruiting® model, you only pay for the time it takes to find great talent, rather than having to pay a 20-30% commission for each hire, like traditional recruiters. Our experienced recruiters work as a flexible, collaborative extension of your team, on demand. We are your recruiting partner, motivated by your goals and needs, not by commissions.
Founded in 1938 in Québec (Canada), Agropur dairy cooperative is joining the FoodBytes! family in 2018, bringing 80 years of dairy sector leadership and expertise. Agropur, which is the largest dairy-processing cooperative in North America and ranked among the Top 20 Global Dairy in the world, never stops innovating and sees innovation as a guiding principle within the organization. With its accelerator INNO ACCEL, Agropur seeks to reinvent dairy together with the bests startups! Better Dairy. Better World.
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.
Germin8 Ventures is a multi-stage, strategically-oriented venture capital firm investing in disruptive FoodTech & AgTech companies across the value chain, in various stages, globally. We’re a group of like-minded industry veterans providing investment, strategic resources and a hands-on approach to back exceptional founders improving the global food system through transformative technologies and solutions.
DLL is a global vendor finance company with more than EUR 30 billion in assets. Founded in 1969 and headquartered in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, DLL provides asset-based financial solutions in the Agriculture, Food, Healthcare, Clean Technology, Construction, Transportation, Industrial, Office Equipment and Technology industries. DLL partners with equipment manufacturers, dealers and distributors in more than 30 countries to support their distribution channels and help grow their businesses. DLL combines customer focus with deep industry knowledge to deliver sustainable solutions for the complete asset life cycle, including commercial finance, retail finance and used equipment finance. DLL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rabobank Group.
The Food Foundry is a Chicago-based accelerator program by Relish Works. We work in partnership with Gordon Food Service and 1871 to support, connect, and propel innovative startups who are reimagining the food industry.
Anterra is a specialist venture capital investor dedicated to financing the growth of companies operating in the food & agricultural sectors. They invest across the food supply chain in technology driven companies.
Rabo Frontier Ventures
Founded in 2017, Rabo Frontier Ventures (RFV) is the €150M venture capital arm of Rabobank. It’s mission is to generate strategic and financial value for Rabobank.
RFV is investing in growth stage Fintech (e.g. we.trade, komgo) and Agtech (e.g. ProducePay, Agrostar) and is specifically looking at ventures in the space of Financial Cruise Control, Data4Food, Platform Banking and Emerging Technologies. RFV adds value by providing access to our knowledge & networking and scaling capabilities for ambitious entrepreneurs.
Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network
Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network is a trade association and non-profit founded with the mission of driving inclusive economic growth in Chicagoland by bringing together the region’s food and beverage industry to explore and leverage collaborative opportunities. CFBN acts as a platform to bring industry players together to collaborate, connect, and build.
FamilyFarmed is a Chicago-based nonprofit building a better food system by facilitating connections across the Good Food business spectrum. FamilyFarmed has created cutting-edge programs that include the Good Food EXPO, Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference, Good Food Accelerator, Farmer Training, Market Development, and Good Food Is Good Medicine, culminating in the May 2019 launch of its boldest initiative yet: Naturally Chicago — co-founded by KeHE Distributors, Presence Marketing and SPINS, and affiliated with Naturally Network in Boulder, Colorado.
The Movitz Group
The Movitz Group helps early stage food, beverage and whole body brands raise capital & build revenue, and was founded on a mission to help facilitate the transformation of the food system. The Movitz Group are natural product industry experts with decades of experience in their traditional functional areas of natural product operating models & business strategy, product positioning & brand strategy, consumer & shopper strategy, commerce strategy, data analytics, strategic finance & operations, and corporate social responsibility.
Step Two Advisors
Step Two Advisors is an advisory firm specialized in CPG early stage startups. Understanding that most companies are in need of the same things but cannot necessarily afford 3 full time C level hires, I started a business to help them avoid errors and grow their business and distribution in the best disposition possible. I can also work on due diligence for CPG corporations, venture capital and share deal flow.
Republic is an investment platform for private companies to raise capital and for everyone to invest in private companies. After JOBS Act regulations were enacted in 2016, AngelList alumni spun out to launch Republic with a mission to democratize access to capital and access to angel investing.
ReFED is a multi-stakeholder nonprofit, powered by an influential network of the nation’s leading business, nonprofit, foundation, and government leaders committed to reducing U.S. food waste. ReFED takes a data-driven approach to move the food system from acting on instinct to insights to solve our national food waste problem.
Thought for Food
Thought For Food (TFF) engages and empowers next generation innovators to help feed 9+ billion people by 2050. We inspire and train youth to think critically about the big issues facing their future and to take action by launching new startups and social enterprises.
The Sustainable Local Food Investment Group (SLoFIG) is a network of accredited angel investors who share the mission of using private investment to re-establish a robust, vibrant local food system across the Chicago foodshed. We identify promising start-up and early stage companies, providing capital, expertise and contacts to help drive their success.
The entrepreneurs behind Parsnip are on a mission to connect all the better-for-you brands to partnership marketing opportunities. They’ve already built a network of 500 brands that find one another on Parsnip to work collaboratively on things like giveaways, newsletter exchanges, guest posts, in-store demos, gift baskets, or product placement at events like Summit LA and the NPR How I Built This with Guy Raz Summit. It's free to join and use!
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.
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.
1871 is Chicago’s entrepreneurial hub for digital startups. We are a collaborative space where Chicago’s digital designers, engineers and entrepreneurs build their startups, share ideas, and change the world. Located in the famed Merchandise Mart, the 75,000-square-foot facility provides Chicago startups with programming, access to mentors, educational resources, potential investors and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs that help them on their path to building successful businesses. 1871 is the flagship project of the CEC.
The Chobani Food Incubator is a program for companies taking on broken food systems to bring better food to more people. In addition to investment, we give growing food and beverage companies access to our network and expertise in order to scale up their operations and achieve significant growth
Food Navigator USA
William Reed’s FoodNavigator brand has been the leading online news source for the food industry for almost 20 years, leveraging our digital-first position to bring powerful insights and robust information to help your business succeed. FoodNavigator-USA provides a 360-degree view of the food and beverage market, spanning everything from investment, incubation and innovation, to ingredients, food science and product formulation, labelling, litigation, regulation, consumer trends, new products and new technology.
AgFunderNews is an industry news site at the intersection of food & agriculture, technology and investment.
The site publishes daily, original news on the food and agriculture technology (“agrifood tech”) industry, including the latest funding news and analysis of trends in the sector. A hub of information for the growing startup and investment community in agrifood tech, the site also features guest commentaries and Q&As with industry experts.
AgFunderNews is affiliated with AgFunder, an online Venture Capital Platform investing in leading agrifood technology companies.