We are elated to announce our rockstar lineup of judges for FoodBytes! San Francisco on March 16. Specializing in food investment, product innovation, retail buying and more, and captained by Rabobank’s Head of StartUp Innovation, Manuel Gonzalez, our esteemed panel brings diverse expertise to the FoodBytes! table.
Our FoodBytes! San Francisco judges are:
Elly Truesdell – Global Coordinator Local Brands, Product Innovation & Development, Whole Foods Market
Scott May – Vice President of Innovation, Givaudan
Diana Gonzalez – Investor Relations Officer and Strategic Planning Manager, GAM
Chuck Templeton – Managing Director, S2G Ventures
Micki Seibel – Head of Sustainable Food Systems, Orange Silicon Valley
Robyn O’Brien – Founder at Do Good & AllergyKids Foundation
Judges’ Team Captain: Manuel Gonzalez, Managing Director, North America Head of Start-Up Innovation, Rabobank
10 food, food tech and agtech companies will give a 3.5-minute pitch and 10 companies will give a 60-second pitch to the judges and the 300+ attendees. The judges will present the Judges’ Choice Award to the company that has the most scalable business model, the most innovative product, demonstrated traction and a game-changing social impact mission. Learn more about the criteria here. They will also present the Highly Commended Award to the 60-second company that has the most potential to excel at the criteria above.
Check out our judges’ bios below to learn more about their ground-breaking work. Want to attend and meet our rockstar judges? Snag your ticket for 20% off with the code FOODBYTES here. Interested in pitching for FoodBytes! Europe, NYC or Austin? Apply here.
Elly Truesdell, Global Coordinator Local Brands, Product Innovation & Development, Whole Foods Market
As Global Coordinator of Local Brands, Product Innovation & Development, Elly Truesdell leads strategic partnerships for local purchasing programs across the company. Truesdell offers expertise in brand development, food trends and product innovation, grown from eight years of leadership in purchasing and marketing at Whole Foods Market’s Northeast Region. Truesdell made her mark by identifying and launching local products across categories, overseeing the Northeast’s grocery program and cultivating emerging suppliers for national distribution. Just after earning a degree in media studies from the University of Virginia, Truesdell worked and trained on an organic vegetable farm and with food justice organizations, which solidified her interest in the food industry. When she’s not discovering new brands, she spends her time cooking, traveling, hiking, and enjoying life with friends and family.
Scott May, Vice President of Innovation, Givaudan
Cross Functional Leader of Innovation and Strategy in the food and beverage industry with 30 years experience. Currently the VP of Innovation for Givaudan, the largest flavor and fragrance company in the world, where Scott leverages his passion to explore new opportunities, making innovation a way of life and corporate success. Being a consummate futurist, combined with the strong ability to execute, enables Scott to create new ways of thinking, doing and being…. from product creation, to strategic partnerships, to new business models, culminating in the delivery of breakthrough change and results.
Diana Gonzalez, Investor Relations Officer & Strategic Planning Manager, GAM
Diana Gonzalez has been Investor Relations Officer and Strategic Planning Manager since August 2013 at Cultiba, a holding company headquartered in Mexico City, with key assets in the sugar and soft drinks industries (GAM and GEPP companies respectively).
Prior to working at Cultiba, Diana was a strategic management consultant for 9 years at Booz&Company, formerly Booz Allen Hamilton. During her years as consultant Diana focused on the CPG and Financial Services industries, doing projects in M&A, Growth Strategy, Go To Market, and Retail Marketing.
Diana has a Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in Industrial Engineering from Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico City, Mex) and a Master’s in Business Administration from Harvard Business School (Boston, MA USA).
Chuck Templeton, Managing Director, S2G Ventures
Chuck Templeton is a long-time entrepreneur and has always had a deep passion for helping early-stage and emerging companies across many different verticals. Inspired by the promise of building a better future for his daughters, he has focused on using business innovations to find solutions to the most urgent environmental and societal problems facing mankind today.
Chuck joined S2G Ventures because of a deep-rooted belief that it holds a unique opportunity to help reimagine the broken food system, while also mitigating climate change and adapting its changes ahead. He focuses his work there on supporting portfolio companies with expertise in operations, along with his prior experience as a highly successful entrepreneur. As a long-distance runner and former Army Ranger, Chuck has is well-versed about the importance of healthy, nutritious food for human performance. And as a father and a citizen, he has made it his life’s mission to help democratize food so that everyone has equal access to the nutrition they need to reach their physical and mental potential in life.
Chuck has been a founder, adviser, investor, and/or a director to over 40 companies, including being the founder and former CEO of OpenTable, (NASDAQ:OPEN), the founding Chairman of GrubHub NYSE (GRUB), and advisor and mentor to Braintree Payment Systems and Cleversafe, and as acting Chairman of Impact Engine, a venture accelerator and seed fund focused on businesses that help address social and environmental issues as part of their core business model. But what he counts most important above all of these, is his role as husband and father to his amazing wife and two incredible little girls.
Micki Seibel, Head of Sustainable Food Systems, Orange Silicon Valley
Micki Seibel is a 20-year product and user experience veteran in the Silicon Valley. She started her career at Intel and Netscape, later as head of product for the buyer experience at eBay. As a startup entrepreneur, Micki was the head of product at 5 startup companies including MyNewPlace and Deliv. Micki leads the Sustainable Food Systems program at Orange Silicon Valley, the Silicon Valley presence of Orange (ORAN), of the world’s leading telecommunication operators. The Sustainable Food Systems program explores how technology will revolutionize the food system. Recent publications include, Growing Smarter: Connecting Ag and Tech, Bringing Digital Intelligence to Indoor Farming, and Paths to Traceability.
Robyn O’Brien, 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.
Manuel Gonzalez, North America Head of Start-Up Innovation, Rabobank
Manuel Gonzalez is the North America Head of Start-Up Innovation at Rabobank. Formerly, he was Managing Director of the Rabobank North America Wholesale San Francisco office, and Head of the Western Region Corporate Clients for Rabobank North America Wholesale, prior to which he was the Country Head of Rabobank Mexico for four years. In 2015, Manuel created FoodBytes!, underscoring Rabobank’s mission of banking for food, which continues to search for new ways to increase impact in the Food and Agri 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.