2018 – Driving Innovation in Chicago’s Booming Good Food Landscape

Once Upon a Farm-Photo by Brian Bowen Smith

2018 Program Featured Good Food Industry Stars

John Foraker, Keynote Speaker
John was the longtime CEO of Annie’s Homegrown, which sold to General Mills for $820 million in 2014. He is now Co-Founder and CEO of organic baby food startup Once Upon a Farm; actress Jennifer Garner is the company’s Chief Brand Officer.

Carlotta Mast
Carlotta Mast, New Hope Network’s Senior Vice President of Content and Insights, then joined John Foraker in an engaging Fireside Chat. New Hope produces the annual Natural Products EXPO events (West and East) and other industry-leading programming.

Entrepreneurs, investors and stakeholders gain industry insights through thought-provoking Industry Leadership Panel Discussions and may participate in the dynamic Financing Fair, Pitch Competition and Networking Reception.

2018 Good Food Pitch Slam and Financing Fair

Entrepreneurs got their game on at the 2018 Financing & Innovation Conference and pitched on stage to potential investors, funders, buyers and thought leaders. Selected entrants competed for cash prizes and in-kind services at the Good Food Pitch Slam, with the Grand Prize going to Mark Muller of ready to BRANDS — a graduate of FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Accelerator.

Funders, lenders, investment groups, service providers and entrepreneurs learned anew that the Conference’s annual Good Food Financing Fair has a dynamic format that can be a catalyst to spark new relationships, and that the informal environment fosters interaction, networking and exchange of strategies and ideas. Applications to apply to participate in the 2019 Financing Fair will be posted soon.

Meet our Good Food Pitch Slam Contestants!

Meet our Financing Fair Participants!

2018 Financing & Innovation Conference Schedule

8:30 a.m. – Registration with Coffee and Pastries
Coffee is generously provided by Big Shoulders Coffee, whose Fresh Roasted, No-nonsense Artisan Coffees are available at five Chicago locations, online or for wholesale purchase. Pastries are generously provided by Flur, producer of delicious and delightful gluten-free baked goods… and a graduate of FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Accelerator! Bagel bites with fresh veggie spreads generously provided by Here, producer of salad dressings, dips and other value-added products emphasizing locally grown produce…also a graduate of the Good Food Accelerator.

9 a.m. – Setting the Stage
Leaders discuss the intersection of entrepreneurship and innovation in Chicago.

9:20 a.m. -John Foraker Keynote Speech
John Foraker was the longtime CEO of Annie’s Homegrown, which sold to General Mills for $820 million in 2014. He is now co-founder and CEO of organic baby food startup Once Upon a Farm; actress Jennifer Garner is the company’s chief brand officer.

9:45 a.m. – Fireside Chat
Carlotta Mast, New Hope Network’s Senior Vice President of Content and Insights, will join John Foraker in an engaging Fireside Chat. New Hope produces the annual Natural Products EXPO events (West and East) and other industry-leading programming, and publishes Good Food Insights in partnership with FamilyFarmed.

10:05 a.m. – Breakthrough Entrepreneurs Talk Innovation
Five entrepreneurial leaders identify their definition of innovation, and share how they apply this thought process to developing their business models, products and services.

11:10 a.m. – Big Food + Good Food: Building Strategic Partnerships
Investors share insights on why Good Food is good for the planet, good for people and good for business.

11:50 a.m. – Good Food is a Good Deal: Investor Insights
Investors share insights on why Good Food is good for the planet, good for people and good for business.

12:30 p.m. – Networking Lunch with Farmer’s Fridge
Lunch is generously provided by Farmer’s Fridge, a popular Chicago company that got a boost from its participation in an earlier Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference. Farmer’s Fridge sells delicious, super-fresh salads in recyclable jars from customized vending machines.

12:45 p.m. – Breakout Lunch Session: The Retail Food Buyer’s Perspective, 
Entrepreneurs: Learn the top 5 practices buyers are looking for in your pitch meeting, from Patrick Nycz, Founding President, NewPoint Marketing who specializes in emerging brands.

1:30 p.m. – Good Food Pitch Slam 
The Pitch Slam — a first-ever business pitch competition at the Financing & Innovation Conference — will showcase up-and-coming local stars and provide stakeholders a first look at the latest drivers in the Midwest’s Good Food Business sector.

3:00 p.m. – Chicago + Boulder: Advancing the Impact of Good Food 
CEOs of leading companies in the Good Food industry discuss the growing opportunities for Chicago to elevate its role in national leadership. Moderated by Carlotta Mast, board president of Naturally Boulder and senior vice president for content and insight for New Hope Network.

3:35 p.m. – Good Food Accelerator Showcase and Pitch Slam Award Presentation
Get a first look at the great product offerings from our most recent Good Food Accelerator (GFA) graduates, and hear a progress report from select alumni you know and love during our GFA Showcase. Then stay tuned for the moment you’ve been waiting for — as we announce the winners of our Good Food Pitch Slam! The Audience Choice Award will be presented, and our Judges’ Choice will receive their award along with insights from the industry-expert judges.

4:30 p.m. – Financing Fair 
Put Yourself In Front Of The Money at the Financing Fair — the longtime heart of the Financing & Innovation Conference! Entrepreneurs gain visibility and interact with prospective investors, funders, fellow entrepreneurs, service providers and other stakeholders. Funders, lenders, investment groups and service providers get a close-up look at Chicago’s hottest new brands.

5:00 p.m. – Networking Reception; Financing Fair Continues
Celebrate and solidify relationships while sharing craft food and beverages!

2018 Presenters

Brandon Barnholt

President and CEO, KeHE Distributors

Andrew Bluestein

Managing Partner, Bluestein & Associates

Jean-Pierre Comte

President Region Americas, Barilla Group

Linda Darragh

Executive Director, Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice, Kellogg School of Management

Dave Donnan

Senior Partner and Head of Global Food and Beverage Team, A. T. Kearney

Sergio Eleuterio

General Manager, Springboard Brands at The Kraft Heinz Company

Charlotte Flinn

President, Flinn Consultants

John Foraker

Co-Founder and CEO, Once Upon a Farm; former CEO, Annie

Megan Klein

President & Co-Founder, Here

Carlotta Mast

Senior Vice President of Content and Insights, New Hope Network; Board President, Naturally Boulder

Marianne Markowitz

Managing Director, CIBC Bank USA; former Regional Director, U.S. Small Business Administration; CFO, Obama for America 2008

Patrick Nycz

Founding President, NewPoint

Tony Olson

Owner and CEO, SPINS

Glenn Pappalardo

Vice President International, RXBAR (at Kellogg Company)

Shelby Parchman

Managing Partner at InUrban Strategies, LLC; Growth & Advancement Strategist, Good Food Accelerator

Jim Parsell

Director Of Business Development, OwlTing USA Blockchain Platform

Lauren Rosenthal

Co-Founder and Executive Committee Member, SLoFIG (Sustainable Local Food Investment Group)

Luke Saunders

Founder and CEO, Farmer’s Fridge

Reese Schroeder

Managing Director at Tyson Ventures

Jim Slama

Founder and CEO, FamilyFarmed and Good Food Accelerator

Katlin Smith

Founder and CEO, Simple Mills

Chuck Templeton

Managing Director, Seed 2 Growth (S2G) Ventures; founder, Open Table; former Chairman, GrubHub

Mark Thomman

Co-Founder, Spiral Sun Ventures

Joel Warady

General Manager, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Enjoy Life Foods (at Mondelez International)

Bill Weiland

Owner, Presence Marketing, Inc.

Andrew Whitman

Managing Partner, 2X Consumer Products Growth Partners

Peter Wilkins

Managing Director, Hyde Park Angels

Elizabeth “Betsy” Ziegler

CEO, 1871

2018 Good Food Pitch Slam Judges

Tera Johnson

Founder and Director of Food Finance Institute and Founder of teraswhey™

Michael Lavin

Founder & Managing Partner, Germin8 Ventures

Jessica Martin

Director of Client Relations & Portfolio Management, C.A. Fortune

Cristina Rohr

Vice President, Seed 2 Growth (S2G) Ventures

Alya Adamany Woods

Executive Director, ChicagoNEXT

2018 Conference Presented by Presence Marketing

2018 Good Food Pitch Slam Judges

2018 Pitch Slam Prize Supporters

Our 2018 Media & Promotional Supporters

Our 2018 Good Food & Beverage Partners