2019 Financing & Innovation Conference Schedule Preview


Esca Bona Service Project at the Greater Chicago Food Depository

Esca Bona — New Hope Network’s thought leadership program and Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference sponsor — is producing a service project at the Greater Chicago Food Depository the day before the Conference. Volunteer for a food repacking event with other Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference attendees, and supporters such as KeHE, The Soulfull Project and B-Local Illinois!


8:00 a.m. – Registration with Coffee and Pastries

Enjoy delicious breakfast treats from two Good Food Accelerator graduates: Field + Farmer will provide juices and bagels topped with their pink dip — with its emphasis on locally and sustainably produced ingredients — and avocado. Within Without will provide a parfait bar (that will include Within Without granola, yogurt and fruit). Limitless Coffee, a Chicago-based company, will provide refreshments.

8:30 a.m. – Chicago: A National Leader in the Natural Products Industry

Jim Slama — FamilyFarmed CEO/Founder and Co-Founder of Naturally Chicago — will welcome attendees and provide a concise overview of the landscape of the fast-growing Good Food and Natural Products Industry in the Chicago region. He will be joined by Chicago based industry leaders, including Kurt Seidensticker, founder and CEO of Vital Proteins, one of the fastest growing companies in the Natural Product Industry.

● Kurt Seidensticker, Founder and CEO, Vital Proteins

● Jim Slama, Founder and CEO, FamilyFarmed & Good Food Accelerator; Co-Founder, Naturally Chicago

● Katlin Smith, Founder and CEO, Simple Mills

9:00 a.m. – Keynote Speaker Seth Goldman

Seth Goldman is Executive Chair of Beyond Meat, whose plant-based burgers, sausages and other meat alternatives are transforming how people eat. Beyond Meat had a hugely successful IPO this spring, and its current valuation is over $11 billion. Goldman also is Founder/TeaEO Emeritus of Honest Tea, which he sold to Coca Cola.

● Seth Goldman, Executive Chair, Beyond Meat; Founder and Former TeaEO, Honest Tea

9:30 a.m. – Investor Insights: Beyond Meat

Seth Goldman will be joined by a panel of early Beyond Meat investors, including Seed to Growth (S2G) Ventures and Cavu Venture Partners — leaders in the Good Food investment sector. Carlotta Mast, Market Leader for New Hope Network and Senior Vice President of Content and Insights and its parent company Informa, will moderate the panel,
 which will focus on how venture capital partners helped the company scale up.

● Seth Goldman, Executive Chair, Beyond Meat; Founder and Former TeaEO, Honest Tea

● Carlotta Mast, Market Leader, New Hope Network; Senior Vice President of Content and Insights, Informa (moderator)

● Cristina Rohr, Vice President, Seed 2 Growth (S2G) Ventures

Pete Speranza, Business Development Principal, General Mills’ 301 INC

10:10 a.m. – Esca Bona Service Project: Making an Impact

Esca Bona, the thought leadership program of New Hope Network, will talk about the values of giving back and share details on service project they led at Chicago Greater Food Depository the day prior.

10:20 a.m. – Break

10:35 a.m. – Big Food + Good Food: Building Strategic Partnerships

Many Big Food companies have developed strong innovation platforms to address consumer preferences for clean label and functional foods. We’ll hear from Brigette Wolf, Mondelez International’s Head of SnackFutures, and Evan Hyman, Ingredion’s Director of Emerging Business at. The panel will be moderated by Andrew Henkel, Senior Vice President of Brand Growth Solutions at SPINS.

● Andrew Henkel, Senior Vice President of Brand Growth Solutions, SPINS (moderator)

● Evan Hyman, Director of Emerging Business, Ingredion Incorporated

Brigette Wolf, Head of SnackFutures Innovation, Mondelez International

11:15 a.m.  – Breakthrough Entrepreneurs Talk Innovation: Lessons Learned

This segment features a series of short talks by entrepreneurs who have steered their companies to robust growth. Dave Donnan, who will moderate this session, is Partner Emeritus and longtime Global Food & Beverage Lead for A.T. Kearney, and is a Board member for both FamilyFarmed and Naturally Chicago.

● Dave Donnan, Partner Emeritus and longtime Global Food & Beverage Lead, A.T. Kearney (moderator)

● Stephanie Morimoto, Owner and CEO, Asutra 

● Rahul Pasarnikar, Director of Business Development, Chicago CRED

11:45 a.m. – Fireside Chat with Kimbal Musk and Dave Donnan

Dave Donnan will segue from the previous segment to hold an insightful chat with Kimbal Musk, the Co-Founder/Chairman of the local- and sustainable-focused Kitchen Restaurant Group. Big Green, his non-profit organization, builds outdoor Learning Garden classrooms in hundreds of underserved schools across America. Square Roots is his tech-enabled urban farming company that grows hyperlocal real food year-round.

● Dave Donnan, Partner Emeritus and longtime Global Food & Beverage Lead, A.T. Kearney

●  Kimbal Musk, Co-Founder and Chairman, The Kitchen Restaurant Group, Big Green and Square Roots

12:30 p.m. – Networking Lunch with Farmer’s Fridge

Farmer’s Fridge and its innovative fresh-food vending machines dispense delicious salads, sandwiches and bowls made from sustainably produced ingredients. Founded just six years ago by Luke Saunders — now a Board member of both FamilyFarmed and Naturally Chicago — Farmer’s Fridge has enjoyed rapid growth fueled by an app-driven information system that earned the company a 2018 Chicago Innovation Award. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt led Farmer’s Fridge’s $30 million investment round in 2018.

● Luke Saunders, Founder and CEO, Farmer’s Fridge

12:45 p.m. – Breakout Lunch Session: TBD 

1:30 p.m. – Good Food Pitch Slam Presented by the Good Food Accelerator and Naturally Chicago

The Pitch Slam showcases up-and-coming emerging brands and provides stakeholders a first look at the latest drivers in the Good Food Business sector. Winners will receive cash and in-kind prize packages, including a complimentary booth at Natural Products Expo East 2020 and the opportunity to pitch at Expo East’s Pitch Slam! Entrepreneurs: Apply to pitch here!

This segment is presented by Good Food Accelerator@1871, one of the nation’s oldest and most successful training programs for early-stage entrepreneurs in the Natural Products Industry, and Naturally Chicago, a program officially launched in May and co-founded by FamilyFarmed, KeHE, Presence Marketing and SPINS, which is promoting greater networking and collaboration in the city’s Good Food and Natural Products Industry through weekly, monthly and quarterly events plus member recruitment and outreach.

3:00 p.m. – Good Food Accelerator Presents Naturally Chicago Presents Bankable Trends with Presence Marketing

Presence Marketing, founded in 1990, was a pioneer in brokering Good Food and natural product brands when the market was much smaller. Attendees will be wowed by the Bankable Trends talk by Tracy Miedema, Vice President of Innovation and Brand Development at Presence, today the nation’s leading natural product broker.  The presentation was developed by Bill Weiland, Presence CEO and founder, who has an inspiring record of trend-spotting in the industry for more than 30 years.

● Tracy Miedema, Vice President of Innovation and Brand Development, Presence Marketing

3:45 p.m. – Pitch Slam Awards Presentation

4:00 p.m. – Financing Fair 

The Financing Fair is 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. Entrepreneurs, Funders, and Service Providers: Apply to Exhibit here!

5:00 p.m. – VIP Sponsor and Speaker Cocktail Hour

Private lounge / cocktail hour for sponsors and speakers to network and solidify relationships while sharing craft beverages.

6:00 p.m. – Fundraiser Reception (Separate Ticket Required)

The proceeds from this reception will help expand the reach and impact of FamilyFarmed’s dynamic programs, including Naturally Chicago and the Good Food Accelerator. Food will be provided by leading Chicago chefs including Carolina Diaz of Terzo Piano and Charlie McKenna of Lillie’s Q.

The programmatic highlight of the evening will be a panel on Successful Exits. It will describe the experiences of founders of regional companies that have sold to larger entities. Panelists include Andrew Friedman, founder of SkinnyPop Popcorn; Tera Johnson, founder of Tera’s Whey; Matt Matros, founder of Protein Bar; and Scott Mandel, founder of Enjoy Life Foods.

●  Andrew Friedman, Managing Partner of Pin High Capital LLC; Founder of SkinnyPop Popcorn

● Tera Johnson, Director of Food Finance Institute; Founder of Wisconsin Specialty Protein/Tera’s Whey

● Scott Mandell, President of Cannibistry; Founder and former CEO of Enjoy Life Foods

● Matt Matros, Founder of Limitless Coffee; Founder and now Board Director of Protein Bar & Kitchen


2019 Conference Presented by Presence Marketing

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