SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Food & Beverage Development - North AmericaEU edition | APAC edition

News > Suppliers

Read more breaking news

 

 

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: What does it take to win a pitch slam?

Post a comment

By Elizabeth Crawford

04-Aug-2017
Last updated on 11-Aug-2017 at 15:52 GMT2017-08-11T15:52:43Z

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: What does it take to win a pitch slam?
Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: What does it take to win a pitch slam?
Loading the player...

For time-strapped entrepreneurs who are brave enough to take the stage, competing in pitch-slams is a good way to secure funding, meet potential business partners and weave a network of supporters who can help shine a spotlight on them without investing excessive time they don’t have to spare.

Rabobank North America Wholesale’s FoodBytes! and Food Vision USA’s TrailBlazers are two such competitions that can connect entrepreneurs with other industry players to help them elevate their business to the next level and provide the exposure necessary to make it in the competitive food and business industry.

FoodBytes! creator Manuel Gonzales told FoodNavigator-USA after the first FoodBytes! event last year , the event is about entrepreneurs who are willing to take risks and develop ideas in the food, beverage and tech space that go beyond simply selling a product to offer a solution to a problem or fill a consumer need. 

As such, Gonzales said, FoodBytes! is unique in that it really focuses on the entrepreneurs more than celebrity judges, futurists or companies that have already made it big. He added, everyone who is there who is not an entrepreneur is there to listen and try to help.

But gaining access to this elite group and the help they offer isn’t easy. At the most recent FoodBytes! event in New York City earlier this summer 120 startups from around the world applied – and only 20 were selected to pitch and compete for one of three awards – the Judges’ Choice, People’s Choice and Highly Commended.

To find out what it takes to make the cut and then the pitch, this episode of FoodNavigator-USA’s Soup-To-Nuts podcast features the Judge’s Choice winner from the New York City FoodBytes! event – Bruce Rasa, who is the CEO of AgVoice. He described what the event was like, what motivated him to compete and shared advice for other entrepreneurs considering pitch slams.

“The New York City event was pretty fascinating. It was, I think, about 400 people. It was standing room only” and included representatives from a “fascinating array of innovations” who were able to gain visibility and connect with others in the audience, Rasa said.

Like others at the event, Rasa says he was driven to apply for FoodBytes! primarily for the networking opportunity it provides, and secondarily for a chance to meet potential investors.

“We wanted to meet with other innovators in the food category that wanted to do things in a new and better way. We found that absolutely in spades” at the FoodBytes! event, he said. “It was a great event and Rabobank’s team and their partners really have pulled together a magnificent eco-system there to basically have an international coalition, for lack of a better term, for people to meet” and explore ways to make food and agriculture better.

For its part, what AgVoice does better than other voice-activated data collection and analysis tools – and why it won the coveted Judge’s Choice award – is help food and agriculture professionals gather highly technical data about their products’ using only their voices, but without compromising language specificity.

Rasa explained that off-the-shelf voice services like Siri and Alexa won’t work for many experts in food and ag because they simply don’t recognize the words that they use. To steal an example from the medical world, an over-the-counter technology would recognize a search for heart attack, but maybe not for infarction.

“So, there has been this open opportunity for someone to create a specialized lexicon to address this industry,” and provide it in a way that leaves experts’ hands free so they can do their jobs effectively, he said.

“Part of the reason that matters [is] … some of these people are out in the sun, enormous field and they have their gloves on, they have a full size iPad and a paper checklist in their hands. The problem is these are experts and they actually really need both their hands free to inspect the plant and to look at the weeds, diseases or insects to recommend better decisions immediately to grow a better crop,” he said.

Currently, AgVoice’s services are focused on creating customized dictionaries for different industries and groups, such as the Dairy Farmers of America. But, eventually, Rasa says the company will offer subscription services to access those databases.

What it takes to win

Obviously, AgVoice is providing a solution to an unmet need per Rabobank’s requirement for FoodBytes! but so were a lot of the pitch slam competitors, which included Nom Noms World Food, Real Oyster Cult, Victory Hemp Foods and others.

So what else made AgVoice standout to the judges? Well, Rasa says, a lot of the magic is in the actual presentation and driving home how a product provides a solution to an unmet, real world challenge.

“A lesson that we learned … was to keep the presentation extremely short, extremely visual and make sure that the narrative is what people follow. Not try to solve for everything and throw all the data on the slides itself,” he said.

He also recommends real world examples that are easy for the audience to relate to.

As a winner of the FoodBytes! competition, AgVoice will receive $2,500 of PR and brand storytelling counsel from Fresh Ideas Group, branding consultation from Nucleus Maximus, legal consultation with Holland & Hart and a tour of Hain Celestial Group’s headquarters for a behind-the-scenes lunch and learn.

But what Rasa said he was most excited about as a winner was the chance to pitch his company again on Wall Street later this year at Rabobank’s exclusive annual meeting and the chance to work with ADM.

Apply now

If all this sounds like something you are interested in, you still have time to apply for the next FoodBytes! event , which will be in Austin, Texas, Sept. 26. Rabobank will accept applications through this Sunday Aug. 6.

While you are at it, apply to FoodNavigator-USA’s TrailBlazer challenge, which will take place at our three-day conference Food Vision USA in Chicago Nov.13-15. The deadline for the TrailBlazer competition also is coming up fast with your stories due by Aug. 7. Apply to be a trail blazer here.

Post a comment

Comment title *
Your comment *
Your name *
Your email *

We will not publish your email on the site

I agree to Terms and Conditions

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.

Related products

Soup-to-Nuts podcast: The return of consumers to home kitchens

Soup-to-Nuts podcast: The opportunities & challenges of consumers' return to home kitchens

Despite continued pressure from the on-the-go lifestyles that dominate today’s culture and have fueled...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Key strategies for innovation from Kraft Heinz

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Key strategies for innovation & renovation from Kraft Heinz

A commonly held perception of the ongoing renaissance in the food and beverage industry...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: What does it take to win a pitch slam?

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: What does it take to win a pitch slam?

For time-strapped entrepreneurs who are brave enough to take the stage, competing in pitch-slams...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Can duck be a dark horse of animal proteins?

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Can duck become the dark horse of animal proteins?

When it comes to eating meat in the US, chicken, without a doubt, is...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: The business case for kosher certification

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: The business case for kosher certification

Ethical claims on food and beverages sold in the US are almost as ubiquitous...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Hemp is overcoming hurdles to become superfood

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: How hemp is overcoming hurdles to become the next superfood star

Nutrition-packed, environmentally sustainable and already notoriously well-known – although partly for the wrong reasons...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Seeds emerge as superfood powerhouse

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Nutrient-dense seeds emerge as superfood powerhouse

Nuts and seeds in the US are finally reaching superfood status, thanks in part...

Soup-To-Nuts podcast: 3 trends driving growth in bottled water

Soup-To-Nuts podcast: Three trends driving growth in the bottled water category

After years of steady growth in the high single-digits, consumption of water in the...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: grain-free vs ancient grain trends

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Gluten free movement spawns divergent grain-free vs ancient grain trends

As the tenacious gluten-free trend continues to grow and mature into a market behemoth...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Agency enforcement and litigation targets

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: FDA & FTC move forward with enforcement even with some regulations in limbo

New regulations and draft guidances may be on hold at many federal agencies until...

As soda sales fall, kombucha rises

As soda sales fall, kombucha rises

Tumbling soda sales have opened the door to the mainstream market for a variety...

Bonafide Provisions expands bone broth's appeal with Drinkable Veggies

Bonafide Provisions expands the reach and appeal of bone broth with Drinkable Veggies

As recently as two years ago, bone broth was virtually unheard of by the...

Defining dietary fiber at the 2017 IFT show

VIDEO: Should we define dietary fiber on the basis of what it is or what it does?

Which ingredients should be classified as dietary fibers and why? Elaine Watson caught up...

Sugar Reduction: What’s next? At IFT, companies weigh in

How will added sugar labeling change the market? At IFT, companies weigh in

The controversial requirement to list added sugar on the nutrition facts panel has divided...

Corbion's trans fat-free emulsifiers allow manufacturers to 're-engineer' cakes

Corbion's trans fat-free emulsifiers allow manufacturers to 're-engineer' cakes

"The conversion away from partially hydrogenated oils is really an opportunity to re-engineer cakes...

Cargill R&D VP talks ‘processed’ food, EverSweet, at IFT 2017

VIDEO: Cargill R&D VP talks ‘processed’ food: ‘All food is made of chemicals’

To many consumers, ‘processed food’ is just another term for ‘junk food.’ It’s hard...

Entomo Farms talks edible insects at IFT 2017

Entomo Farms: 'We’re one of the most recognized [edible insect] brands across the world now'

Canadian bug powder supplier Entomo Farms is still doing most of its business with...

Clean meat labeling and regulation in focus at IFT 2017

VIDEO: Will we need a new regulatory framework for clean (cultured) meat?

Producing ‘clean’ meat by culturing cells – instead of raising or slaughtering animals -...

IFT 2017 green banana flour in focus

VIDEO: ‘Green banana flour has the functionality of a starch and the label of a fruit…’

One product that generated quite a buzz at the IFT show this year was...

Retail competition heats up as consumers seek more ethnic products

Competition among retailers heats up as consumers seek more diverse, ethnic products

Consumer demand for products that are authentic and ethnic is not only prompting brand...

Key Industry Events

Promotional Features

Content Provided by Fonterra

Way forward with whey protein