Pitch Slam Volume 3: Your Brand Center Stage
Past Pitch Slam Judges
Founder, Revelry Brands & Bear Naked
Brendan Synnott is the Founder of Revelry Brands and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PACT | ORGANIC, makers of super soft organic cotton apparel. Synnott is leading his team to change the apparel industry for good. Synnott has built multiple lifestyle brands from scratch. His work has produced a unique signature across product categories that align with the millennial generation’s evolved relationship with consumption. In 2002, at the age of 23, Synnott co-founded the healthy snack company, Bear Naked that was later acquired by Kellogg. In 2009, he founded Revelry Brands as a vehicle to provide strategy, people and capital to new ventures including co-founding EVOL Foods. Currently, Revelry holdings include the pet care brand I and Love and You, candy brand Little Secrets as well as apparel brand PACT | ORGANIC. With a degree in economics from Vanderbilt University, Synnott has levied his strengths to not only follow his passions, but tap into his competitive and energetic nature, which has included a role with the talent department at Saturday Night Live and a stint as a cast member on CBS’s Survivor.
Director, Retail Brand Partnerships, Starbucks
Deb joined Starbucks 5 years ago, and for the past year has led the Retail Brand Partnerships team. She and her team run the snack category across North America and have the enviable task of finding new food brands for Starbucks stores that customers can feel good about—ones made with simple, pure ingredients and crafted with love and care. Prior to working with food entrepreneurs to build a snack business for Starbucks stores, Deb spent 12 years in traditional consumer packaged goods. At Starbucks she created the shopper marketing and shopper insights function from the ground up, and managed various coffee brands for the FDMC channel including Starbucks packaged coffee, Seattle’s Best, and VIA Instant coffee. At Kimberly-Clark she worked in various brand management and innovation roles. There she managed the creation of multi-brand marketing programs and the brand and shopper marketing efforts for the U by Kotex® launch, which won numerous awards including an IRI product Pacesetter, a Silver Effie for Shopper Marketing, and a Gold Hub Prize. Prior to Kimberly-Clark, Deb worked as a consultant with several leading retailers for Kurt Salmon. Deb has an undergraduate degree from Texas A&M and an MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University.
Co-Founder, Alliance Consumer Growth
Josh Goldin is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Alliance Consumer Growth (“ACG”), a growth equity fund which invests exclusively in high-growth, emerging consumer brands. An experienced investor and business builder, Josh has provided financing and advised entrepreneurs building game-changing consumer companies. He currently serves as either a board member or board observer of Shake Shack, BabyGanics, Kriser’s Pets and Lessing’s Hospitality. Prior to co-founding ACG, Josh led The Lessing Companies, a consumer-focused private investment group. Josh holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Wesleyan.
Founder/Co-CEO, Halen Brands
Jason Cohen, Founder/Co-CEO, co-founded Mamma Says, Inc. in 1999, a food manufacturing company that produced biscotti. He grew the business from concept to gaining distribution at retail giants such as Costco, BJ’s and Trader Joe’s. In a few years, the company was able to establish a national brand where sales volume doubled year-over- year. In 2005, the business was sold to NONNIS Inc., a portfolio brand of Windpoint Partners for 4x revenue. In 2005, Jason co-founded World Gourmet Marketing, creating better-for- you snacks under the flagship brand Sensible Portions, which included all-natural, low-calorie snacks such as Veggie Straws, Pita Bites and Multi Grain Crisps. Again, his strategic plan was to sell into large format retailers such as Costco first. He then moved on to vendors such as BJ’s, Wal-Mart, Sam’s, ShopRite, Safeway, SuperValu, etc. Under his management, the company achieved double-digit growth and became one of the fastest rising snack food industry purveyors. The company went from $4MM in sales in 2005 to just under $100MM in 2009. In 2010, World Gourmet (and the Sensible Portions brand) sold for $110MM to The Hain Celestial Group, one of the leading providers of organic and natural foods. While at Hain Celestial, Jason served as President of Club and Snack Division, and was responsible for executing the sales strategy for brands such as Terra, Garden of Eatin’ and Sensible Portions. In 2011, Jason founded Rickland Orchards, the first shelf stable Greek yogurt brand. In October 2013, after sales soared to $50 million in just 18 months, the company was sold for $57.5 million to B&G Foods, a public company. In 2013, Jason partnered with the founders of SkinnyPop. SkinnyPop successfully went public in 2015 for 1.4 billion in shareholder value. In 2014, Jason received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Excellence in Emerging category in the New Jersey region. In January 2015, Jason co-founded Halen Brands, Inc., which quickly funded Chef’s Cut Real Jerky in March 2015. Halen Brands then purchased Rex’s Outrageous Road Crew Crunch in September 2015 and most recently partnered with Core Hydration in June 2016. Jason has also invested, raised capital, and previously or currently holds Board Member positions for various companies, mostly in the consumer products space including : Dippin’ Chips and Mrs. Thinster’s, Voli Vodka, Pearl Media, and two apparel companies - Trukfit and Asphalt Yacht Club.
Technical Director, ADM
Founder & Managing Partner, Boulder Food Group
Founder and Managing Partner of Boulder Food Group, Tom previously co-founded EVOL Foods and was the COO of Bear Naked Granola. Under Tom’s management, both businesses were successfully sold to public companies. In addition to his role at BFG, Tom proudly serves on the board of directors of three non-profit organizations including Chef Ann Foundation, Just Label It and Growe Foundation. Chef Ann Foundation and Just Label It are focused at the national level on critical food related issues. The Growe Foundation works with Boulder Valley elementary schools to provide learning opportunities in school gardens. Tom is also the co-founder of the 929 Non-Profit Summer Series which takes place in Boulder, CO each summer. The event series benefits at least five non-profits each year and raises funds on their behalf. Tom was born and raised in Santa Fe, NM. He attended Santa Fe Preparatory School and then Vanderbilt University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors and dual degrees in Economics and Spanish. Tom lives in Boulder, CO with his wife and family.
The Pitch Slam will take place during the NOSH Live Winter 2017 conference on Thursday November 30, time TBD. The chosen Finalists will present their business plans on-stage to the conference audience, livestream viewers, and judging panel, which features key industry veterans, investors, and retail and distribution gatekeepers (to be announced in the coming weeks). Each presentation will be 4 minutes long, followed by direct Q&A with the judges, who will select a winner announced at the end of the conference.
Selection ProcessOver 50 online applications are expected to be submitted; only a handful will then be offered the opportunity to present live on stage in the finals. Project NOSH staff members will select Finalists based on the strength of their applications. Finalists will not be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Decisions by the selection committee are final.
Companies must meet the following criteria to be considered:
- Brand revenue of $2 million or less.
- Company funding of $1 million or less.
- Company must be in good legal and financial standing (e.g. not in bankruptcy protection).
- Company must be based in the US or Canada with the US as it's primary target market.
- Brand must be a natural, sustainable or better-for-you product, crafted with consideration of it's ingredients and their impact.
- Brand must be a consumer packaged good currently available for consumer purchase.
- Brand must be aimed at consumer market, not restaurant or foodservice.
- Presenting Finalist(s) must be registered to attend NOSH Live Winter 2017