January 9, 2020

Naturally Bay Area Entrepreneurs Gather for Natural Products Pitch Slam Showdown 1/19/20 – 1st Night of Fancy Food Show


Naturally Bay Area Entrepreneurs Gather for Natural Products Pitch Slam Showdown

Naturally Bay Area’s Premier Industry Event Showcases Top Finalists Competing for More Than $30K in Prizes, Plus a Powerhouse Panel of Special Guests and Judges for its 2nd Annual Pitch Slam Competition and Celebration, Held During the Winter Fancy Food Trade Show, January 19, 2020, in San Francisco, CA

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (January 9, 2020)Naturally Bay Area, a vibrant and thriving business community comprised of entrepreneurs, investors, innovators and leading brands in the natural and organic products industry, is proud to announce its all-star panel of judges, presenting finalists and keynote speakers for the organization’s premier event of the year, The 2nd Annual Naturally Bay Area Pitch Slam. The event, held in conjunction with the Winter Fancy Food Show on Sunday, January 19, 2020, from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., at the Mission Bay Conference Center, San Francisco, CA, will provide a unique evening for networking and mingling with A-list industry leaders.

Hundreds of natural products entrepreneurs will gather to cheer on the Pitch Slam finalists who will share their companies’ innovations and brand strategies. Each competitor in the Naturally Bay Area Pitch Slam are founders of emerging local, natural and organic brands that are creating unique better-for-you food, beverage and personal care products and services.

Pitch Slam Finalists

There are six Naturally Bay Area Pitch Slam finalists who will participate in this year’s Pitch Slam competition. Each Pitch Slam finalist will present a timed business pitch to a panel of select expert judges who will vote for the final top-three winners. The six finalists include: A Dozen Cousins, Bread SRSLY, Down to Cook, Dr Hops Kombucha, Outlaw Soaps, and Renewal Mill.

Pitch Slam Judges

Naturally Bay Area has identified a select group of industry experts who will serve as the Pitch Slam panel of judges. Each judge will have an opportunity to ask questions, sample the products and vote on the winners.

The powerhouse panel of judges includes:

Kevin Cleary: Principal, Big Rock Growth Advisors (Former President/CEO, Clif Bar & Company)

Kevin is a results-driven, people leader with a successful track record at private and public companies. His focus on vision and strategy is brought to life by successfully aligning all executional elements throughout an organization. Currently, as Principal at Big Rock Growth Advisors LLC, he helps CEOs and companies drive and manage growth, while developing healthy cultures to ensure long-term success. Much of his advisory work is in leading organizations through the strategic planning process while also helping them create highly effective C-Suite teams.

Aditi Dash: Partner, CircleUp Growth Partners

Aditi is an investor & operator with a passion for food & tech consumer goods. At CircleUp Growth Partners, Aditi applies her applied experience in investing, operations, product innovation, tech, B2C, growth equity, and capital raising to help emerging brands scale with purpose.

Danny Rubenstein: Managing Partner, Mista

Danny brings a unique combination of skills, abilities, and relationships to MISTA and its members. He’s held every C-Suite role, and he has served as a board member, investor, and advisor for startups and early-stage companies multiple times over. Add in his big CPG company background and experience, and you have a mind that’s able to switch gears easily between where you are and where you want to be, and can help develop a strategic path between them.

Robyn Rutledge: Founder & CEO, SBG Growth
Robyn’s nearly two decade-long career in finance and investing has been concentrated in the consumer industry, with a focus on food, beverage, and wellness-oriented companies. Robyn is the Founder & CEO of SBG Growth, a consumer-focused investment and advisory business. Robyn also currently advises investment firms, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders on the consumer market landscape. Prior to launching SBG Growth, Robyn spent close to a decade with TSG Consumer Partners, a leading investment firm. She was also a member of the investment team at Thoma Cressey and prior to that, worked in M&A at Goldman Sachs in New York.

Patrick Wyman: Local Forager, Whole Foods Market Northern California and Reno

Patrick has 28 years of experience in the natural foods industry, and 18 with Whole Foods Market. He started with the company in a store support role for the grocery department, moved through grocery leadership, and now oversees the Northern California region’s local purchasing program and local vendor partnerships. In his current role, Patrick helps guide vendors through the logistics of bringing a product to market including topics like packaging, distribution, financing, and compliance with company and governmental standards.

Keynote Speakers & Fireside Chat

Prior to the showdown, attendees will hear insight from two successful women entrepreneurs, Lisa Curtis, the Founder and CEO of Kuli Kuli and Miyoko Schinner, CEO/Founder of Miyoko’s Creamery. Lisa will serve as this year’s Host and Master of Ceremony. Miyoko will present the evening’s Keynote presentation and provide her insightful entrepreneurial story leading up to the successful evolution of Miyoko’s dairy-free, plant-based cheese brand and how it competes in the fastest growing category.

In addition, before the Pitch Slam winners are announced, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a fireside chat with Wayne Wu, Partner at VMG Partners. Wayne will interview Elizabeth Giannuzzi, CEO & Co-Founder of Siren Snacks and 1st Annual first place Pitch Slam winner, and Hector Saldivar, Founder of Tia Lupita Foods and second place winner.

Ticket Information

Join the fun: Mingle, Cheer, Learn, and Eat & Drink. Reserve your seat now to make sure you have a spot for the premier event of the year – we will sell out! Tickets: Members, $49. Non-members, $69. Click here for tickets today!

About The Pitch Slam

Natural product companies based in Northern California were invited to compete and pitch amongst a wide selection of brands in the Bay Area. The Naturally Bay Area team narrowed the selection down to six finalists who will compete for prize packages valued at over $30,000, including:

  • $5,000 cash, courtesy of Aspect Consumer Partners
  • 10’x10′ booth at 2020 Natural Products Expo East (the world’s largest natural products trade show on the East Coast), courtesy of New Hope Network
  • A guaranteed spot to pitch at the 2020 Natural Products Expo East Pitch Slam, courtesy of New Hope Network
  • A suite of professional services including financial/legal advice, marketing, strategy consulting, and more.

2020 Pitch Slam Competition Sponsors

Aspect Consumer Partners, New Hope Network, Whole Foods, and Compass Natural Marketing.

About Naturally Bay Area

Naturally Bay Area is dedicated to building and fostering a community that nurtures conscious growth, leadership and innovation in the Bay Area natural products industry. Founded in 2018 as a 501c6 non-profit organization, it now has over 500 members compromised of entrepreneurs, investors, innovators, and emerging and leading brands. Naturally Bay Area provides access to cutting-edge business education events and programs, opportunities for meaningful connections and networking, and special celebrations.

Naturally Bay Area is a part of Naturally Network, which supports a national ecosystem to galvanize and grow the natural and organic products industry. Naturally Network serves those who wish to create a more conscious and regenerative economy and culture through the power of business. Our collective goal is to manifest meaningful change for our industry, our society, and our planet.

Visit naturallybayarea.org, LinkedIn or Facebook for more information. For member or sponsor information, please contact us at info@naturallybayarea.org.

Naturally Bay Area Sponsors

Naturally Bay Area is proud to have Premier, Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze-level Sponsors. Premier Sponsors include Aspect Consumer Partners, BPM LLP, Clif Bar & Company, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, GABY, Mind the Font, Mista/Givaudan, Navitas Organics, New Hope Network, Propeller Industries, and The Burbank Hafeli Schiller Group. For a complete list of Sponsors, visit here.


Vanessa Toy, Naturally Bay Area, vanessa@cultivatecreations.com

Steven Hoffman, Compass Natural Marketing, steve@compassnaturalmarketing.com


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