Naturally Bay Area Pitch Slam Winner Aura Bora Represents Well at Expo East
“It truly takes a village to scale.
We couldn’t have done this on our own.“
2021 Naturally Bay Area Pitch Slam winner Paul Voge, Co-Founder & CEO of Aura Bora, crossed the country to represent Naturally Bay Area at Expo East. His compelling presentation won over judges who sent him to the final round. What did he get out of the Pitch Slam experience?
From Bay Area to Philadelphia
As the winner of the 2021 Natural Bay Area Pitch Slam in February, Paul Voge, Co-Founder & CEO of Aura Bora (a line of heavenly sparkling waters from herbs, fruits, and flowers), earned a complimentary booth from New Hope Network at Natural Products Expo East in Philadelphia. The prize package also included a guaranteed spot to participate in the national Pitch Slam competition along with nine other semifinalists (representing winners from other Naturally Network Affiliates and selected applicants).
Paul had a stellar showing in the competition and advanced to the top five finalists. Even though all of the Pitch Slam participants launched within the last two years, the strength of Aura Bora’s brand was evident. One judge asked Paul, “You’re quite a bit further along than the other finalists, would this prize even make an impact?” Fila Manila Filipino Simmer Sauces was ultimately selected for the Grand Prize which includes a booth at next year’s Expo West.
Benefits of a Pitch Slam win
Paul credits some of his success to the more than $20K cash and consulting support he received as the winning prize from Naturally Bay Area sponsors and board members. The prize package included a $5000 cash prize presented by Rodney Clark of Aspect Consumer Partners and consulting services from Jeremy Smith of LaunchPad Group (Costco brokers), Thomas May of UNFI, and Naturally Bay Area Board Member & Executive Advisor Joy Chen.
Support from the sponsor community
The Bay Area prize package also included a discount on labels from Board Member Laurie Glynn of Fortis Solutions Group, lower-cost insurance coverage from Heffernan Insurance Brokers via Board Member Pete Picetti, complimentary expo booth/experience design and shopper marketing consulting from Board Member Mary Tarczynski & Jason Unger of Parabolic Agency, a Digital Demos package from Jessica Malach of Social Nature, and CFO level guidance, FP&A support, and cost-effect accounting services from Propeller Industries. Aura Bora went on to engage in direct business with all four of these Naturally Bay Area Sponsor Companies and plans to partner with LaunchPad when ready.
Paul is proud of his new labels and received numerous compliments on his trade show booth which he will be using at Expo West and other events. The brand has become one of the highest-rated beverage brands on the Social Nature platform, earning 4.4/5 stars and an 81% purchase intent.
It takes a village
According to Paul, “as a startup brand (and new to CPG), it can be overwhelming to try to do everything right. It truly takes a village to scale. We couldn’t have done this on our own and I am very appreciative of the being able to tap into the knowledge and experience of the Naturally Bay Area community.”
This is the first year Naturally Bay Area curated the sponsor-provided elements of the Pitch Slam prize package based on the winner’s needs and the team agrees it was a success. Congrats again to Paul and team from the entire Naturally Bay Area community! We look forward to you sharing your learnings with the winner of our 2022 Pitch Slam. Applications are expected to open in November.
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