BevNET is delighted to announce that attendees of BevNET Live will get two perspectives from inside the country’s largest convenience store chain, 7-Eleven.
Julie Whittle, the Category Manager for Soft Drinks and Energy, will speak on getting into 7-Eleven and staying in – offering a set of best practices for entrepreneurs who plan to pitch the organization and succeed within this key sales channel. For several years, 7-Eleven has been the pace-setter for RTD beverages – but at a time when thoughts about the beverage category are shifting and broadening, Whittle will offer her thoughts on where they may be going in her stores.
Additionally, the audience will hear from Raja Doddala, VP of Portfolio Management for a new venture capital model that is emanating from the retailer itself: 7-Ventures, an investment fund put together by 7-Eleven as a way to incubate innovative products and reach their potential. At a time when an increasing number of entities from the retailing, distributing and strategic worlds are themselves becoming investors in brands, a look at the standards and priorities set out by this latest venture will offer insight into the way these arrangements can work.
Entrepreneurial beverage companies often cite gaining a presence in 7-Eleven as the indicator that they have reached viability. With Whittle and Doddala, that path to viability will be explored from two different angles.
BevNET Live Winter 2013 is selling at a record pace, and space is filling up faster than ever. At this pace, the conference, which will be held on Dec. 9 & 10 at the Loews Hotel in Santa Monica, is expected to sell out well before the event date.
About Raja Doddala
Raja Doddala is the founder of the corporate ventures team at 7-Ventures LLC, a subsidiary of 7-Eleven focused on early stage investments in new food and beverage categories, new retail business models and next-generation customer engagement/payment networks and technologies. He has developed several first-in-convenience business partnerships on behalf of 7-Eleven in previous positions with the company, which included executive positions in product strategy and new business ventures. Doddala holds an M.B.A. from Southern Methodist University, among other degrees.
About Julie Whittle
Merchandising and retailing expert Julie Whittle has worked at 7-Eleven for 13 years in a variety of management positions, covering consumables like Confectionary and Beverages. She has worked with many companies to launch successful new items and brands at 7-Eleven, many of which were lead launches and brand new to the marketplace. She became the Category Manager for Soft Drinks and Energy/Nutritional Beverages in October, 2011. Ms. Whittle holds an M.B.A. from Oklahoma City University.