THE LEADING CONFERENCE FOR THE BEVERAGE INDUSTRY
These industry leaders will take the BevNET Live stage.
Mike Repole has always been a big dreamer. His modest upbringing and close family ties fuel his drive as a serial entrepreneur. Surrounding himself with great people and developing great brands has become his proven formula for success. Having achieved success before in the food and beverage industry with the sales of glacéau vitaminwater to The Coca-Cola Company and Pirate’s Booty to B&G Foods, and an early investor and board member at KIND bar, Mike is once again looking to revolutionize a category and build the next megabrand. Mike is the founder and chairman of BODYARMOR, a premium sports drink that provides superior hydration to athletes demanding better-for-you products. Mike saw huge potential in the sports drink category for an innovation like BODYARMOR, and his passion and drive – and the opportunity to disrupt the $10 billion sports drink industry – led him to launch BODYARMOR in 2011. BODYARMOR has grabbed the attention of some of the top professional athletes in the country, including James Harden, Mike Trout and Dustin Johnson, all of whom hold an equity stake in the company. In 2013, Kobe Bryant made a significant investment in BODYARMOR, becoming one of the top shareholders – and in 2018 The CocaCola Company invested in the brand, making them the #2 shareholder behind Repole.
General Manager, Oatly
Mike is the General Manager for OATLY leading all aspects of business and brand development in North America. OATLY makes vegan, plant based food and beverage products made out of oats and was originally founded in Sweden over 25 years ago. Prior to joining OATLY and launching it in the US, Mike held a variety of marketing and commercial roles at The Nature’s Bounty Co, Chobani, and PepsiCo. Before starting his career in CPG, Mike served as an Officer in the Navy in a variety of roles including nuclear engineering management on aircraft carriers. He has his MBA from Harvard Business School, a Masters in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University, and his undergraduate degree from Duke University. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and their dog.
Maya French is a Co-Founder of Koia, the protein packed, 100 percent plant-based beverage that uses natural ingredients to deliver deliciously nutritious flavors. French struggled with food-based allergies, such as being lactose intolerant her whole life, until she discovered the benefits of plant-based proteins when college friend and fellow Koia Co-Founder, Dustin Baker, was testing out recipes in his Chicago kitchen. At this moment, French realized her calling was to create a functional product that would contribute to providing consumers with a healthier lifestyle. With only experience in journalism and fashion retail, French took a leap of faith into unknown territory to follow her dreams and partnered with Baker to launch Koia. Discovering an innovative dairy and soy-free option with a balance of high protein and low sugar made French look and feel better as she committed to a healthy diet change. After years of trials and customer research, she has become a natural foods industry expert and professional. Her focus now is on growing the Koia brand and driving awareness among consumers of how plant based, healthy lifestyle choices can benefit them. “As someone who is lactose-intolerant, there aren’t many protein products that aren’t dairy-based. I make it my personal mission as a co-founder to let everyone know they have Koia as an option,” French says. Besides being dairy-free, French’s favorite thing about Koia is that it is sweet but not high in sugar. “You can still have the taste profile you want without the guilt,” she comments. She is also a fan of how Koia uses only simple ingredients that consumers can actually recognize, making it clear what you're consuming every time you drink a Koia! With the help of French, Koia launched nationally at Whole Foods Market and quickly scaled to become the most productive refrigerated protein brands in the natural channel within 18 months of inception, and is now sold in 5,000 stores across the country.
Head of New Business Strategy, Amazon Launchpad
As Head of New Business Strategy at Amazon Launchpad, Kyle Walker develops new businesses, tools and services to help emerging brands, startups, and small businesses succeed on Amazon. Within Amazon, Kyle has been helping new businesses succeed through a variety of roles in sales, brand consulting, program management, buying, and new business development at Amazon. Assisting brands to grow in a variety of roles has allowed him to develop a holistic view of the components of success for optimizing growth across startups and established brands alike. His ability to drive results for brands has led to his most recent position as the Head of New Business Strategy for Amazon Launchpad. Prior to his current role he created the Amazon Renewed program globally and the Amazon Exclusives program.
Brent Hastie is the President of BODYARMOR, the fastest growing sports drink in the category with over $4oo million in retail sales in 2018. In this role, he is responsible for all aspects of BODYARMOR’s operations and leading the growth of the BODYARMOR team. He joined BODYARMOR in March of 2019. Prior to this role, he held a variety of senior leadership roles for The Coca-Cola Company. Most recently, he was the Chief Financial and Supply Chain Officer for Coca-Cola North America. He was responsible for leading an organization of close to 4,000 supply chain and finance associates across the United States and Canada where he had total P&L accountability across the ~$12B North America Business. He also had financial oversight responsibility for the refranchising of company-owned bottling operations in North America to independent bottlers. His other experiences at The Coca-Cola Company include the Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Planning, where he was responsible for leading the development of the growth strategy for the global Coca-Cola System and leading the Company’s multi-billion dollar productivity program. He first joined The Coca-Cola Company in 2006 and his previous leadership assignments included Chief Strategy Officer for Coca-Cola Refreshments; President, Active Lifestyle brands, where he was responsible for leading the glaceau business; Vice President, Commercial Leadership Still Beverages; and Vice President, Strategy and Planning, all for the North America Group.??He also spent time in Bain Capital’s Portfolio Group before rejoining The Coca-Cola Company in 2013. Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company, Brent was a Principal with McKinsey & Company. He earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and received an M.B.A. with distinction from Harvard University.
Co-founder & CEO, LifeAid
Future LIFEAID co-founders Orion Melehan and Dr. Aaron Hinde met by chance at a CrossFit box in 2009, in the iconic beach town of Santa Cruz, California. In addition to their mutual passion for intense physical workouts, they also discovered their children attended the same school and were already friends. The two men quickly formed a friendship and discovered they had another thing in common: the entrepreneurial bug. Discussing their mutual frustration with the choice of food and drink that were being marketed as ‘healthy’ and suitable for ‘recovery’ post workout, Orion and Aaron decided to turn their frustrations into solutions, and founded the LIFEAID brand. With a focus on great tasting, wellness enhancing and solutions driven supplements that can be enjoyed as a drink, LIFEAID today is a trusted brand amongst health and performance conscious consumers. Since founding the company in 2011, Orion and Aaron have built LIFEAID into a multi-million dollar brand and wellness movement that is a standout on e-comm and social media, and one of the most dynamic brands at retail. Prior to founding LIFEAID, Orion Melehan was a certified financial planner with his own practice. Orion is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Co-founder & President, LifeAid
Future LIFEAID co-founders Orion Melehan and Dr. Aaron Hinde met by chance at a CrossFit box in 2009, in the iconic beach town of Santa Cruz, California. In addition to their mutual passion for intense physical workouts, they also discovered their children attended the same school and were already friends. The two men quickly formed a friendship and discovered they had another thing in common: the entrepreneurial bug. Discussing their mutual frustration with the choice of food and drink that were being marketed as ‘healthy’ and suitable for ‘recovery’ post workout, Orion and Aaron decided to turn their frustrations into solutions, and founded the LIFEAID brand. With a focus on great tasting, wellness enhancing and solutions driven supplements that can be enjoyed as a drink, LIFEAID today is a trusted brand amongst health and performance conscious consumers. Since founding the company in 2011, Orion and Aaron have built LIFEAID into a multi-million dollar brand and wellness movement that is a standout on e-comm and social media, and one of the most dynamic brands at retail. Before LIFEAID, Aaron Hinde ran a successful sports chiropractic practice. Aaron obtained is BA in Economics from St. Vincent College and his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.
Co-founder, M3 Ventures
As co-founder of M3 Ventures, Tracy brings nearly a decade of retail and consumer brand growth experience to the firm. Since the launch of M3, she has executed over 35 investments in leading lifestyle and commerce businesses. Areas of expertise include health and wellness; DTC fashion and apparel; beauty; food, beverage and hospitality; and cannabis and CBD. Prior to M3 Ventures, Tracy was a Vice President at Sandbridge Capital, a middle market private equity firm founded by Tommy Hilfiger. She oversaw the firm’s growth equity activities with investments such as Thom Browne, and the firm’s venture investments, including FarFetch and Tamara Mellon. Before joining Sandbrige Capital, Tracy worked as a business development consultant at TRAUB Associates, a retail-focused advisory firm founded by former Bloomingdale’s CEO Marvin Traub. Her clients included the Related Companies and Dubai’s Al Tayer group. Prior to TRAUB, Tracy worked at Credit Suisse in the Retail & Consumer Investment Banking division in New York City. Tracy graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BS in Urban Studies.
Founder & CEO, Presence Marketing
Bill Weiland is the Founder, President and CEO of Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence. Bill has committed his entire adult life to furthering the wellness lifestyle movement. It began with nearly a dozen years of working in the Natural Products Industry, in varied roles within the sales and retail sectors. Bill launched Presence Marketing in January, 1990. He is surrounded by a dedicated cast of creative and intelligent people who carry out the mission of bringing healthy products to consumers, with great energy, passion, and resolve. Bill’s uncompromising obsession for sustainable agriculture, healthy foods and integrated medicine are key drivers behind his commitment to continue building a world of clean products that everyone can have access to. Named by Forbes Magazine as one of the “Top 25 Most Influential “Kingmakers” in Consumer and Retailer Companies,” Bill Weiland has grown Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence into the largest independent natural and organic products brokerage in the U.S. In working with leading national brands as well as successful startups, Bill has a keen eye on consumer and product trends driving the rapidly growing healthy lifestyles market. Bill also is a leading supporter of consumer transparency and GMO labeling.
Founder & CEO, Iris Nova
Zak Normandin is an award-winning entrepreneur disrupting the way businesses create, communicate and deliver consumer goods. He has over ten years of experience as a product designer in the food and beverage industry and is credited with branding more than 50 nationally-sold products. Zak has a unique understanding for the way people, brands and technology interact. As Founder and CEO of Iris Nova, the parent company of DIRTY LEMON and The Drug Store, he is reinventing the traditional CPG business model. Iris Nova utilizes a direct-to-consumer SMS-based ordering platform to bypass existing distribution inefficiencies and improve how consumers find and purchase beverages. Normandin is building the beverage company of the future, expanding and applying the proprietary platform to a portfolio of innovative beverage brands that meet the rapidly evolving preferences of the modern consumer. Backed by A-List celebrities and business leaders alike, Iris Nova and its brand properties are recognized nationally by media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Bloomberg and Vogue.
Founder & CEO, Vital Proteins
Kurt Seidensticker is the Founder and CEO of collagen-based wellness company, Vital Proteins. A serial entrepreneur with more than two decades of experience, Kurt has successfully grown a number of companies within the e-commerce space – a journey that eventually led him to define a new space in the nutritional marketplace: powdered collagen. Kurt’s passion for health and fitness – and his ambition to help others live their best lives – became the crux of the Vital Proteins brand, and ultimately, the company mission. When he’s not strategizing Vital Proteins’ next move for big picture growth, Kurt can be found running along the Chicago lakefront or in his kitchen whipping up his favorite green smoothie (complete with collagen, of course).
Founder & CEO, Tea Drops
Founded in 2015 by Sashee Chandran, Tea Drops is a woman and minority owned, innovative tea company with a mission to inspire human connection through tea. Based in Los Angeles, Tea Drops ethically sources all of their organic teas, and sheds about 20% less waste than traditional tea bag packaging. Tea Drops has become a favorite among new and experienced tea drinkers alike, launching innovative tea experiences that merge flavorful blends, food art, and edgy design. A favorite of Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States, Tea Drops are also loved by Oprah Magazine, Forbes, and the Tory Burch Foundation.
CEO, Kitu Life, Inc.
Jim DeCicco is the Oldest Brother and CEO at Kitu Life, Inc. makers of Super Coffee. Jim is a 2015 graduate from Colgate University where he studied Philosophy and served as captain of the football team. After graduation Jim teamed up with his two younger brothers to launch Super Coffee—a sugar free line of bottled coffees blended with protein and MCT oil. Over the last three years, Jim and his brothers have brought Super Coffee from an idea in a dorm room to the best-selling bottled coffee in the nation on a dollars per point of distribution basis (SPINS). Along the way Kitu has launched several Positive Energy innovations such as Super Creamer, Super Espresso, and Super Cold Brew. In 2018 the DeCicco brothers pitched on ABC's Shark Tank and were featured in the 2019 class of Forbes 30 Under 30. Kitu Life, Inc. is based in NYC.
Managing Partner, LivWell Ventures
Bryan Bulte is a Managing Partner at LivWell Ventures, a $60M, early stage investment firm, focused on better-for-you lifestyle brands across food, beverage, nutritional supplements and fitness technology. LivWell’s portfolio includes a few of the following notable brands: C4, The Living Apothecary, Xtend, Lemon Perfect, FitJoy Foods, Big Swig, Orro, AmpleMeal, Studio.Live, and most recently, Yerbae and Weller. Bryan has invested in over 40 companies from a wide array of industries, with a special penchant for technology and consumer packaged goods in the wellness space. In 2013, Bryan co-founded Seed Sumo, a Texas-based startup accelerator that invested in and mentored 24 companies over a 3-year period, with an unrealized IRR in the triple digits. Bryan is highly engaged with the startup community, serving on the board of newly formed Naturally Austin, a mentor at Capital Factory, a venture partner at NextGen VP, and an active LP in Brand Foundry (NYC), Vestigo Ventures (Boston), and Funders Club (SF).
John is the co-founder of Weller Snacks, a CBD-enriched food and beverage brand. As an entrepreneur with an eye for early trends, John has a passion for creating brands and establishing new innovations that ignite previously unknown categories. In 1995, he founded Third Street Chai and led it through its acquisition in 2013, paving the way for sustainable supply chain standards via Fair Trade and Certified Organic ingredients. With Weller, he is once again focused on developing interesting products that can help CBD’s wellness benefits go mainstream. John himself embraces a life of living well-er as a former professional bicycle racer who lives in Boulder, Colorado.
VP, Consumer Insights, BDS Analytics, Inc.
Prior to joining BDS Analytics, Jessica Lukas spent 10 years working with top global CPG and Beverage Alcohol companies at BASES (Nielsen Innovation) and on the shopper marketing team at Dr Pepper Snapple Group. After taking a short break to develop and launch an app with a business partner, Jessica returned to data analytics—but this time for cannabis. At BDS Analytics, she is the VP of Consumer Insights. BDS Analytics is headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, and is the leader in data, market research, analytics, and consumer insights for the cannabis industry. She helps clients understand the evolution of the cannabis market and consumer in order to assess the opportunities and threats that drive strategic decisions. Given her many years spent working within beverages (alcohol and non), the interaction, overlap, substitutability, pairing of cannabis with beverages is a particular focus.
Founding Partner, TGZ Capital
Co-Founder and Managing Director, Whipstitch Capital
Nick McCoy is a Co-Founder and Managing Director with Whipstitch Capital, the largest independent investment bank in the U.S., solely focused on the better-for-you consumer market. The Whipstitch team has completed nearly 100 transactions over the years for clients such as Core Nutrition, Essentia Water, KeVita, Spindrift, Blake’s All Natural and Otter Creek Brewing Company.
Global Director - Explore Fund, ZX Ventures
Liz Tomic leads CPG investing for ZX Ventures, the global growth and innovation group of AB InBev. Prior to taking on that focus in 2018, she was the global director for innovation at the company. Before ZX she worked at Prophet, a brand and marketing consultancy, and started her career in investment banking at J.P. Morgan. Liz holds a MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and bachelor’s degree from Fordham University.
Founder & CEO, OTG
Rick Blatstein is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of OTG - an award-winning company specializing in elevating the airport and customer experience. Having established more than 350 restaurant locations across 10 airports in North America, Rick has overseen the growth of a company that he initially formed with just over a dozen locations in 1996 at Philadelphia International Airport. With more than 30 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality sectors, Rick is responsible for breakthrough chef collaborations, design innovations and the substantial growth of technology integration in the airport space.
Chief Revenue Officer, Hudson News Distributors
A CPG/Retail executive with more than 30 years' experience building and operating global brands and retail marketing/service agencies. An entrepreneurial individual that is passionate about innovative strategies and tactics to gain market share and win against much larger, embedded incumbents. • Developed Hudson News Distributors Beverage/Snack DSD business over 3-years into a major Northeast player with LaCroix, Hint Water, Polar Seltzer, New Age Beverages, Nestle Waters, illy Coffee, FIJI, Icelandic Glacial and Old Trapper Beef Jerky brands under contract. • Founded National In-Store (NIS) in 1994 and grew the company to +$50 million in revenues, over 10,000 field merchandisers/sales trainers/brand ambassadors and exited the business with a sale to NYC based Omnicom Group. • Participated in in over 30 International New Product launches at Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and Combe Inc. in leadership positions. • Established partnerships with most of the major retail chains in the USA including Walmart, Target, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Kroger, Safeway, Publix, Staples, Best Buy, Office Depot, Home Depot and others.
Group Director for Venturing and Portfolio Management, VEB Coca-Cola
Bill is the Group Director for Venturing and Portfolio Management. Prior to joining the Venturing & Emerging Brands team, Bill was the General Manager of the coffee business at TreeHouse Foods. Bill’s interest in partnering with brands to drive value comes from his years as a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group. He graduated with a BBA from Western Michigan University and an MBA from Kellogg - Northwestern University.
VP of Marketing & Innovation, VEB Coca-Cola
Managing Partner, Powerplant Ventures
Dan is a Managing Partner at Powerplant Ventures ("PPV"). Powerplant Ventures is a growth equity fund investing in emerging consumer food & beverage, foodservice and food-tech companies. Notable investments include Beyond Meat, REBBL Beverages, Ripple, Vive Organic, Perennial and Thrive Market. Dan currently serves on the board of Your Super, another PPV Portfolio Company. Dan cut his teeth in the consumer food sector as the Co-Founder of Health Warrior, which he successfully helped incubate, scale and exit to Pepsi in 2018. Prior to diving into entrepreneurship and venture investing, Dan spent 15 years working on Wall Street as a Partner and Portfolio Manager at a large investment management firm.
CMO, High Brew Coffee
Mari Johnson serves as the Chief Marketing Officer for High Brew Coffee. She joined the High Brew team in fall 2015 and has over two decades of experience building consumer brands. At High Brew, Johnson is responsible for generating awareness for the brand through trade and consumer activities, experiential, social media and public relations, while bringing new thinking to continue to grow the brand nationally. Previously, she led the field marketing efforts for KIND Healthy Snacks and was also previously the Field Marketing Director for glacéau, creating strategic marketing plans for vitaminwater, vitaminwater10, smartwater, POWERade and POWERade ZERO.
Director of Dairy & Beverage, Whole Foods
Lee leads the Dairy and Beverage businesses at Whole Foods Market, which includes all refrigerated and shelf stable beverages as well as mainstay refrigerated grocery segments. His depth of experience at Whole Foods Market is used to propel innovative business strategies and organizational evolution forward. Equally comfortable strolling through grassfed farms, retail store backrooms, or state-of-the-art facilities, he’s passionate about developing his team of experts who continually push the boundaries of category innovation. Prior to his experience at Whole Foods Market, he matched up his passion for bicycle racing with his profession at Dick’s Sporting Goods in the Bike buying department.
COO & Partner, Cambridge Companies SPG
CEO & Founder, BevNET
As founder and CEO of BevNET, John Craven is a widely-recognized authority on the beverage industry and he is frequently cited in mainstream media. His vision shapes the editorial, publishing, and positioning of all of BevNET's properties, including BevNET.com, BevNET Magazine, Brewbound.com, BevNET FBU and their associated conferences. John is a graduate of Boston College with a BS in Marketing and Computer Science.
As Editor-in-Chief of BevNET, Jeffrey Klineman oversees the organization's reporting across all of its web sites, as well as BevNET Magazine. Jeffrey is also responsible for developing the content for conferences like BevNET Live and Food and Beverage University (FBU). Jeffrey previously worked as a newspaper reporter for the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, the Boston TAB and the Metrowest Daily News, and has freelanced for publications like Slate, Boston Magazine, Self, George, Commonwealth, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Jeffrey is a graduate of Yale University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. A frequently-cited expert on the beverage industry, Jeffrey has also been named in Forbes as one of the 25 Most Influential Kingmakers in Consumer and Retail Companies. He is still trying to live that one down.
Managing Editor, BevNET
Editor/Producer, Taste Radio, BevNET
A DEEP DIVE INTO A HOT EMERGING CATEGORY
The massive interest in -- and approaches to -- the incorporation of Marijuana, Hemp, THC and CBD as functional ingredients in food and beverage brands is shared by new companies and existing brands alike. Nevertheless, there is still much to understand. Food and beverage professionals are invited to navigate an ambiguous cannabis market and explore how it could impact their businesses at the one-day forum.
Hosted on June 14th, the Friday after NOSH Live and BevNET Live, attendees of either conference will receive special rates to the forum.
BEVERAGE SCHOOL: LEARN THE ROPES OF THE INDUSTRY
Beverage School is a special half-day “Beverages 101″ session for early-stage entrepreneurs and industry newcomers. It is held the day prior to the full conference and is free for all BevNET Live Summer 2019 attendees. Young beverage brands get up to speed, identify keys for growth and initiate critical conversations.
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