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8 brands taking the stage at the Expo West 2018 Pitch-Slam competition

From over 100 applications, New Hope Network and a panel of industry experts have selected the eight semi-finalists who will compete in Anaheim to win bragging rights and over $40K in services.

Denver Lewis, Community and Conference Content Manager

February 16, 2018

8 Slides

Every year at Natural Products Expo, attendees are on the hunt for the newest natural product innovation. The Natural Products Expo West Pitch-Slam is proud to highlight the best emerging brands at Expo West 2018. We’ve outlined here how we chose the eight semifinalists to pitch in Anaheim. 

The Process

Applications were open from Dec. 1, 2017 to Jan. 26, 2018.

Applicants were asked to highlight basic details about their company such as founding date, product description, management description, sales history and projections. In addition, applicants are asked to explain how their company integrates a focus on greater access to healthy lifestyle, stewardship and/or nutrition into its core values (if at all). As a part of the application, each brand also submitted a short video to showcase the personality of the founders and product.

Selection Committee Mentors reviewed every application based on the following criteria: uniqueness, value proposition of product, product branding, packaging, presentation and market viability, in equal measure. The Selection Committee Mentors watched over 200 minutes of video footage and spent numerous hours reviewing applicants. Every application was scored from one to five. Selection Committee Mentors discussed the top scoring companies and some of their standout favorites. In the selection process, the mentors were also paired with a brand for coaching leading into Expo West. The mentor relationship will focus on presentation content and storytelling on stage.

Before the show, semi-finalists will also have the opportunity to attend a webinar with revered pitch coach Andi O'Conor on body language and delivering the perfect pitch.

The Pitch

Semi-Finals Competition March 7, 2018 
5-6 p.m. Marriott, Marquis North
Sponsored by: 301 Inc., G4A Generator, Moss Adams

  • 3-minute pitch

  • 3-minute Q&A 

Judges, with audience input, will choose four semi-finalists to advance to the Finals round on Thursday, March 8.

Finals Competition March 8, 2018
4:30-6:30 p.m. Marriott, Grand Salon F
Sponsored by: 301 Inc., G4A Generator, Moss Adams

  • 3-minute pitch

  • 5-minute Q&A

Judges select one grand prize winner. Both competitions are open to all badgeholders.

The People

Expo West 2018 Pitch-Slam Selection Committee and Mentors
Bob Burke, Natural Products Consulting
Arno Hesse, Slow Money Northern California
Carlotta Mast, New Hope Network 
Daniel Lohman, Category Management Solutions
Mike Dobvish, Nutrition Capital Network
Debbie Wildrick, MetaBrand
Lauren Clardy, NutriMarketing Group
Jessica Bates, Dwight Funding
Tera Johnson, Food Finance Institute
Sergey Grigoryan, TNKR Design

Expo West 2018 Pitch-Slam Judges
Renske Lynde, Food System 6
Jon Sebastiani, Sonoma Brands 
Greg Fleishman, Foodstirs 
Carla Vernon, Natural & Organic Operating Unit General Mills
Betsy McGinn, McGinn eCommConsulting

The Eight

The Grand Prize—over $40K in services from New Hope Network

  • Expo West 2019 Free Booth and Marketing Credit

  • Expo East 2018 Attendee Super Pass and Business School Badges x 2

  • Esca Bona 2018 Badge x 2

  • Supply Side 2018 Global Pass x 2

  • New Hope Network NEXT Data + Insights Concept Testing

  • New Hope Network Digital/Print Services

  • Nutrition Capital Network 2018 Waived Pitch-Fee

  • Nutrition Business Journal Subscription/Custom Reporting

  • NEXTY Nomination—Waived Fee

  • Content coverage on



We hope you'll join us in March! Want to submit your brand to pitch? Natural Products Expo East 2018 Pitch-Slam applications open in July. 



About the Author(s)

Denver Lewis

Community and Conference Content Manager, New Hope Network

As Community and Conference Content Manager, Denver is passionate about educating and supporting the growth of early stage natural products brands, strengthening understanding of the investment landscape and providing a platform for storytelling, with a focus on mission-driven business.

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