Natural Products Business School announces 2017 Pitch-Slam Semifinalists

Jasmine Santillan, Conference Coordinator

March 7, 2017

3 Min Read
Natural Products Business School announces 2017 Pitch-Slam Semifinalists

Every year at Natural Products Expo, attendees are on the hunt for the newest natural product innovation. Our Natural Products Business School Pitch-Slam is proud to highlight the best emerging brands at Natural Products Expo West 2017. We’ve outlined here how we chose the 10 semifinalists to pitch onsite. 

The Process

• Applications were open from December 1, 2016 to January 27, 2017. Over 100 companies applied!

• Applicants were asked to highlight basic details about their company such as founding date, product description, management description and sales history and projection.

• We integrated two new features into the application process. This year, we asked applicants if their company integrates a focus in access, stewardship or nutrition into its core values as the Natural Products Business School is focusing on business as a force for good. We also asked every applicant to submit a video to show the personality of the brand and its founders that may not come through a written application.

• Selection Committee/Mentors reviewed every application based on the following critera: 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.

• The Selection Committee/Mentors discussed the top scoring companies and some of their standout favorites. They then decided on 10 semifinalists and decided who to mentor.

• All semifinalists were assigned a Mentor from the Selection Committee to help coach them in the three weeks leading up to the Semifinals. Ten semifinalists will give a 3-minute pitch and have a short Q&A portion.

• The Judges will choose three semifinalists and the audience will choose one semifinalist to move onto the Finals.

• Semifinals will be 5-6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, and closed to the public. The Finals will be 4:30 p.m.-5:45 p.m., Thursday, March 9, in the Marriott, Grand Salon F, and is open to the public.

The People

Selection Committee/Mentors:

Bob Burke, Natural Products Consulting
Eric Schnell, BeyondBrands
Mike Dobvish, Nutrition Capital Network
James Tonkin, Healthy Brand Builders
Lauren Sandberg-Clardy, NutriMarketing Group
Nick McCoy, Whipstitch Capital
Shari Wynne Ressler, SKU
Tera Johnson, Food Finance Institute
Pete Speranza, 301 INC
Genevieve Gilbreath, SKU

Onsite Judges:

Errol Schweizer, Demeter USA/Beyond Brands
Sue Heilbronner, MergeLane
Mark Rampolla, Powerplant Ventures
Allison Hagey, BraunHagey & Borden LLP/Legal
Danielle Vogel, Glen’s Garden Market

The Prizes

1st Place

  • Expo West 2018 booth – New Hope Network ($6,555) 

  • Branding & Package Consultation – Interact on Shelf ($5,000)

  • Certification – NSF/QAI free one-year GF or non-GMO certification ($4,000)

  • Investment Consultation - P2Bi ($2,500) 

  • Consulting – BeyondBrands ($2,500)

  • Data – Moss Adams – Personal Review of the Food & Beverage benchmarking study ($2,500)

  • Legal – Faegre Baker Daniels ($2,500)

  • Gift Pack – Burt’s Bees ($TBD)

2nd place 

  • Brand Consulting Healthy Brand Builders ($2,500)

  • Branding & Package Consultation – Interact on Shelf ($2,500)

  • Investment Consultation – P2Bi ($1,000) 

The Semi-Finalists

1.     One Hop Kitchen

2.     Sol Simple

3.     Fresh Monster

4.     Shaka Beverages LLC

5.     Frau Fowler

6.     Cocoburg LLC

7.     Oriya Organics

8.     Sherpa Power

9.     LoveTheWild

10.  Cisse Cocoa Company


See you at the Pitch-Slam Finals!
When: 4:30 p.m.-5:45 p.m., Thursday, March 9, 2017
Where: Marriott, Grand Salon F

About the Author(s)

Jasmine Santillan

Conference Coordinator, New Hope Network

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