It may have taken place online instead of in person, but the energy and excitement of yesterday’s Naturally Boulder Pitch Slam 2020 event was still palpable—albeit virtually.
In a series of fast-paced, energy-infused presentations that took place in and around beautiful Boulder, Colorado, 10 up-and-coming natural products companies had 3 minutes each to pitch their brand to a panel of four judges—judges who were then given 3 minutes to question the brands about different aspects of their products and business during this live event.
But more than just a pitch extolling a product’s virtues, brand founders representing the 10 finalist brands selected for this year’s Naturally Boulder Pitch Slam event had to provide information about their company’s margins, growth, differentiating characteristics, consumer appeal, etc., as well as answer tough, on-the-fly questions about business strategy and the "whys" and "hows" of their brands.
In the end, the award went to Niki Sawni of Grüvi, a nonalcoholic beer and wine brand that has become a mainstay of the Boulder craft beverage scene. He will receive a prize package worth $100,000 that includes a booth at Natural Products Expo East 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
When asked what attributes they looked for in the winner, judges Peter Burns of ONE Brands, Robyn O’Brien of rePlant Capital, John Simmons of Weller and Lizzi Ackerman of Birch Benders explained that they chose the winner based on different criteria ranging from the founders’ tenacity and passion to the scalability of the brand, its ability to make money and whether or not it represented a unique concept in the category. Those watching must have shared in these sentiments, as Grüvi was also the recipient of the night’s People’s Choice Award, voted for by viewers in an online poll.
In addition to the Pitch Slam, Naturally Boulder also presented four Autumn Awards to important figures in the natural products industry. Kombucha brand Rowdy Mermaid was named the 2020 Breakout Brand of the Year. Tea brand Organic India won the Climate Catalyst of 2020 Award. And Bill Capsalis, currently the CEO of Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy, was presented with the Industry Leader/Community Champ of 2020 Award.