Incredible journeys that shape the present & future of food & beverage industry

Episode 164 – Build a Community Before a Food Brand – Hema of Crafty Counter

Hema built a community targeted towards parents and busy individuals that look for smart, quick, and tasty food options. What makes her approach unique is that she developed a website with recipes, videos, and helped built a community before launching her first CPG food product. Hema Reddy is the Founder & CEO of Crafty Counter, […]

Episode 163 – Why Amazon-Whole Foods is unlikely to work (for Whole Foods)

There is no denying the inventory and logistical benefits of Whole Foods being purchased by Amazon. Any spreadsheet or report can prove that. But what is often overlooked in the history of (failed) acquisitions is culture. Jeremy Smith believes there is a high probability that Whole Foods will fail post-Amazon purchase because of it. John […]

Episode 162 – On Building True Fans, Mentors and E-commerce Dominance – Madeline of nutpods

In just a few years, nutpods is on fire. A dairy-free coffee creamer, they have passed Coffee Mate on for # of reviews. Talk about “review capital”! She entered the food space as an outsider. With a beginner’s mindset and the ability to develop die-hard fans, nutpods has become a great success. Awarded as […]

Episode 152 – How to Run a Premium, Global Brand – Reza of Icelandic Glacial

Reza Mirza has an exciting job: CEO of Icelandic Glacial. A premium brand, they control the sole commercial rights to bottle and sell water from the legendary Ölfus Spring. In 21 countries with only 40 total employees, they are organized, efficient, and growing.  Their U.S. distribution is handled by Anheuser-Busch, which took a 20% ownership stake […]

Episode 151 – #1 on Amazon + Road Trip Retail Strategy – Alex of Bizzy Coffee

When I asked Alex how they came up with the idea for an energy shot. It was simple: Our customers told us. Before the interview, I thought: “Why would anyone start a cold-brew coffee company? There are so many on the market already.” I quickly learned the unique value proposition of Bizzy Coffee from a […]

Episode 150 – Raising Money + Lessons from 1000 Founders – Steven of CircleUp

For Steven, it’s all about patterns. He has spoken to over 1,000 founders and has developed a sense for which startups are going to flourish. He focuses on sourcing and evaluating premier brands and coaching entrepreneurs through the fundraising process at CircleUp. CircleUp is the platform providing capital and resources to innovative, early-stage consumer brands, […]

Episode 146 – How to Join and Thrive at a Food Startup – Amanda Sains of B’more Organic

In the last episode, we spoke with the founder of B’More Organic. This week we interview their secret weapon, Amanda Sains. Amanda was in the corporate world and wanted a change. She started as a brand ambassador, doing product demos on her lunch break. She has since rebranded the company, supported growth into over 3000 […]

Episode 144 – A Lesson on Biz Dev and Consumer Behavior – Andy of Basket Savings

In the space Andy Ellwood plays in, every few years you need to be prepared to start over. On his dynamic career “path”, Andy has become a high-performer in business development with a track record to back it up. He helped Gowalla through its acquisition by Facebook in 2011, Waze through to its acquisition by […]

Episode 142 – Raw Sugar, Strategy + Serendipity – Robbie of Just Panela

Robbie thought he was going to be a diplomat. While gaining international experience in Medellin, Colombia, he fell into a circle of entrepreneurs. And everything changed. Robbie Thomas teamed up with another expat and launched Just Panela, a true raw cane sugar. The company has grown fast. 18 months later, the organic sweetener is in many parts […]

Episode 138 – Inside the Buyer’s Brain – Alli Ball

I thought I knew a decent amount about how to connect with buyers. I was wrong. Alli Ball has all the secrets I wanted to know. She has successfully opened several retail locations, including the Bi-Rite Divisadero location as store manager. Alli is a rockstar. Listen to this episode and you’ll agree: Opening Bi-Rite in […]

Episode 132 – Building an Amazonian Enterprise – Dan from Runa

Dan MacCombie is the co-founder and former Co-CEO of Runa, an Amazonian social enterprise and beverage company supporting indigenous farmers sustainably growing guayusa tea in the rainforest. He and the Runa team developed relationships with indigenous farmers and built a supply chain into nationwide distribution in Whole Foods and other U.S. chains. Starting in 2009, it […]

Episode 128 – Organic Chicken with a Farmer Focus – Jefferson of SVO

Once you try organic chicken, it is difficult to go back to “conventional”. I say this from experience. Jefferson Heatwole and Shenandoah Valley Organics (SVO) are trying to affordably provide organic chicken. They have an innovative, farmer-focused business model and encourage healthy eating and cultural awareness. The company is growing in number of farms, chickens, […]

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