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  • Here are the Investor speakers from our Sold-Out Food Investing Conference, sponsored by SocialRadius, Greenberg Traurig. This event was in NYC on Thursday, August 29, 2013.

    Photo of Sam Rubenstein, President, Panacea Capital Advisors, Inc. Sam Rubenstein
    Panacea Capital Advisors
    Read the full profile for Sam here!
    Panacea Capital Advisors
    Sam Rubenstein is the President of Panacea Capital Advisors, Inc., a venture capital and strategic advisory firm based in Bethesda, Maryland, that works with a broad range of US middle market companies. In addition to startup and early stage Food Tech, Music Tech and other technology-enabled B2B services with an innovative or disruptive focus, Panacea Capital also invests in and provides strategic advisory services to middle market companies in foodservice, content and information services, outdoor media, distribution and supply chain services, marketing services, financial services, crowd funding services and some consumer retail.

    Sam currently serves as an active director and trusted advisor to (1) a digital outdoor media company, (2) an advertising and sponsorship supported indie music video production and distribution company (, (3) a B2B ecommerce platform that connects foodservice distributors and specialty manufacturers with wholesale food buyers (, (4) an interactive music technology platform focused on the hospitality and retail markets (, (5) a consumer retail business (Party City franchisee), and (6) a quick-service restaurant group (Wendy's franchisee).

    Prior to forming Panacea Capital in 2011, Sam worked as a lawyer in private practice and as a senior executive of a publicly-traded investment company and SBIC for nearly 25 years advising financial services companies, investors and U.S. middle-market businesses with identifying, structuring and/or negotiating in excess of 600 debt and equity financing transactions as well as M&A, joint venture, strategic alliance and other corporate development transactions that involved collectively an aggregate investment amount exceeding $6 billion.

    Photo of Kristin Calve, Angel Investor, Topstone Angels Kristin Calve
    Topstone Angels
    Read the full profile for Kristin here!
    Topstone Angels
    Kristin is a serial entrepreneur with experience in startups, mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, new product development, nonprofits, as well as commercial and residential real estate. She has extensive experience in both traditional and new media, including executive positions at American Lawyer Media, The Deal, and A&E/The Histo ry Channel. Kristin currently serves on the Board of Green Guide Living and is a mentor to the NY Region of the Kairos Society. Her nonprofit experience includes multiple terms as President of the Board of Directors of the YWCA Darien/Norwalk. Kristin graduated from Fordham University with a BA in English Literature and an MBA in Finance and Marketing.

    Photo of Kevin M. McGovern, Angel Investor Kevin McGovern
    Angel Investor
    Angel Investor
    Read the full profile for Kevin here!
    Angel Investor
    Kevin M. McGovern is the Chairman and CEO of McGovern Capital,LLC, which provides investments and business strategy to emerging companies, particularly those engaged in consumer technologies and holders of Intellectual Property Rights. He has founded over a dozen companies, seven (7) of which have become world and/or category leaders, including SoBe Beverages, Tristrata (AHA skincare technology), and KX Industries (home-based water purification).

    Photo of Tom Nicholson, Angel Investor, ARC Angel Fund Tom Nicholson
    Angel Investor
    ARC Angel Fund
    Read the full profile for Tom here!
    ARC Angel Fund
    Tom Nicholson is an entrepreneur, early-stage investor and founder of Nicholson NY, a leading NYC digital agency sold for $75 million to the Interpublic Group (IPG) and IconMedialab of Sweden, today one of the largest Internet consultancies in the world (NYSE-Euronext: LBi). Subsequent to the sale, he served on the company's Board of Directors and was Chairman of the US region prior to his departure in 2009 to focus on the "post-PC" Internet.

    Tom has been an active part of the NYC digital scene since it's inception. Called the dean of multimedia by NY Magazine, his early work helped define the current digital agency model as he and his firm provided guidance and development services to many of the world’s leading global financial, technological, entertainment and cultural institutions such as IBM, McKinsey, MasterCard, Citibank N.A., NBC, Prada and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Under his leadership Nicholson NY/IconNicholson won every major national and international industry award and was consistently ranked by Forrester as one of the top firms in the U.S. and named by AdAge as one of the top three creative firms in the world.

    Since 2010 Tom has been an active early stage investor and advisor to startups such as, the Pandora-style art discovery engine, for which he was the first outside investor, and as a founding member of the Angel Round Capital (ARC) Fund that has identified and supported notable startups including Medivo, UpNext, Uptown Networks, Altruik, iJukebox, CareerMinds and others.

    Tom holds an MFA in Design from Michigan's Cranbrook Academy and has been recognized by Crain's, New York Magazine, New York University and others as a technology leader in the New York area.

    Photo of Jordan Gaspar, Principal, AccelFoods Jordan Gaspar
    Managing Partner
    Read the full profile for Jordan here!
    Jordan is a Managing Partner of AccelFoods, where she is a member of the Investment Committee and is responsible for supervising strategy on legal and investor relations for our entrepreneurs. Jordan also oversees the daily operations of AccelFoods. Jordan serves as a Board Member of Whynatte, JJ’s Sweets and Four Sigma Foods.

    Jordan began her career as a corporate attorney spending most of her time at Morrison Cohen LLP. While at Morrison Cohen, Jordan advised venture and private equity firms and their portfolio companies on acquisitions, sales, mergers, financings (seed, bridge and growth capital), fund formation, leveraged buyouts, and ESOP implementation, as well as public securities offerings/compliance and debt financings.

    In addition, Jordan gained significant tactical operational experience successfully founding and running her own small business in the restaurant/hospitality space, and early-stage investment experience serving as a Managing Director of Golden Seeds, a national angel network that invests in women-run companies.

    Jordan holds a B.A. from Columbia College and a J.D. from Fordham Law School.

    Photo of Trevor Nelson, Managing Partner, Alliance Consumer Growth Trevor Nelson
    Managing Partner
    Alliance Consumer Growth
    Read the full profile for Trevor here!
    Alliance Consumer Growth
    As a co-founder and managing partner of ACG, Trevor enjoys providing a unique level of partnership and capital to entrepreneurs with consumer businesses poised for compelling growth. He has years of experience investing in the consumer industry and executing a variety of financial transactions. Trevor currently serves on the board of Phil's Fresh Foods, maker of EVOL-branded frozen food products.

    Prior to founding ACG, Trevor was a principal with The Lessing Companies, a consumer-focused private equity firm. Earlier in his career, Trevor worked for Texas Pacific Group (TPG Capital), one of the world’s largest private equity firms with over $48 billion of capital under management. As a generalist at TPG, Trevor was involved in transactions in the consumer, industrial and healthcare sectors.

    Before TPG, Trevor spent three years working for the New York-based private equity firm, Harvest Partners where he completed investments in the juvenile products company Evenflo, the natural personal care business Nature's Gate & Nature's Gate Organics, the personal care and beauty business Arbonne International, and the transit bus manufacturer New Flyer Industries.

    Trevor began his career in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group at Lehman Brothers. Trevor holds a B.A. from Northwestern University where he studied political science and was the captain of the men's varsity NCAA soccer team.

    Ray Payne, Angel Investor Ray Payne, Angel Investor

    Former Chief Marketing Officer for Citarella, LLC and its subsidiaries; 5 unit Citarella Gourmet Foods, two unit Citarella Restaurant Group, and Lockwood & Winant, the wholesale fish business of Citarella, LLC; in aggregate, a $150MM privately held family business.

    Former CEO and owner of Uncle Louie G’s, a Brooklyn NY based Italian Ice and Ice Cream franchise concept. Initially acquired the 3 unit chain and grew it to 71 units in 24 months with locations stretching from New England to Florida as well as development and expansion into pre-packaged product program for sale at retail.

    Private Investor in an event planning and production company specializing in the Craft Beer, Wine and Spirits market with gross revenue in excess of $4MM per annum.

    Private Investor in Rachel’s, a Mexican fast casual concept with one current location in Brooklyn, NY with per annum single unit gross sales in excess of $1.3MM.

    Private Equity Investor and Partner in Global Ventures Business Advisers, LLC, an active acquirer of middle-market food and beverage concepts with a focus on franchising and private labeling. The majority of the companies we acquire are entrepreneurial or family owned. We are highly experienced at working with individuals, family groups and management teams and understand the many challenges and sensitivities involved in the transition process.

    Photo of Sam Klepfish, CEO, Innovative Food Holdings Sam Klepfish
    Innovative Food Holdings
    Read the full profile for Sam here!
    Innovative Food Holdings
    Sam Klepfish is the CEO of Innovative Food Holdings- a company which operates innovative gourmet food related businesses. Innovative Food Holdings also leverages it's unique operating position in the gourmet food space to invest in food related companies. Investments are in seed to early stage food related companies which can leverage the food industry value add, that Innovative Food Holdings brings to the table. Sam is also a partner at Tri State Ventures- a NYC based angel investment group and is an angel investor in seed stage companies with clear monetization strategies.

    Joe Zawadzki, Angel Investor Joe Zawadzki, Angel Investor

    MediaMath CEO Joe Zawadzki is a respected pioneer in the online marketing industry, known especially for establishing the demand-side platform sector. With his deep experience in audience targeting and optimization, ad networks and exchanges, and real-time bidding Joe is regularly invited to speak at industry conferences, roundtables and major events.

    After a decade representing buyers at top-tier agencies and Fortune 500 companies, Joe Zawadzki saw the need to reshape the online marketing landscape by integrating technology, data, analytics, and marketing best practices into a single media platform. He founded MediaMath in 2007, launching a technological revolution with the first demand side platform (DSP) and today, the MediaMath Marketing Operating System, TerminalOne, powers the marketing practics of more than 3,500 brands.

    Previously, Joe was founder, president and chairman of Poindexter Systems / [x+1], incubated Right Media, and as managing member of Occam's Razor, shaped AOL’s yield management and DoubleClick's buy-side optimization strategy.

    His early career was spent as an investment banker, where he developed his expertise in quantitative analysis and market dynamics, and he remains an active New York technology investor whose portfolio includes AppNexus, AdSafe, 33Across, C3Metrics, Hashable, Accordant and Spruce Media.

    Joe holds several patents in the area of online methods for dynamic segmentation and content presentation. He is a graduate of Harvard University and was a Teaching Fellow in cosmology, set theory and the history of science.

    Keynote: Benjamin Lee, CircleUp Keynote: Benjamin Lee, CircleUp

    Eduardo Emanuelli, Angel Investor Eduardo Emanuelli, Angel Investor

    Ed Emanuelli was born in raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico; from a young age he's been involved in all sorts of start ups and ventures. The first being a surf company which still exist today, then several young minded ideas like a female talent agency, a tour guide company and a food truck / van way back before food trucks where in. Now a days, after a few successful exits and a few bumps on the road, Ed is leading the charge with a homegrown angel investment group based out of Puerto Rico and trying to play a key role in helping the entrepreneurship ecosystem grow locally in a manner that P.R. can become a center for Caribbean, Central and Latin American innovation and investment.

    Regarding the technicalities, Ed is a licensed state and federal attorney with an L.L.M from Pepperdine University in Negotiation. His interest in the food space came at a young age due to the fact that his family operates one of only two milk manufacturers and distributors in Puerto Rico, amidst other beverages and by-products that are part of their brand. They are currently celebrating 95 years since inception.

    Ed's "other" job is working as Vice President and Sales Leader for Hub international Insurance Brokers. Hub is the 10th largest insurance broker in the world. Ed's local firm used to be the largest local capital firm in Puerto Rico when HUB made an approach to buy the business and have Ed’s team help them lead the charge for a Caribbean and Central American expansion. HUB handles a lot of business in the New York region with corporate offices in the heart of the city, including a start up practice which Ed is focusing on here in NYC.

    Photo of Marit Molin, Principal, Frontier Equities Venture Capital Marit Molin
    Frontier Equities Venture Capital
    Read the full profile for Marit here!
    Frontier Equities Venture Capital
    Marit Molin is a principal at Frontier Equities VC, where she spends most of her time finding and researching early stage companies. Marit was an investor in glacéau/vitamin water and is currently an investor in Nurture Inc/Happy Baby Foods. Marit is also a contributor at, where she analyzes and writes about emerging market companies and mutual funds. After owning her own fashion business for eight years she started analyzing and buying retail stocks, which awakened her interest in the financial and Venture Capital area. Marit holds a degree from NYU.

    Photo of Toan Huynh, Angel Investor, 37 Angels Toan Huynh
    Angel Investor
    37 Angels
    Read the full profile for Toan here!
    37 Angels
    Toan Huynh is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor focusing on food, technology, and start-up. As a successful three-time entrepreneur, Toan has started and successfully exited 2 out of 3 start-ups, including her most recent venture that is a cloud computing firm.

    While Toan enjoys technology, her true passion lies in the creation of a business and food- she has had that opportunity to combine both with her third start-up. The Saucey Sauce Co. is an producer of artisanal, ready-to-serve Vietnamese savory sauces or “nuoc cham”, based locally in Brooklyn, NY. Started on a shoe string and while traveling all over for her other businesses, Toan and her co-founder Ken has grown the business and the sauces can be found in over 25+ specialty stores and on-line e-commerce sites, and ships internationally to Canada and overseas.

    Toan also invested in food start-ups, including the New York Distilling Company, founded by the famed Tom Potter, founder of the Brooklyn Brewery. She is also a member of the 37Angels women-only Angel investor network, specializing in early-stage, seed-round start-ups.

    Photo of Gabriele Corcos, Chef and Host, The Cooking Channels Extra Virgin Gabriele Corcos
    Chef and Host
    Cooking Channels Extra Virgin
    Read the full profile for Gabriele here!
    Cooking Channels Extra Virgin
    Born in Florence, Italy, Gabriele Corcos was raised in the Olive Country of Fiesole. His grandmother and mother taught him everything he knows about Tuscan food and traditional farmers' cuisine. Gabriele has an insatiable fascination with food, a love for organic ingredients, and foremost a determination to feed his wife and children in the healthiest and most natural way he knows...the Tuscan Way. After a few years spent in L.A. catering high-end events and cooking for many celebrities and clients in the entertainment industry, Gabriele was hired as the consulting chef for the prestigious Montauk Yacht Club in Long Island in the summer of 1012. His menu featured traditional farmers cuisine from his home country and a few Super Tuscan takes on American staple recipes. He is currently living in Brooklyn and in the process of opening his first restaurant.

    The hit Cooking Channel show, Extra Virgin, invites viewers into his family's Brooklyn home, where Gabriele and his wife, actress Debi Mazar, share their passion for food and each other. She's a modern girl from Queens, and he's a food purist from the hills of Tuscany. With their two young daughters, they have a home life that is pleasantly chaotic and filled with only home cooked Tuscan meals. Gabriele and Deborah created, produce and host the show Extra Virgin which airs domestically on the Cooking Channel and globally on the Food Network International platforms.

    The couple is set to release their first cookbook with Clarkson/Potter during Spring 2014.

    Photo of Derek Denckla, Chairman, NYC LION Derek Denckla
    Foodshed Investors NY
    Read the full profile for Derek here!
    Foodshed Investors NY
    Derek Denckla is an impact investor, strategic advisor and serial social entrepreneur. For fifteen years his firm, Denckla Projects, has provided advisory services and sourced investment capital for sustainable and ethical companies. He has worked with beloved local brands and projects, such as Egg Restaurant,, Brandworkers, Brooklyn Grange, Liddabit Sweets, Cracked Candy, Majora Carter Group, MetaMenu, Provenance Meals, Brooklyn Food Works, Red Hook Community Farm, Local Farms Fund, Blue Marble Organic Ice Cream, Greenbelt Condos and many others. He founded non-profit Slow Money NYC since 2011 – a community of 4,000 linked through networking events that explore investing in local, sustainable food and farm business. Denckla produces the large regional gathering promoting sustainable food business investing at the annual Food + Enterprise Summit. For the last five years, he founded and managed Foodshed Investors NY, the first angel investor network dedicated to funding local and sustainable food business. Their work is guided by “Slow Money” Principles – deploying patient impact capital to alter the nature of the current food system. Denckla is an Adjunct Professor at NYU, teaching topics in sustainable food business practices and markets. He is invited to write and speak regularly on impact investing, sustainable food and farm enterprise development.

    Photo of John Warburg, Partner, Warbros Venture Partners John Warburg
    Warbros Venture Partners
    Read the full profile for John here!
    Warbros Venture Partners
    Prior to co-founding Warbros, John spent eight years working in various marketing capacities in the consumer packaged goods industry - first at Best Foods/CPC, where he managed major food brands, such as Skippy Peanut Butter, and later as a marketing consultant to large and small companies in a variety of industries. In between, he worked at Callard & Bowser (a small candy company later acquired by Kraft Foods), where he helped to build Altoids Peppermints from an unknown $7M brand into the #1 selling mint product in the U.S. with sales today of over $100M. Prior to these experiences, John worked in equity research at Lehman Brothers.

    Photo of David Gitlin, Partner, Greenberg Traurig LLC David Gitlin
    Corporate & Securities
    GT GreenbergTraurig
    Read the full profile for David here!
    GT GreenbergTraurig
    David Gitlin focuses his practice on corporate and securities, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, technology development and corporate finance. For more than 30 years, David has counseled foreign clients doing business in the United States and U.S. clients doing business abroad. He has structured more than 200 M&A deals, over half of which have been cross-border transactions involving leading businesses in Finland, India, Israel and Sweden, among others. His representation of U.S. clients has included the purchase or sale of businesses in more than 15 countries. David represents both U.S. and foreign venture capital funds, and has handled numerous technology development transactions, particularly in the life sciences area. These include drug development, licensing and joint venture agreements involving biotech and pharmaceutical companies, as well as collaborations between industry and academia. David received his law degree from Tel Aviv University Law School and received his LL.M. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New York and Israel. David is recognized by Chambers USA as a leading M&A attorney and is nationally ranked as a leading Venture Capital attorney. In 2005, he was recognized by the mayors of Philadelphia and Tel Aviv for exceptional accomplishments in developing business opportunities for Israeli companies in the United States. Prior to joining the firm, David was partner in the corporate practice of a large, multidisciplinary law firm. He also practiced at a Philadelphia-based law firm, where he chaired the corporate/securities practice group and was a member of the firm’s executive committee.

    Photo of Alain Bankier, Angel Investor, New York Angels Alain Bankier
    Angel Investor
    New York Angels
    Read the full profile for Alain here!
    New York Angels
    Alain Bankier is active shareholder and board member of The Manischewitz Company, a serial entrepreneur and an active early stage/ angel investor. In 2002, Alain co-founded the Saveur Food Group (SFG) to create, acquire and build small to midsized branded food companies and in2008 Manischewitz was merged with SFG. In the mid 90’s,Alain was a co-founder of NYNMA’s angel investment group, which was the precursor of the New York Angels(NYA). As a leading member of the NYA, Alain invests in a wide variety of technology, media and content companies. Alain has been a board member and advisor to a variety of companies and has been instrumental in achieving exit opportunities for several of these businesses.

    Combining his knowledge of the food industry and his experience in the tech and media startup world, Alain has been focusing on investment opportunities at the intersection of food, media and technology. This includes investments, among others, in and Plated.

    Before his adventures in the food industry, Alain was a founder of an international boutique investment bank, which he sold to BNP Parisbas, where he was the Head of Mergers and Acquisitions- Corporate Finance North Americas.

    Photo of Brian Beach, President, Sysco Ventures Brian Beach
    Sysco Ventures
    Read the full profile for Brian here!
    Sysco Ventures
    Brian Beach is the president of Sysco Ventures and the senior vice president for business development at Sysco Corporation. With revenues of more than $44 billion, Sysco is the global leader in selling, marketing and distributing food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, lodging establishments and other customers who prepare meals away from home. Sysco Ventures is a new strategic initiative focused on innovative technologies and solutions to help restaurants better compete and grow their business. Brian joined the company in February 2011.

    Previously, Brian was the senior vice president for administration and business ventures at the University of Florida. In this role, he served as the chief administrative and operations officer for the university and he was responsible for various strategic business initiatives and ventures.

    Prior to his role at UF, Brian spent nearly 15 years in venture capital, investment banking, and consulting. Brian holds an MBA and a bachelor of science degree, majoring in finance, with highest honors, from the University of Florida.

    Photo of Keynote: Don Stein, Partner, Greenberg Traurig LLC Don  Stein
    GT GreenbergTraurig
    Read the full profile for Don here!
    GT GreenbergTraurig
    Donald Stein focuses his practice on federal regulatory issues, and in particular United States Customs law, trade remedies and trade policy issues. From dealing with imports and the myriad of laws enforced by the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (Customs), he has also developed experience in practicing before other federal regulatory agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. He is also experienced in working with both the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in connection with trade law and trade policy issues.

    In the Customs area, Don has wide-ranging experience representing clients in the apparel and agriculture sectors, as well as in many other industries, in tariff classification, valuation, country of origin and country of origin marking matters, as well as defending clients against Customs claims for penalties, liquidated damages, and/or the redelivery of goods. He has also worked closely with U.S. intellectual property owners to help protect their intellectual property against unauthorized and infringing imports. Under the Customs regime of "informed compliance," Don has worked with his clients to advise and ensure that they structure their import operations in a manner that is fully compliant with all Customs rules and regulations. He has also worked with clients to design and implement Customs compliance programs.

    In the trade policy area, Don has represented the interest of clients in trade preference matters (free trade agreements and special trade programs), as well as in matters pending before the Congress which may affect their interests. He also provides advice to clients on World Trade Organization (WTO) related issues.

    From his representation of foreign exporters and U.S. importers of food products and other types of products regulated by U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Don has developed valuable skills in FDA-related matters. In addition to his Customs and FDA-related practices, he counsels clients with respect to matters requested by the FTC and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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