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  • Here are the Investor speakers from our Sold-Out Food Investing Conference, sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, WeiserMazars, Pura Vida Tequila, Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water, Public House Wine, Nolcha. This event was in NYC on Thursday, August 21, 2014.

    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.

    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.

    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 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 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 Sam Klepfish, 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.

    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 Kevin 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 Jim Schultz, Managing Partner, Open Prairie Ventures Jim Schultz
    Managing Partner
    Open Prairie Ventures
    Read the full profile for Jim here!
    Open Prairie Ventures
    In 1999, Jim founded Open Prairie Ventures I as a $40 million fund focused on Midwest seed and early stage technology opportunities. Jim has a diverse background in start-up companies, investment banking, and entrepreneurial ventures. He has been an active investor in a wide variety of industries, including: medical services and medical device technologies, semiconductor, software development, e-commerce, construction, financial services, and information technology.

    Jim remains active on the boards of Epiworks and Venomix. He has served as Chairman of the Board/CEO of Telemind Capital Corporation, a Midwest-based merchant banking group, and has served as Chairman of the Board of Prime Banc Corporation, a Central Illinois multi-bank holding company. In addition, he has served on the board of numerous Midwest-based technology corporations.

    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 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 Kathleen Murray, Executive Forum Angels Kathleen Murray
    Executive Forum Angels
    Read the full profile for Kathleen here!
    Executive Forum Angels
    Kathy Murray is owner of McMorran Strategists, LLC. Earlier, Kathy held C-Suite level positions at publicly-traded firms and partnerships - Aetna, PwC and FARO - in sales, business development and operations. Other affiliations include: Emeriti Board & Immediate Past President of Harvard Business School Women's Association of NY, Trustee on the University of Rochester Board, Board Member at the Daily Gazette (a Schenectady family-owned publishing firm), Advisor to TempBuddy (a Dublin startup software for managing temp employees), Chair of Executive Forum, Founder of Executive Forum Angels and Fellow at the Foreign Policy Association. Kathy is also a frequent speaker/instructor on business development, angel investing, innovation, strategic thinking and building relationships. Kathy received a BA in Math/General Science from the University of Rochester and the Advanced Management Program Degree from Harvard Business School.

    Photo of Moderator: Kevin Pianko, WeiserMazars Kevin Pianko
    Read the full profile for Kevin here!
    Kevin is an audit partner and performs audits of public and private companies and assists them with the financial and operational aspects of their business.

    He helps clients obtain sources of capital and provides M&A and strategic alliance analysis. Kevin has industry experience in numerous sectors including technology, private equity and venture capital, life sciences, manufacturing and distribution, professional services, and financial services. He has extensive experience with 33 Act and 34 Exchange Act filings, including initial public offerings.

    Kevin has extensive experience in working with private equity and venture capital entities at the fund level and the portfolio company level. He brings practical experience in working with earlier stage companies to assist them in dealing with issues they face as they progress along their development timeline. He is actively involved in many technology focused organizations. He is an angel investor in the Angel Round Capital Fund located in New York City, where he serves on the Executive Committee and also chairs the Audit Committee.

    Kevin has been quoted in numerous business publications such as Crain's New York Business, Fortune Small Business, Commerce magazine and NJBIZ. He has also been a speaker at the New York State Bar Association and the New Jersey Bar Association. Kevin has appeared on Bloomberg Radio, CNBC and NBC.

    Kevin's career also includes 10 years of professional experience with two of the Big 4 and national accounting firms.

    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.

    Tong Shen, Investment Partner, SOSventures & Food-X Tong Shen, Investment Partner, SOSventures & Food-X

    Shen Tong moved from Massachusetts to New York in year 2000 focusing more exclusively on his media ventures and writing. He is known for his promotion of "Context Media" partially due to his keynote speech at a super session of National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas, 2007. His media businesses in 1990s included TV production B&B Media Production, with the Boston-based foundation he chaired being the lead investor and providing senior management, and investment in bookstore and publishing in Beijing. B&B Media Production had created and produced several highly circulated and acclaimed TV programs, including No.1 rated national weekend prime time show Tell It Like It Is during its first season.

    James Prochnow, Shareholder, GreenbergTraurig James Prochnow, Shareholder, GreenbergTraurig

    Photo of David Gitlin, Shareholder, GreenbergTraurig 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 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 Ason, Angel Investor John Ason

    Angel Investor
    Read the full profile for John here!
    Angel Investor
    John Ason has been an angel investor for over 18 years specializing in early stage pre-revenue companies. He has made over sixty eclectic investments in the areas of e-commerce, technology, advertising, digital social media and entertainment. For about half of his investments, John has been the lead angel devoting a significant amount of his time to mentoring the companies. A typical company consists of one or two people in a garage or kitchen with minimal or no revenues. Any capital efficient industry with high growth potential qualifies with the exception of medical and biotech qualifies. As a starting point, John will accept only one page executive level summaries via email (

    Some of John's notable exits include, sold to Oracle and sold to Amazon for $545 million.

    Prior to being an angel investor John had a career at AT&T Bell Labs. He spent the first ten years doing bleeding edge technology development and then 15 years marketing large telecommunications systems to international telecommunications companies. John guest lectures at NJIT, Fairleigh Dickinson, Rutgers, NYU and Wharton. John is a mentor at the Entrepreneurial Roundtable, DreamIt, TechLaunch, and Worldwide Investor Network accelerators. John is an advisor to the Astia and Springboard womens organizations. John has a BS in Mathematics from the Illinois Institute of Technology. John’s hobbies include traveling, golf, Go (Asian game) and mentoring companies. Please visit his website at and his pins at

    Janice Collins, The Refinery Janice Collins, The Refinery

    Janis, entrepreneur in residence for CTNext, and the Stamford Innovation Center, is a mentor and advisor to early stage ventures. She started and leads a women’s entrepreneur forum, Founder’s Connect, to help provide women entrepreneurs of Fairfield County more access to capital, networks and knowledge.

    A committed and passionate advisor to startups, she recently created Juice, an event to connect food innovators, mentors and investors. Janis coaches dozens of regional startups, using her proven methodology to help them develop their pitch, refine their business models, and create their go-forward plans.

    She has been helping companies innovate, create and quickly launch new businesses for more than 25 years. First, through her own company, which focused on helping high tech startups and then later advising and funding new financial service companies. Janis has helped found and launch several companies including two non-profit organizations.

    Earlier career roles include Consulting Partner at KPMG, where she worked with top financial service firms, leveraging innovation techniques to recreate businesses. With a focus on electronic markets, she participated in developing the consortium models and strategies for several electronic securities markets and exchanges. Janis also served as Managing Director at JPMorgan's LabMorgan, the angel investor group and incubator which advised and funded new electronic market ventures.

    Dedicated to community service and always an innovator, Janis is a member of Westport's Board of Finance, where she developed a new budget reporting format to create more transparency. Previously, as Chairman of Westport's Parks and Rec, she created an innovative public/private solution to continue the investment in the Town’s parks and recreation facilities.

    Angel Investors