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Jaime Athos, Ph.D

CEO, Tofurky

Jaime Athos is a visionary and passionate leader in the plant-based foods industry. With more than 14 years of experience building and supporting its growth, Athos is energized by the ever-increasing opportunity and adoption of plant-based foods worldwide. Prior to his current role as President and CEO at The Tofurky Company, Athos held a variety of other positions within the brand that is also his family’s business, from a college summer job making tempeh to positions in the quality, R&D and operations departments and stints as both an academic and a government scientist in his previous career as a neurobiologist.

As a category leader, Tofurky serves a purpose beyond the plate, acting as an engine for global change. Athos exemplifies and manifests this change by way of plant-based political activism, eco-friendly manufacturing, and pursuit of food innovation that helps people to make better choices for farm animals, the environment and health.

Athos holds a Doctoral degree in neurobiology and behavior from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Science degree in fish biology from the same. He is a founding member of the Plant Based Foods Association, where he currently serves as president of the Board. The association aims to ensure a fair and competitive marketplace for all businesses selling plant-based foods, promoting policies and practices that improve opportunities for the industry, and educating consumers.


Chris Albrecht

Editor, The Spoon

Chris Albrecht covers startups and other food and kitchen related technology for The Spoon. In previous roles, Albrecht has been Creative Director for Gigaom and Editor and Staff Writer at Gigaom. He was the MC for most of Gigaom's events and is Master of Ceremonies at the Smart Kitchen Summit.

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Suleiman Alhadidi

Changing Places Research Lead - City Science, MIT Media Lab

Suleiman Alhadidi is an architect, researcher, and engineer. He is a Research Lead at the City Science Group - MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on developing the next generation of affordable robotically enabled buildings that promote more entrepreneurial, livable, and high-performing built environment and cities. His projects include advanced transformable architecture for micro-units, design-to-build prefabrication manufacturing systems, urban living lab, co-sharing/co-living environments, Building Information Modelling, Sustainable and data-driven designs, smart cities, and advance robotic fabrication technologies. Suleiman has a private architecture practice called O(n) Studio based in Australia that aim at building the next generation of smart environments. He has an affiliation with Harvard University - Graduate School of Design, Material Processes and Systems Group (MaP+S), and the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Alhadidi received several international awards including the 2018 American Australian Association Award (AAA) as a Chevron Scholar for the work he has been doing in sustainable architecture. He received academic awards from the University of Melbourne and Harvard University whereby he is conducting his doctoral research work. He received project awards in France, USA, Jordan, South Korea, and Australia.

Suleiman taught graduate and undergraduate levels at several universities including the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne.

His previous research work includes Internet of Things, robotics in design, Augmented Reality, computational design, and sustainable architecture. During 2016-2018, Suleiman took an elected position in the administration council of The Association for Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia, he currently serves as a reviewer for several architecture journals and conferences such as ACADIA and CAADRIA.

Alhadidi practiced architecture for more than a decade in Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and the United States. He is a registered architect in New South Wales in Australia. He worked previously with well-known architecture practices such as Coop Himmelblau, Laceco, HASSELL, and BVN. At BVN he developed research work in collaborative robotics and performance-driven design on large scale projects such as stadiums and towers. At HASSELL, he established and led the computational design group where he was part of the winning teams for significant architecture projects in Australia and Asia.


Tom Allison

Head of Investments, ZX Ventures

At ZX Ventures, Tom leads the Investments team, focusing on developing the investment strategy, sourcing opportunities and building partnerships with amazing companies. Tom joined ZXV from McKinsey & Company, where he focused on strategy and transactions work for clients in consumer goods, advanced electronics, and aerospace and defense. Prior to McKinsey, Tom served in the military as a ground force commander in a Special Operations Unit. Tom is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and holds an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Beth Altringer

Founder, Flavor Genome Project, Harvard University

Dr. Altringer is faculty at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She founded the Flavor Genome Project (FGP), which is developing new ways to automatically understand flavor. FGP combines millions of ingredient, recipe, and review data points and uses natural language processing to identify patterns or ‘genres’ of flavor preferences based on how ingredients and dishes are described by experts, scientists, and reviewers on the Internet. They aim to get to the point of automated understanding of what people are intuitively searching for in a food or drink experience, regardless of the language they use to search for it, intelligently understanding flavor goals in context, and, ultimately, making it easier for people to discover experiences they are likely to enjoy. Dr. Altringer also created an iOS game called Chef League as a fun, interactive way for people to learn from FGP’s data. Players compete to design the tastiest recipe and get feedback from Chef AIs built from historical data on real professional chef’s flavor preferences.

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Erik Andrejko

CTO, wellio

Erik has spent his career making a positive impact on the world through machine learning. He is a co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of wellio - an early stage startup applying AI to the intersection of food and human health. Recently wellio was acquired by Kraft Heinz to launch a new digital hub, evolv group. At evolv, Erik is building software technology to empower individuals to improve their lives through food by combining augmented intelligence in the food domain and unique consumer experiences.

Before a successful acquisition Erik lead the data science and research organization at The Climate Corporation, which applies data science to solve challenging problems in numerous domains including climatology, agronomic modeling and geospatial applications.

When not analyzing interesting datasets, Erik can often be found riding up some incline on a bicycle or cooking.

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Silvia Baldini


Silvia Baldini is a former advertising art director and an Italian-born chef known for her work with popular Italian ingredients. She is knowledgeable and passionate about food, health, sustainable product design and believes that wholesome cooking and traditional wisdom combined with technology will be the key to living a happy and healthy life. Silvia is an exceptional and passionate speaker, storyteller, educator, a vibrant creator, product developer, food entrepreneur and a women’s rights advocate.

Following a distinguished and award-winning career as an art director on Madison Avenue, Silvia pursued culinary training at ICC in NYC and graduated first in class at Cordon Bleu in London.

She specializes in culinary development, new biz dev, food start up implementation, marketing, keynote presentations about women changing careers, food and wellness, food and technology, design and sustainable living.

She has a particular interest in educational programs, restaurant management, product development and placement, event management, tv appearances, shows development and production, advertising, design, innovation content initiatives, branding.

Appeared on Food Network shows; Chef Chris Santos declared her dessert: “The best dessert on this show ever.” Became the first professional female chef in Connecticut to win Chopped, the award-winning show on Food Network.
Returned to Food Network as one of 16 chefs competing in the last season of Chopped Champions. Recently competed on Beat Bobby Flay.

- Cooking series on FabFitFun.com with over seven million viewers. Large and loyal social following on all platforms.
- Work and recipes have been published in Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Parents Magazine, TeenVogue, Reader's Digest, Thrillist, Refinery29, Country Magazine, Saveur, Martha Stewart, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Independent.
- TV appearances include CNN, ABC, and Dr. Oz.
- Frequent keynote speaker and industry panelist, sharing extensive experience in the food and media industry.


Bill Birgen

CEO, Soggy Food Sucks

Bill is a recent convert to the food space. In a previous life he was a system developer and annalist in the space and defense industries. Bill now uses his innovative problem solving experience to launch products focused on food delivery; specifically food quality and security.


Peter Bodenheimer

Program Director, Food-X

Peter Bodenheimer started his career in the food business before moving to technology and early stage ventures. Since joining his first startup in Boston in the mid 1990’s he has focused on building products that drive businesses forward. Prior to joining SOSV, Peter served as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Idea Village in New Orleans and as the COO of Plantbid, an early stage technology company in the Agtech space. Before that, Peter was a partner in and helped grow software development firm Flatstack and co-founded and ran Launch Pad Ignition, an accelerator based in New Orleans, LA where he worked with dozens of companies to help refine and grow their business.

In addition to his work at Food-X, Peter is fascinated by the potential of Blockchain as a technology, loves the challenge of a good poker game, and occasionally can be found behind a bar mixing up something interesting.

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Adam Brotman

CEO, Brightloom

Adam Brotman is ceo of Brightloom, where he and his team are building the first ever digital flywheel technology platform for restaurants. A long-time technology innovator, Adam is passionate about helping brands build meaningful customer relationships through loyalty, mobile technology and personalized digital engagement. Adam was recognized as one of the 100 Most Creative People by Fast Company in 2012, and was named CDO of the Year by the CDO Club in 2015.

Most recently Adam was co-CEO, President and Chief Experience Officer at J.Crew, where he was responsible for launching their first-ever loyalty program. Prior to that, he spent a decade in various leadership roles at Starbucks, where he served as Executive Vice President of Global Retail Operations as well as Chief Digital Officer. He was integral in developing and driving much of the company’s best-in-class digital platforms, such as loyalty, mobile apps, mobile payment, mobile ordering, customer-data driven personalized marketing, promoted and social media strategies, digital partnerships, and more.

Adam started his career as an attorney and then served as CEO of two companies – Barefoot Yoga Company and PlayNetwork, a provider of digital music and video services for restaurants and retailers worldwide. Adam holds a JD from the University of Washington School of Law, and a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles. He currently serves on the board of MOD Pizza Company and previously on the boards of Neiman Marcus and Brooks Running Shoe Company.

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Michelle Buffardi

VP of Digital for Food, Discovery Digital Studios

Michelle Buffardi is the Vice President of Digital for the Food category at Discovery Digital Studios, overseeing editorial and programming strategy for culinary content at FoodNetwork.com, Food.com and CookingChannelTV.com. Her team creates recipe, how-to, shopping and restaurant content across digital platforms to inspire, instruct and delight home cooks and Food Network fans, bring in new audience and drive revenue. Michelle has worked at Food Network for over 9 years and previously worked at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. She is also the author of the cookbook, Great Balls of Cheese, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


Kevin Brown

Co-founder and CEO, Innit

Kevin Brown is the CEO and co-founder of Innit. He is an accomplished entrepreneur and executive with more than 20 years experience in the networking, storage, security, and cloud sectors. Prior to joining Innit, Kevin served in roles including CEO of Kidaro (acquired: MSFT), Vice President at Decru (acquired: NTAP), and VP/GM and founding team at Internet infrastructure pioneer Inktomi (NASDAQ: INKT, acquired: YHOO). Kevin is a Fellow at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business where he sits on the Dean's Advisory Council, and earned his Bachelor's and MBA degrees at UC Berkeley, where he served as MBA class president.

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Chiara Cecchini

U.S. Director, Future Food Institute

Chiara is Future Food Institute Director in the United States. Based in California, she is also a Research Scholar at Food Science and Technology at UC Davis; she is a Researcher Barilla Center Food Nutrition Foundation, a Research Affiliate at Institute For The Future and a Global Shaper for the World Economic Forum. She writes for The Spoon, Food Tank and Make:.

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Nate Cho

Director of Connectivity Strategy & Ecosystems, Electrolux

Nate Cho is the Director of Connectivity Strategy & Ecosystems at Electrolux. He is responsible for the launch of connected appliances, driving new business models, and strategic partnerships in the IoT space. He is greatly enjoying this role in bringing meaningful innovations at the intersection of technology and food to the market. Before that, he led innovation for Cold products at Electrolux.

Prior to Electrolux, Nate spent eight years at Northrop Grumman in a variety of roles including leading their innovation activities.

Nate has an Executive Masters in Technology Management from The University of Pennsylvania and The Wharton School, and a Masters in Systems Engineering from Cornell University.

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Dochul Choi, Ph.D.

SVP, Global Business and Technology Strategy, Digital Appliances Business, Samsung Electronics Co

Dr. Dochul Choi, Senior Vice President for global business and technology strategy, at Samsung Electronics, is based in Samsung office in Pine Brook, New Jersey, USA. He oversees business growth opportunities and product development activities for Samsung’s HVAC and appliance business, including air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, cooking ranges and vacuum cleaners. He also provides strategic advice to business and R&D executives on future innovations and emerging technologies to achieve disruptive business goals.

Dr. Choi’s responsibilities also include government affairs, global standardization and regulatory activities as well as trade association activities for Samsung household appliance division. Dr Choi serves as the treasurer and board of director of AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers in USA) and a Steering Committee Member of APPLiA (Home Appliance Association in Europe) and EPEE (European Partnership for Energy and the Environment).

Prior to his current position, he was the head of Samsung Home Appliance Research Center, and Chief Technology Officer of Digital Appliances Business Division. He was responsible for global product development activities, business development, and also commercialization of appliances and core components for the division.

Before joining Samsung in 2004, he was with United Technologies Research Center as a Research Fellow, conducting pioneering research in computer simulation and modelling for applications in military and civil aviation. During his UTC tenure, he served as an Industrial Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He also worked at AVCO Research Laboratory, TEXTRON, as a Principal Research Scientist. Before coming to the US for the graduate study, he was a Senior Research Scientist in Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute in Seoul, Korea.

He earned his PhD and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania.

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Mardonn Chua

Co-Founder & CTO, Endless West

Mardonn is the co-founder and CTO of Endless West, makers of molecular wines and spirits. Prior to Endless West, he was founder and CEO of a biotech startup for stem cell manufacturing. Mardonn holds an Honours BSc in Biotechnology from the University of British Columbia.

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Thomas Cooper

CEO, Pantri

Tom is the CEO of Pantri - a new middleware platform that connects IoT appliances to online retailers - creating the first supermarket where only machines can shop.

Tom believes that in the future - our personal devices will do most of the shopping, creating new revenue opportunities for appliance manufacturers, more disruption for traditional retail, and a new level of convenience for the consumer. He looks forward to sharing his thoughts on how he sees this new world unfolding over the coming decade.

Pantri are recent alumni of the B/S/H Techstars Future Home Accelerator in Munich, Germany.

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Lou Cooperhouse

Co-founder, President & CEO, BlueNalu

Lou Cooperhouse is co-founder, President & CEO of BlueNalu, which has a mission to become the global leader in "cellular aquaculture", and provide great tasting seafood products that are healthy for people, humane for sea life, and sustainable for our planet. BlueNalu will produce seafood products directly from fish cells, and be able to create a more stable global supply chain and also make significant contributions towards preserving the health, sustainability, and biodiversity of our oceans.

Lou is recognized as a leading global authority in food business innovation and technology commercialization, with extensive leadership experiences throughout his 35-year career in the food industry. He is a results-driven professional, and has led cross-functional teams in a wide array of industry settings that include: multinational corporations, foodservice and retail operations, new business startups, mid-sized and family-run companies, university entrepreneurship and innovation centers, and industry trade associations.


Ashley Daigneault

Vice President, Caster Communications

Ashley Daigneault is Vice President of Caster Communications, a full service tech and lifestyle PR, marketing, social and events firm. Ashley has worked with Mike Wolf and his team on SKS from the beginning; she has also contributed to The Spoon and can sometimes be heard on the Smart Kitchen Show. Ashley has consulted in consumer and B2B tech for over a decade and holds an MBA from Marylhurst University.

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Joe Derochowski

VP, Home Industry Advisor, NPD Group

Joe Derochowski has been helping manufacturers and retailers identify opportunities for growth for the past 30 years whether through new innovation, new ways to market, or new ways to sell and merchandise their products. Joe helps companies understand the trends of today and helps anticipate the future. Joe combines both a consumer and an industry driven approach leveraging NPD’s point of sale and consumer databases and his experiences from his days at The NPD Group, Procter & Gamble, AT&T, General Motors, and Nielsen. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In addition to working with manufacturers and retailers in the Home Industry, Joe is a frequent speaker at conferences and writes or contributor to industry and national media articles on the Home Industry and consumer behavior.

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Marc Drucker

VP of Product and Strategy at Drinkworks

As VP of Product and Strategy at Drinkworks, Marc is responsible for driving product strategy, design and development. He plays an integral role in the company’s path to effectively define and position the product’s value to consumers. Marc joined Drinkworks with over 15 years of experience across innovation, product management and business development roles, most recently serving as AB-InBev’s Global Director where he focused on ABI’s long-term innovation portfolio, advanced technologies and external partnerships.

Previously, he was General Manager of Newlogic, a consulting firm for innovation, portfolio management, consumer insights and product management. At Arthur D. Little, he re-launched and led their innovation lab for customers in the medical and consumer categories.

Marc has received more than 10 patents and multiple product awards. He has contributed to outlets like BusinessWeek, Innovation Magazine and US News & World Report. He has presented on innovation topics at various industry events and to the FDA, DARPA, Department of Defense, NIH and the Office of Veteran's Affairs.
Marc studied Software and BioTech Engineering at California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo, Ca.), before earning his Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from Art Center College (Pasadena, Ca.) and an MBA from Babson College (Wellesley, Ma.).

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Steven Drucker

Droaster Laboratories, Inc.

Steve Drucker’s expert cooking intelligence innovations have been embedded in over two million microwave ovens. His food and oven operating system/BIOS patents have been cited by more than one hundred and twenty-subsequent patents. Steve is a founding member of the International Microwave Power Institute RF Section and Chairperson of the RF Section Food Process Architecture Open Source Initiative. He is the past chef proprietor of two nationally recognized restaurants and holds a B.S. in engineering from Cornell University.

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Dr. Lisa Dyson

Co-founder and CEO, Air Protein

Dr. Lisa Dyson is the co-founder and CEO of Air Protein, whose mission is to create the world’s most sustainable protein from CO2. Using a patented-protected probiotic process, Air Protein is forging the way into a new era of sustainable food production (air-based protein) by creating food from elements found in the air we breathe. Dr. Lisa Dyson is also the co-founder and CEO of Kiverdi, a company fighting the climate crisis with technology that recycles carbon to address global issues like the ocean’s plastic problem and waste reduction.

As an entrepreneur, Dr. Dyson challenges business leaders to replace extractive forms of production for new, sustainable solutions. Dr. Lisa Dyson holds a PhD in physics from MIT and has done research in bioengineering, energy and physics at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and Princeton University, along with being a Fulbright Scholar at the Imperial College London. Lisa has been recognized as one of the Most Creative People in Business 2017 by Fast Company and San Francisco Business Times’ Forever Influential Honor Roll.

Through her interest in sustainable solutions and time spent consulting, Dr. Dyson recognized the existing supply chain model is unfit for the needs of the planet’s growing population. She co-founded Kiverdi and developed a series of commercial solutions to remove atmospheric carbon or recycle carbon-based products to create nutrients and bio-based products.

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Riley Eller

Chief Technology Officer, Rubica

Riley Eller brings more than two decades of unifying the best of two worlds: hacking and security. He’s merged these worlds by teaming with hackers and mainstream experts alike, emerging as a global champion for imagining creative approaches to security problems. He is one of the inventors (as well as a three-time winner) of the DEF CON Capture the Flag challenge, an internationally-recognized tool for measuring security talent. His roots on the fringe side of digital security have created an executive who merges thoughtful defensive tactics and rigorous quality standards. Riley always has his eye on the delicate balance between usability and security.


Hamed Faridi

Chief Science Office, McCormick

A renowned food industry leader, Dr. Faridi heads a global team of 500+ scientists responsible for thought leadership, scientific research, product development, Health & Wellness, and sustainability to support the global businesses of the world’s largest flavor company -- McCormick and Company, Inc. Dr. Faridi is the voice of science for McCormick & Company and advises the company’s CEO, and senior executives on strategic corporate initiatives such as technology investment and potential M&As and serves on several business councils.  

Under his leadership, McCormick’s R&D program has been transformed and is rated by investors and global customers as one of the most innovative in the industry. Morningstar, a respected leader in investment research, wrote, “Under Hamed Faridi, McCormick’s research labs have become the best in the industry, in our opinion.”  Bear Stearns reported “For McCormick, perhaps the most sustainable growth driver beyond even acquisition and marketing is R&D”. His science-based approach to “Flavorful Healthy Eating” is recognized as a groundbreaking platform for improving public health. His vision led to the formation of the McCormick Science Institute (MSI) in 2006 as a research-driven organization to advance scientific understanding of the potential health benefits of culinary spices and herbs. This research prompted a close partnership with USDA, HHS and the White House to help in implementation of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. He was also featured on the cover of the December 2015 Packaging World magazine, an issue which recognizes McCormick as one of the most innovative Packaging R&D organizations in the industry.


In 2013, in partnership with IBM, he initiated the creation of an AI platform for food and flavor product development with the potential to change the course of the industry and enhance the universal eating experience of consumers around the world by tapping in on over 40 years of sensory, culinary, chemistry and scientific data collected by McCormick R&D scientists in 14 countries.


He has published six books and dozens of scientific articles in food science and technology and has been a guest lecturer at conferences and research institutions in 22 countries. He has also served on several boards of professional and trade associations in the U.S. and Europe. He was elected and served as president of the American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACCI) and the Flavor & Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA).

In addition, he has served on Advisory Councils of food science departments for four major universities. He is the recipient of numerous awards and was honored as a Fellow by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in 2010 and the AACCI in 2011.  He is the recipient of Kansas State University 2013 Outstanding Alumni Award. In 2015, he received the Flavor Industry’s most coveted Richard L. Hall Distinguished Service Award for “his significant and lasting contributions to the flavor industry”. He received the 2016 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, given to “Americans in recognition for accomplishments in their field and inspired service to the nation”.  On September of 2017 he received the Ohio State University’s Harris Award for his lifetime of dedication to excellence in food science. Dr. Faridi received the Upwardly Global 2017 Outstanding Leadership Award that recognizes individuals who have advanced the promise of an interdependent world and global economy by championing immigrants and refugees.

 Dr. Faridi is on the Board of Trustees at Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) in Laurel, MD, and has served on the Board of Directors of the St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Maryland (2005-12).

Prior to joining McCormick & Company in 1997, Dr. Faridi served on the faculty of Washington State University (1979-1983) and held R&D executive positions at Nabisco Food Group from 1983 to 1997 where he received several awards for innovation and business impact.   Dr. Faridi received his MS (1973) and Ph.D. (1975) both in food science from Kansas State University, and an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University (1987). He is a Certified Food Scientist (CFS).





Brian Frank

Founder, FTW Ventures

Brian Frank is the founder of FTW Ventures, an early-stage investment and advisory firm for leading Food + Tech startups, major corporations and top tier investment firms. He's an investor in Square Roots, Spoiler Alert, Proper Foods, Nomiku, Geltor and an advisor/mentor with Farmers Fridge, Dishcraft Robotics, Food-X, Techstars Farm-to-Fork, Food Tech Angels & Nutrition Capital Network.

He's appeared on Bloomberg West, been profiled in Edible Magazine, keynoted at the Fancy Food Show and has spoken at many major conferences on how technology will transform the Food System.


Zvi Frank

Co-CEO & Founder, Copilot

Zvi Frank is a serial entrepreneur, former Israeli Air Force pilot and Emmy Award-winning producer who currently serves as the Co-CEO and founder of Copilot, an automated customer experience (CX) management platform for consumer electronics. He, along with partner and fellow pilot Tsiki Naftaly, developed the aptly named Copilot while working together at Zemingo, Israel’s largest mobile services house, where Frank previously served as the Executive Chairman since 2013. At Copilot, he drives the overall strategy and vision for the development of the first CX solution exclusively for IoT and connected products.

Frank co-founded his first company, Interwise, an enterprise conferencing solution company, in 1995, and led it through to is $134M acquisition by AT&T in 2007. Frank went on to serve as AT&T’s vice president of Unified Communications, where he consolidated all video conferencing and on-premises enterprise telephony, ultimately managing $1.4B in growing business for the company.

He established Uru in 2011, an Israeli nonprofit dedicated to promoting democratic civil participation through technology. That same year, he received an Emmy Award for “Google Baby,” a documentary he co-produced about the supply-side of human reproduction.

In addition to serving as a fighter pilot in the IDF, Frank led a major software project from 1992-1995 that won the prime minister award for his contribution to state security in 1999.

An avid sailor and skipper, Frank co-founded Boatbook, a leading app for sailboat and yacht owners, and co-authored the Sea-Wise emergency action book series, which brings aviation emergency handling methodology to the world of boating & yachting.

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Mike Fogarty

Founder & CEO, Choice Market

Mike Fogarty is the Founder and CEO of Choice Market located in downtown Denver. Choice, which opened its first of five planned locations in October 2017 is a omnichannel convenience store which combines the operating hours, transaction times, and store size of a traditional c-store with the product selection of a natural market and fast casual restaurant.

Prior to Choice, Mike served as Senior Category Manager at Danone, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of natural and organic products. Mike has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Associated Press, and was recently nominated as a 2019 Power 20 leader by the convenience store publication CSP Magazine.

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Dieter Fox

Senior Director of Robotics Research, NVIDIA

Dieter Fox is the senior director of robotics research at NVIDIA. His research is in robotics with strong connections to artificial intelligence, computer vision, and machine learning.

He is currently on partial leave from the University of Washington, where he is a professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. At UW, he also heads the UW Robotics and State Estimation Lab. From 2009 to 2011, he was director of the Intel Research Labs Seattle. Dieter obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Bonn, Germany.

He has published more than 200 technical papers and is the co-author of the textbook "Probabilistic Robotics." He is a Fellow of the IEEE and the AAAI, and he received several best paper awards at major robotics, AI, and computer vision conferences.

He was an editor of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics, program co-chair of the 2008 AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, and program chair of the 2013 Robotics: Science and Systems conference.

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Masa Fukata

Director, Game Changer Catapult, Panasonic

Masa Fukata was appointed as Director in Panasonic Canada in 2010 and managed and executed product and marketing strategy in Consumer Products Division. He also led new business development projects for future growth opportunities at Panasonic Appliances Company since 2015. Masa started internal innovation accelerator Game Changer Catapult for Panasonic in 2016, an initiative to transform ideas into reality to make the people’s wish through open innovation for a better life, a better world.

Masa also serves on the Board of Directors for in BeeEdge Co.,Ltd. a joint-venture business incubation company with Panasonic and Scrum Ventures LLC, a US-based venture capital firm.

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Perumal Gandhi

Co-founder, Perfect Day

Perumal Gandhi is a co-founder of Perfect Day, a food company on a mission to create delicious animal-free dairy products, while leaving a kinder, greener footprint on the planet. Perumal
studied Biomedical Engineering at SUNY Stony Brook where he worked in the Rubinstein Lab to develop functional tissue engineering scaffolds for the medical industry. Prior to that, he
studied Biotechnology at the Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology in Chennai, India, and worked as a research assistant for the Shrivastava Lab at IIT Bombay.
As a child, Perumal’s love for animals was fierce. Although he’d been raised eating meat, he decided to become vegetarian in sixth grade after learning about the mistreatment of chickens.
In high school he volunteered for a nonprofit dedicated to caring for Mumbai’s many street dogs. He was disheartened, though, to learn more about the vast numbers of animals harmed
by agriculture. After some soul searching, he transitioned to a vegan diet in order to make an even greater impact for the world’s animals.
The transition wasn’t easy. He found that he really missed cheese and dairy products. Thanks to a coincidental twist of fate, Perumal—by this time a graduate student—was connected with
fellow dairy lover and aspiring vegan, Ryan Pandya. The duo put their combined engineering backgrounds to work, embarking on a journey to discover how to create dairy using well-known
fermentation techniques. Together, Perumal and Ryan set out to create a company to revolutionize the dairy industry, and thus Perfect Day was born.
Five years later, Perumal and Ryan lead a diverse team of chefs, food developers, scientists, engineers, and storytellers who are working in harmony to make their dream of animal-free
dairy a reality. Named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2019, Perumal is pursuing his passion of helping as many animals as possible while making delicious food that does less damage to our

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Edward Garcia

Director of AI Robotics & Automation, Walmart

Edward Garcia, Director of AI, Robotics and Automation; Walmart, Inc. is a seasoned retail professional with over twenty years’ experience. His experience in Operations, Human Resources, Talent Development, and Supply Chain/Logistics give him a unique and well-rounded perspective on the business. Edward consistently leverages his knowledge and business relationships to support the associates and the stores he serves. Edward believes that our associates make the difference and he consistently approaches business decisions with that in mind. In his current role, Edward leads a team that focuses solely on the automation of the mundane to help improve efficiency, boost associate morale, and deliver better service to our customers.

Edward graduated from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico with a degree in Operations Management and he also holds a graduate degree in Global Business Management. Edward rose through the ranks of retail while in college and he continued his career with the world’s largest retailer post-graduation.

Edward started with Walmart in March of 2002 and prior to his current role he has held several positions including: Assistant Store Manager, Co-Manager, Market Human Resource Manager, Regional Trainer, Store Manager, Regional Supply Chain Director, and Director of Implementation and Sustainment.

Edward resides in Bentonville, Arkansas with his wife Leslie and his two teenagers Jarren and Alana. He certainly misses the great New Mexican food of his hometown of Albuquerque, but he is truly enjoying his new locale in Northwest Arkansas.

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Richard Goodwin

Principal Research Scientist, IBM

Dr. Richard Goodwin is a Distinguished Research Staff Member and Manager of the Computational Creativity Research group here at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY. The group's research focuses on applying AI for product formulation. His research interests include machine learning, deep neural nets, computational creativity, intelligent agents for planning, scheduling and decision support. Richard holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo and a Master’s and PhD in Artificial Intelligence from Carnegie Mellon University. He was awarded the Wagner Prize in operations research for work on agent-based scheduling and won the Decision Science paper of the year award for work on applying option theory to project planning. He holds 28 US patents and has over 45 research publications.


Victoria Spadaro Grant

CTO, Barilla

Victoria is Barilla's Chief Research Development and Quality Officer and, in addition, she is the CEO of BLU1877, the VC arm of the Barilla Group. Victoria acts also as Board Member of Team Foods.

Vision, strategy and passion about Innovation are Victoria's hallmarks. she has been recognized with numerous Global awards for Innovation and creativity and she acts as mentor of innovative food and beverages start ups around the world.

Throughout her career, she has brought to the market over $5.5 billion in product innovation and $3 billion in business transformations.

Victoria received B.S. degrees in Mathematics, Computer Science and Food Engineering, a Master in Business Administration and Ph.D. in Food Engineering. She is fluent in 4 languages and over her 30-year career she has lived in more than 10 cities around the world, making her a globally minded leader.


Richard Gunther

Editor, Digital Media Zone

Richard Gunther is a Technology Experience Consultant and the Editor of The Digital Media Zone. He hosts Home: On, a podcast about DIY smart home technology. Richard looks at products through an experience lens, always seeking the right mix of utility and delight.

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Fuad Hannon

Head of New Business Verticals, DoorDash

Fuad Hannon is the Head of New Business Verticals at DoorDash. In this role, he leads a team responsible for building new operating capabilities and delivery channels at DoorDash to expand our logistics platform to new growth areas. Prior to his current role, Fuad was a General Manager at DoorDash and was part of the DoorDash Drive founding team, DoorDash's last-mile logistics platform that powers direct delivery for any business. Prior to DoorDash, Fuad worked at Google leading their Google Express operations and began his career as a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Company. Fuad holds a B.S. from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.


Kristen Hawley


Kristen Hawley is a freelance journalist who has covered the evolution of restaurant technology since 2013. She currently produces Expedite, a weekly newsletter featuring top news and trends in the industry.

Previously, she wrote and distributed Chefs+Tech, a weekly restaurant technology newsletter sold to b2b media company Skift in 2016. She then joined the company as editor of Skift Table, an industry website that covered the business of restaurants. Kristen has worked with clients including the National Restaurant Association, OpenTable, Salido, Upserve, and others in the restaurant technology industry in addition to holding various editorial positions at national lifestyle publications.

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Ben Harris

Co-founder and CEO, Drop

Ben Harris is the CEO and co-founder of Drop, a technology company that’s building the operating system for the kitchen — one unified solution that connects the whole cooking journey. Ben co-founded Drop to empower people to make better food at home. Today, the platform powers hundreds of kitchen appliances of all types. Each content, retail and appliance partner added to the platform makes for an even stronger KitchenOS. Ben first made his mark as an industrial designer at Lackey, a global leader in postural management products, before establishing Dublin-based product design consultancy White Zebra Studios, which was honored by the Institute of Designers Ireland in its very first year. Ben was later nominated for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award in Ireland for his work with Drop. Ben, a father of two, shares his time between Dublin and San Francisco

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Shun Hashimoto

Founder and CEO, BASE FOOD Inc.

Shun Hashimoto is the founder and CEO of BASE FOOD Inc. After graduating from The University of Tokyo, he joined DeNA Corporation and engaged in producing online games, starting a shared parking service and launching a robot taxi service as a founding member.

In April 2016, he founded BASE FOOD Inc. with the vision of reimagining staple foods so that a healthy lifestyle can be accessible to all. Base Food developed the world's first staple food that provides a third of the nutrients the body needs in a day, Base Noodles.

Base Food is one of the leading food tech startups in Japan and has sold more than 1 million products thus far. Over the last three years, the company has been featured in top publications, including TechCrunch Japan and Wired Japan. Base Food recently launched in the US and Shun is excited to share his vision with a global audience.

Visit the Base Food US website https://basefood.us/


Joe Heitzeberg

CEO, Crowd Cow

Joe Heitzeberg is the CEO and co-founder of Crowd Cow. Crowd Cow's mission is to help people discover and access the highest quality craft meats, and to bring people together — farmers and consumers, families and friends. Prior to Crowd Cow, he was the co-founder and President of Madrona Venture Labs, the in-house startup incubator of Madrona Venture Group which produced venture-backed high tech startups including Mighty AI and ReplyYes. Before that, he was the co-founder and CEO of MediaPiston (acquired by UpWork in 2012, IPO in 2018) and Snapvine (acquired by WhitePages in 2008). Joe was raised in Seattle, graduated from the University of Washington and has a MBA from MIT.


Stacey Higginbotham

Stacey on IoT

Stacey on IoT is a news publication covering the Internet of Things.

Stacey Higginbotham has been covering technology for major publications for 15 years. She is an expert and influencer when it comes to the internet of things and technology in general. She has a bi-monthly column on the smart home in PCMag called “Get Smart With Stacey.” Her work has appeared in Fortune (where she was Senior Editor), MIT Tech Review, Gigaom and Worth magazine. She is also a co-host on This Week in Google.

This site is a companion site to Stacey’s Internet of Things Podcast and her weekly newsletter Stacey Knows Things.


Nick Holzherr

Samsung NEXT (Whisk)

Whisk helps turn food inspiration into meals on the table, through software that makes the process seamless for users.

Nick now leads Whisk at Samsung NEXT, Samsung’s software and innovation division. Before Whisk was acquired by Samsung in March 2019, Whisk had grown from a team of 2 to 32, integrating the world's largest food ecosystem players in the US, UK, Australia and Germany.

As a serial entrepreneur, Nick raised over $2m in VC funding to first found Whisk after pitching Whisk.com to Lord Sugar in the final of the BBC Apprentice 2012, where he achieved the series' best task-win record.

In 2017 Nick was awarded an honorary doctorate from Aston University. Nick and his businesses have been featured in leading publications including Newsweek, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The BBC and The Next Web.

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Akshita Iyer

Founder and CEO, Inirv

Akshita is the founder and CEO of Inirv, an IoT company using plug-and-play technology to bring safety and simplicity to the kitchen. Akshita graduated with a neuroscience degree from Duke University and worked in the Duke Health System before becoming and entrepreneur. After her mom accidentally left the stove on and started a fire, Akshita started Inirv to build connected solutions that can make cooking safer and easier and instantly turn any kitchen into a smart one.


Larry W Jordan Jr.

Principal Engineering Manager (IoT), Microsoft

I am a coder, maker, musician, trained Escoffier Chef and a lover of Porsches. My passions include food production, sustainable agriculture and clean water for the World. Currently my technical work is in the Internet of Things focused on the connected products in the physical world and communications with these devices.


Stefan Kalb

Stefan is the Co-Founder and CEO of Shelf Engine. Shelf Engine uses AI to do demand forecasting and guarantees profits for grocery stores. Stefan started his career in the food industry in 2009 when founding Molly’s, a healthy and delicious grab & go company. However, after growing Molly's to over 400 retail locations across the Pacific Northwest, Stefan discovered the problems of food waste first hand. He co-founded Shelf Engine in 2016 to help grocery stores reduce waste and increase sales.

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Sanjeev Kapoor


Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.

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Menachem Katz

Head of Operations, WeWork Labs

Head of Operations for Food Labs, has 20 years of food industry experience in roles ranging from operations to technology and logistics to culinary direction. He started his career as an Executive Chef, first at Artichoke Restaurant in Tel Aviv, and then at 1868, a restaurant in Jerusalem that he co-founded. From there he served as Executive Chef in multiple companies, led Culinary & Operations at Goodmeal, a delivery startup acquired by CookUnity, and most recently, he led operations at Kettlebell Kitchen.

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David Kay

Sr. Manager of Communications & Operations, Memphis Meatts

David Kay is the Senior Manager of Communications & Operations and first employee at Memphis Meats, a food company developing a way to produce real meat by growing animal cells without the need raise full animals. David leads the company's public relations strategy as well as its efforts to mobilize mission-driven supporters at both an institutional and grassroots level. He also helps develop and execute the company's broader communications, operations and policy strategies. Prior to joining Memphis Meats, David studied political science at Stanford University.

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Morgan Keim

Corporate & Business Development Manager, Motif FoodWorks

Morgan Keim is the Corporate and Business Development Manager at Motif FoodWorks. Prior to this role, he was Founder and CEO of Sprouted Ventures, a market strategy collective focused on building, launching, scaling and investing in emerging tech-enabled, plant-based meat and dairy start-ups.

He began his career as a digital marketing specialist, leading and supporting multi-million dollar campaigns for large-cap brands like Honda, Acura and HBO/Game of Thrones. He received his MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management and Dual Business / Hospitality degrees from The College of Charleston.

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Yuta Kikuchi

J-SPARC Producer, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency

Mr. Yuta Kikuchi is J-SPARC Producer of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Joined JAXA in 2006. He is in charge of planning some collaborative activities with companies and universities.
Now, as a producer of Business Development Group of JAXA, he has been promoting a new business development of Space travel, food, healthcare and entertainment through Co-creation. Also, he is involved in BOSAI SPACE FOOD PROJECT and Space Food X; a program to create the world's first space food market.

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Komasa Mizuki

Real Tech Fund/Space Food X

Komasa Mizuki graduated from the Keio University with a master degree in Bioinformatics in 2008. He worked for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and SMBC Nikko Securities, after which he joined Real Tech Fund in 2015. He has been supporting a wide range of technology startups from space cargo ships, space crafts, avatar robots, food production technologies, and next-generation batteries, who have the potential to expand humanity into deep space. In 2019, he co-founded Space Food X, the world's first space food market co-creation program with JAXA, Sigmaxyz and more than 40 other companies and experts.

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Sarah Krol

Global Managing Director for Food Safety Certification Programs, NSF International

Sarah Krol is the Global Managing Director for Food Safety Certification Programs at NSF International. Ms. Krol works with a variety of industries including the food equipment, chemical, consumer product, organic and natural food sectors to evaluate ingredients and products for compliance with voluntary label claim standards and mandatory food safety regulations. Ms. Krol has over 15 years of diversified experience in testing, inspection, certification, quality assurance and regulatory compliance with emphasis in the food and consumer product sectors. In her current role at NSF she oversees strategy development, launch and execution of global certification programs for manufacturers around the world.


Catherine Lamb

Director of Content and Community, The Spoon + SKS

Catherine is a wearer of many food tech hats. She covers alternative protein, food waste and CBD for the Spoon and helps organize the global SKS event series. You might find her moderating panels about the future of cannabis edibles, scouring the web for new startups to cover, or writing a weekly Future Food newsletter on alternative protein.

Before joining the team at SKS Catherine was a food writer, recipe developer, baker, dairy farmer, and social media manager. She has a MA in Food Anthopology from SOAS, University of London, where she wrote her dissertation on public perceptions of cultured meat.

When she’s not working she likes to tackle ambitious pastry projects and try new restaurants.


Gonda Lamberink

Global Senior Business Development Manager, UL

Gonda is an experienced business development manager in UL’s Identity Management & Security division. Gonda focuses on cybersecurity for IoT market segments globally including smart home, smart building and Industry 4.0.

Gonda is driving thought-leadership, identifying business opportunities and building capabilities within UL to provide IoT manufacturers and service providers with cybersecurity advisory, testing and compliance solutions. IoT applications of focus include smart home entertainment and appliances, building security, building automation, energy management, lighting and industrial control systems.

Prior to developing a focus on IoT cybersecurity, with UL also, Gonda worked on digital payment security for e- and m-commerce. Before joining UL, Gonda worked as a strategy consultant with PwC Transaction Services in Amsterdam and as an economist with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.

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Isabella Lane

Managing Director, Smarter Applications

Isabella Lane is a cofounder and Managing Director of Smarter Applications, maker of FridgeCam, a wireless camera that can retrofit into any fridge turning it into a smart fridge, uses its best before tracker to show you which items are about to expire.


Shawn Lange

President, Lab2Fab (A Middleby Corporation)

Shawn Lange is a successful entrepreneur with more than 20 years of global experience in the automation industry. In his role as co-founder and CEO, Lange led L2F Inc. to #2 in Engineering and #237 overall on the 2016 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies. In October 2017, he successfully led the sale of the organization to The Middleby Corporation (NASDAQ: MIDD). 

Now, as Brand President of L2F, Shawn looks to help Middleby increase its lead as the driver of innovation in the food service industry. 

Lange is a graduate of Kettering University with both a B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a B.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering. He also received his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on robotics from Santa Clara University. 

Shawn is an adjunct lecturer at Santa Clara University and a board member of the school’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In his spare time, he volunteers as a mentor for SCU’s California Program for Entrepreneurship and Silicon Valley’s Plug-n-Play incubator. Lange resides in Silicon Valley with his wife and two daughters.

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Andy Lin

Founder and CEO, Yo-Kai Express

Andy is the Founder and CEO of Yo-Kai Express, the future autonomous restaurant. Andy has been working on this project since 2015. Prior to this, Andy developed a last mile community delivery app back to 2013. Andy is an energetic entrepreneur and he loves to explore different technologies.

Andy earned his Electrical Engineering Master degree in UC Irvine and has worked in Semiconductor industry more than 12 years. Andy not only focus on developing autonomous restaurant to serve people 24/7 anytime anywhere but also trying to reduce the food waste by ordering as needed. In the meantime, Andy also put lots of effort to develop the green energy to support the future power shortage. He and his team are working on reusable power storage and try to provide zero emission and zero noise power solution to public.

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Robin Liss

CEO, Suvie

As Co-Founder and CEO of Suvie, Robin brings her deep experience from covering the appliance industry, reviewing appliances, and analyzing smart home products. Robin is the founder and former CEO of Reviewed.com, a leading consumer technology and home appliance review publication. She led Reviewed.com as a startup and sold it to USA TODAY in 2011 where she expanded Reviewed.com to the largest home appliance review site on the web.

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Ben McInnis

Senior Manager, Amazon Devices

Ben McInnis is a senior manager in Amazon’s Devices division where he oversees the Alexa Connect Kit program. Alexa Connect Kit, combines Amazon-managed cloud services with a hardware module and developer tools to simplify and accelerate the process of creating Alexa-compatible smart devices, increasing the selection and diversity of devices available to Alexa customers.

Prior to his current role, Ben held senior product, engineering, and user experience roles at Socrata, a big data and IoT SaaS company focused on the public sector. Before Socrata, Ben served in several product strategy roles at Microsoft. In his free time, Ben, a Seattle native, is an avid skier, hiker, and advocate for the nature and wildlife of the Pacific Northwest.


Lisa McManus

Executive Editor, Tasting & Testing, America's Test Kitchen

Lisa McManus is executive editor of equipment testing and ingredient tasting at America's Test Kitchen, home of Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines. She researches and writes about kitchen gear and food, and she’s the on-screen Gadget Guru for America’s Test Kitchen. Lisa joined America’s Test Kitchen in 2006, after working as a newspaper food editor and a magazine and newspaper journalist in Boston, New York, and Palo Alto, California. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism


Yusuke Murakami

FIELD assistant, Space Food X

Yusuke Murakami is a Japanese designer and researcher of architecture especially designed for the extreme environment. He got his Master Degree of Environmental Design and Governance from Keio University.

He has a previous experience at MDRS occurred in 2014 (Crew 144), and also spent 15 months in Antarctica as a geophysics wintering crew of The 50th Japanese Antarctica Research Expedition. And other expeditions in Mt. Everest Base Camp as a base camp engineer, in Mt.Fuji Weather Station as a research crew, in JAXA Isolation Chamber as a crew.

After the earthquake happened in Nepal, Yusuke has started a project “Dare Demo Dome (dome for everyone)”, to supply temporally dome houses for the victims, the assembly systems inspired from a space building concept. He also has a weekly radio program “ON THE PLANET”, on Japan’s nationwide broadca

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Steve Nackers

Corporate Manager of Electronic Controls, Sub-Zero Group

Steve Nackers is the Corporate Manager of Electronic Controls with the Sub-Zero Group, a company he has enjoyed more than eighteen successful years with. His career has spanned field support to product launch to R&D and he continues to be passionate about the pursuit of trend and technology developments that deliver meaningful value to customers. He is the Chairman of the Association of Home Appliances Manufacturers (AHAM) Smart Grid Task force since 2014, and a member of the task force for more than 10 years. Recipient of the AHAM Distinguished Service Award, and co-author of two AHAM whitepapers on Smart Appliances and the Smart Grid. Steve has also been an author on industry communications standards and continues to be engaged in standards, legislation, and security development for IoT.

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PK Newby

Scientist and Author

P.K. Newby, ScD, MPH, MS is a scientist, author, and entrepreneur with decades of experience researching diet-related diseases; studying how people make food choices and their impact on the environment; and teaching about why what we eat matters, from farm to fork. She started her own company in 2012 to bring science to today’s critical food and nutrition conversations and challenges—and fight junk-science in all the ways that she can. She is an inspiring thought leader who speaks locally, nationally, and internationally, and her newest book is "Food and Nutrition: What Everyone Needs to Know" (Oxford University Press, 2018). Other works include "Superfoods" (National Geographic, 2016); two e-books on employee health and wellness (Virgin Pulse, 2015); and "Foods for Health: Choose and Use the Very Best Foods for Your Family and Our Planet" (National Geographic, 2014).

She also communicates with the public through her blog "Cooking & Eating the PK Way" and e-books such as "Creating a Healthy Diet: Change is Possible." She consults regularly and serves as a science advisor to or on the boards of several companies. Dr. Newby's passion for nutrition stems from a life-long love affair with food, from cooking, baking, and gardening as a kid to working in the restaurant industry. She was one of the “best undiscovered cooks” on ABC’s "The Taste" (2014-15), where she created globally-inspired, plant-based cuisine rooted in her unique Healthy Hedonism™ philosophy—and was the last woman standing with domestic goddess Nigella Lawson. She holds a doctorate from Harvard and two master’s degrees from Columbia and served on the faculties at Tufts (Research Scientist and Assistant Professor; 2001-06) Boston University (Associate Professor; 2006-12), and Harvard (Instructor and Adjunct Associate Professor; 2011-19), where she was an award-winning educator. She's currently working on a television series about all things food as well as her next book. Learn more at pknewby.com.

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Vibhu Norby

Co-founder and CEO, b8ta

Vibhu Norby is the co-founder and CEO of b8ta. b8ta is the retail-as-a-service company creating showrooms for technology brands across the country. With a unique business model & software-driven approach to retail, b8ta is changing how online brands engage with customers in real life.


Björn Öste

Co-founder, Good Idea Inc, Oatly AB

Öste has more than 25 years of international experience from entrepreneural-driven companies (Dynasoft, OATLY, United Pancakes, Ottos Barnmat, Glucanova etc.). Öste is currently the cofounder and CEO of Good Idea Drinks. Good Idea is a flavored, carbonated water that will help those with normal blood sugar levels handle the blood sugar spikes following a meal. 

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Surj Patel

Maker & Event Producer

Surj Patel is a technologist and a food technology commentator with a deep interest in real world applications of IoT, Robotics and AI. A graduate of the MIT Media Laboratory, Surj has worked in Innovation and Product management at notable places like the BBC, Orange, Newsweek, Sharp Laboratories and Gourmia. Surj enjoys nothing better than discovering and taming the beauties and the beasts of the world technology for normal people. He worked with Mike Wolf at GigaOM where he built, programmed and ran their extremely successful events business. Most of the time Surj lives in Portland, OR and on Alaska Airlines planes and always wants to hear about interesting opportunities and things to delve into.

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Victor Penev

Founder & CEO, Edamam

Victor Penev is a serial entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Edamam. He is also a mentor and investor in food technology startups and advises early stage entrepreneurs.

Previous to Edamam, Victor co-founded and sold Bulgaria’s largest Internet Company, NetInfo BG. Victor Penev also ran the international digital business of Playboy Enterprises, and was instrumental in starting the digital marketing efforts of BMG and in creating key e-commerce capability for Bertelsmann’s book clubs.

Victor holds a MBA from Stanford.

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Mario Pieper

Chief Digital Officer, BSH Appliances

After his studies of Business and Economics at Westfälische Business University of Münster Mario Pieper started his career in 1999 at the strategy consultancy of Accenture. In 2002, he moved on to Deutsche Telekom. After different positions in Corporate Strategy as well as in operational management of Telekom Germany, Mario Pieper co-founded a startup in the Smart Home environment. Since 2014, Mario Pieper is the Chief Digital Officer of BSH and since 2018 also Head of the Digital Business Unit.

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Larry Portaro

Executive Director, FirstBuild

Larry Portaro leads FirstBuild, an innovation accelerator that combines a global co-creation community with a state-of-the-art microfactory that invents what’s next for the home.

FirstBuild, a wholly owned subsidiary of GE Appliances, a Haier company, counts among its successful product launches the Opal Nugget Ice Maker, Paragon Cooking System, Open Hearth Oven and the Forge Clear Ice System.

FirstBuild is located on the University of Louisville campus, where it also offers a free community makerspace. Thousands of people each year visit FirstBuild to showcase their creativity, share their passion projects, and see what FirstBuild is working on next.

Larry holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Louisville and has 27 years of experience at GE Appliances, where he last served as the technology leader for its cooking business.

Larry resides in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, three children and stubborn Great Pyrenees, Finn.

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Tessa Price

Manager, WeWork Food Labs

Price has built her career in the food/hospitality industry, most recently as the Director of Operations for a shared kitchen space. She currently is Manager of WeWork Food Labs.

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Raja Ramachandran

Co-Founder, Ripe.io

Raja is the co-founder of ripe.io; a technology company creating the blockchain of food to help the food supply chain achieve transparency, efficiency and improved value to solve problems around traceability, food safety, quality assurance, regulatory compliance. Raja, a serial entrepreneur, was most recently on the founding team and headed product development at R3CEV, the world’s largest financial institutions consortium, to build and deploy distributed ledger and blockchain solutions. Raja has had 20-year career working at Bank of America, Citi, Silicon Valley Bank and Wells Fargo. Raja is passionate about connected technologies and how they can be utilized to revolutionize ways to create a more sustainable and healthier food business.

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Joe Ray

Writer, Wired

Joe has been writing and shooting food and travel stories for major dailies, news services and magazines around the world for more than fifteen years.

He is a contributing writer at WIRED, specializing in the smart kitchen. He is also a restaurant critic, cookbook author, recipe writer and tester.

In 2014, he moved to Washington State's remote Lummi Island for a year to write the award-winning "Sea and Smoke," a book and cookbook with chef Blaine Wetzel at The Willows Inn. It was published by Running Press in October 2015.

Joe was also named the 2009 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation. As a food critic, he wrote with Le Figaro's Francois Simon—"The Most Feared Food Critic In France"—on the English-language blog, Simon Says.


Nancy Roman

President, Partnership for a Healthier America

The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) works with the private sector and PHA Honorary Chair Former First Lady Michelle Obama to make healthier choices easier for busy parents and families.

Nancy joined the PHA after heading the Capital Area Food Bank for 5 years and establishing the organization in a national leader in food for health. Her career has emphasized public-private partnership as the primary tool in improving the global health supply and helping achieve access to healthy food for all. She is now focused on leveraging the power of business to improve the food supply and to create opportunities for physical activity in pursuit of a healthier America.

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Brita Rosenheim

Partner, Better Food Ventures

Brita is a Partner at Better Food Ventures, an early stage foodtech/agtech VC, and brings 15+ years of investment, strategy and M&A experience within the food and food tech verticals. She is recognized as an expert on the food tech ecosystem and works with start-ups, entrepreneurs, and institutions. Brita’s comprehensive Food Tech & Media Landscape map and analysis on the sector is regularly used by participants in the space to understand the quickly evolving ecosystem. Before joining Better Food Ventures, Brita founded the food tech advisory firm Rosenheim Advisors, and previously was an investment banker focused on the consumer and media industries at ThinkEquity Partners, SG Cowen & Co. and Robertson Stephens.

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Kai Schaeffner

CEO, Thermomix North America

Kai has been with Vorwerk for over fourteen years, leading the digitalization and launch of Thermomix with its fully integrated digital, guided recipe platform Cookidoo® in 2014. Since 2016, he has been responsible for Vorwerk’s rapid expansion into North America, aiming to digitalize and integrate Direct Sales and other channels in this eco-system. Additionally, he has led efforts in North America to connect Vorwerk with leading Smart Kitchen players such as Drop, Meater and Hestan to provide a smarter, better, more connected kitchen.


Daniel Scharff

Director, Strategy & Analytics, JUST

Daniel Scharff is the director of Strategy & Analytics for JUST, Silicon Valley-based company on a mission to build a food system where everyone eats well. In this capacity, Scharff is focused on global consumer insights, product pricing, and revenue strategy. Prior to JUST, Scharff worked as a strategy consultant with Deloitte, and a global pricing executive for Mars Chocolate. He holds an MBA from The Wharton School, an MA in International Studies from The Lauder Institute (UPenn), and a B.A. in Psychology from Kenyon College.

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Veronica Schreibeis smith

Founding Principal, Vera Iconica Architecture

Veronica Schreibeis Smith, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, BBNC, is Founding Principal of Vera Iconica Architecture, as well as CEO of Vera Iconica, Inc which is the parent brand to Vera Iconica Wellness Kitchen™ and B-Corp Vera Iconica Developments. Veronica is a global pioneer in Wellness Architecture, the art and science behind designing built environments that enhance human and planetary wellbeing. Projects include Vera Iconica’s Wellness Kitchen™ which was awarded as one of 2018’s Top Wellness Trends by the GWI and 2019 KBB Person of the Year Praiseworthy Pick for revolutionizing kitchen design around plant-based diets. Veronica has practiced architecture on four continents, and continues work, speak, and lead think tanks internationally. Her work has been featured worldwide in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CLADGlobal Magazine, MindBodyGreen, and Good+Well. She chairs the Wellness Architecture Initiative for the Global Wellness Institute, and is founder of the non-profit organization Wellness Architecture + Design

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Susan Schwallie

Executive Director, NPD Group

Susan brings 22 years of insights experience to her position of Executive Director of the NPD Group. She has worked across a variety of North American CPG clients and categories translating insights about how Americans eat into action for marketing, sales, culinary, and corporate strategy professionals. She recently co authored The Future of Dinner, The Future of Snacking and Inside America's Kitchens studies which illuminates how each generation approaches food and cooking. Susan is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has a love of all things food and beverage.

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Natalie Shmulik

CEO, The Hatchery

Natalie Shmulik is the CEO of The Hatchery, a state-of-the-art nonprofit food and beverage incubator and innovation hub. The Hatchery supports startup food and beverage entrepreneurs in their brand-new, 67,000-square-foot facility through private and shared kitchen production space, event and coworking space, a full curriculum of robust offerings to support entrepreneurs at every stage, workforce development and job placement programs, and an on-site micro-lender Accion.

Natalie has an M.L.A. in Gastronomy from Boston University, and a wide range of experience working with supermarkets, culinary publications, consumer packaged goods companies, and food service establishments. Along with operating her own restaurant, and over 8 years of food incubation experience, Natalie has gained a unique perspective on the industry and what it takes to launch and grow a successful business.


Veronica Schreibeis Smith

Founder, Vera Iconica Architecture

Veronica Schreibeis Smith, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, BBNC, is Founding Principal of Vera Iconica Architecture, as well as CEO of Vera Iconica, Inc which is the parent brand to Vera Iconica Wellness Kitchen™ and B-Corp Vera Iconica Developments. Veronica is a global pioneer in Wellness Architecture, the art and science behind designing built environments that enhance human and planetary wellbeing. Projects include Vera Iconica’s Wellness Kitchen™ which was awarded as one of 2018’s Top Wellness Trends by the GWI and 2019 KBB Person of the Year Praiseworthy Pick for revolutionizing kitchen design around plant-based diets. Veronica has practiced architecture on four continents, and continues work, speak, and lead think tanks internationally. Her work has been featured worldwide in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CLADGlobal Magazine, MindBodyGreen, and Good+Well. She chairs the Wellness Architecture Initiative for the Global Wellness Institute, and is founder of the non-profit organization Wellness Architecture + Design


Michael Spranger

Research, Sony

Michael Spranger is a researcher and manager at Sony in Tokyo, Japan. There, he is focusing on R&D for AI cooking robots, in particular, knowledge extraction from images and text, as well as skill acquisition for cooking manipulation. Michael's research also focuses on various related topics such as shared autonomy between humans and robots, natural language interaction for robots and neural-symbolic reasoning and learning.

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Jake Sprouse

Head of Technology, Synapse

Jake Sprouse is the Head of Technology at Synapse Product Development, based in Seattle, WA. With a background in robotics and automated driving, he has fifteen years of product development experience centered around machine vision, biometric sensing, wireless communications, wearables, and IoT. He holds a MS in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University.

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Jarret Stopforth

CTO, Atomo Coffee

Jarret holds a Ph.D. in Food Science & Microbiology from Colorado State University. He has 20 plus years of experience in the food & beverage arena leading innovation, product development and quality activities. He has held senior leadership roles at Campbell Soup Company, Chobani, Soylent and most recently at Kettle&Fire. Jarret is an active collaborator and advisor on a number of new and exciting CPG startups.


Shawn Stover

VP of SmartHome Solutions, GE Appliances

Shawn Stover was appointed Vice President of SmartHome Solutions in December 2017. Shawn leads the end to end growth and profitability of the connected product offering and owns the connected strategy for the future success of the company. Previous to this role, Shawn held multiple leadership roles in Sales, Marketing and Product Management with GE Appliances. GE Appliances, a Haier company, is a leader in WiFi-connected appliance technology, making owners’ lives easier while improving their daily routines. Shawn is passionate about thoughtful innovation and bringing real value to their product owners. He and his team work diligently to develop an ecosystem of products and partners that work together to provide their owners with the choice and convenience they desire.


Charles Studor

Founder & CTO, Briggo

Prior to founding Briggo in 2008, Charles Studor was active in the technology industry for more than 25 years. Since 1981, Studor proved successful in various roles in the Semiconductor industry. Studor’s most recent role was Global IC Design Manager for a $1B business unit within Motorola/Freescale. Prior to this, Studor was the creator of the Austin Design Center for TriMedia (formerly Philips/Sony). Studor has several patents to his name.

Studor holds his BSEE/CE from The University of California at Santa Barbara. He is a past chairman of the board of the Austin Children’s Shelter at the time they constructed a new $14.5M campus. Studor has also been very active with philanthropic work in central Honduras where his coffee passion began, and has been active on additional boards including The Salvation Army.

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Steve Svajian

Co-founder + CEO, Anova Culinary

Steve Svajian is the Co-Founder and CEO of Anova Culinary.

He oversees the strategic direction and all business for the San Francisco-based company, including Manufacturing, Research and Development, Sales, Marketing, Product, Customer Success, and Corporate Relations. Through Steve’s leadership and vision of helping people cook restaurant-quality meals in the comfort of their own homes, Anova has grown to become the world’s leading provider of smart kitchen appliances and in 2017 Anova was acquired by Electrolux.

A talented technology entrepreneur and marketing executive, Steve has spent nearly 20 years launching and establishing companies from creation through acquisition.

Steve began his career in product roles in various technology companies (1999 - 2005). In 2006, he founded AudioCaseFiles, a digital media company for law schools. It was successfully acquired in 2008 and is now a LexisNexis offering.

In 2010, he founded Ybuy Inc., which was acquired in 2012 by Atlanticus Holdings (NASDAQ: ATLC). Prior to Anova, he started Get Fresh, a digital marketing consulting company that helped early-stage startups. In 2013, he co-founded Anova Culinary.

Steve’s ability to define values that build mission-driven organizations, assess product-market fit, and scale end-user demand have allowed him to consistently help his teams and products evolve.

A native of Boston, Steve holds a bachelor's degree from Tufts University and a Juris Doctorate from the College of William and Mary Marshall-Wythe Law School.

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Hirotaka Tanaka

Director, Sigmaxyz

As a continuation of his successful career at Panasonic and McKinsey, he joined Sigmaxyz in January 2017. Hirotaka is an expert in growth strategy, new business development, M & A, implementation and negotiation and other areas that span multiple industries, such as in high-tech, manufacturing, telecommunications. His goal is to define in a clear way, how Japan should grow in cooking space, and to help it evolve into a completely new industry.

Hirotaka has supported business transformations at multiple companies and his attention was caught by lifestyle and business that grows and evolves together with technology. While working together with clients he has visited multiple companies and exhibitions in Japan, USA, Europe etc. and observed the newest trends and ideas. He found smart home promising, and especially smart kitchen has caught his eye.

His focus is not only on making things smart, but also investigating and catching the way how "cooking" & "food", which are very important topics in our lives, will change. That is why he started "Smart Kitchen Summit Japan".


Stacie Thompson

Cofounder, Ovie

Head of brand and marketing for Ovie, Stacie is a design lover, food lover, and people lover. She and Ty host a dinner at their house every single week for 20 of their closest friends. With a degree in Environmental Design, she’s put her skills to work on brands such as Fossil, New Balance, Disney, Corona, and Head & Shoulders. And now Ovie. In 2016 she one of the recipients of Design Retail Magazine’s 40 Under 40 award.


Matt Van Horn

Co-founder + CEO, June

Matt Van Horn is the co-founder and CEO at June. Previously Matt was the VP of business for Path, where he ran business operations and started the Path platform. Prior to Path, Matt ran business development for Digg where he led partnerships and started the publisher Digg button program. He also co-founded Zimride (well-known now as Lyft), the San Francisco based transportation network company. Matt is a University of Arizona alum where he was Apple's higher education marketer for the school. Today he lives in San Francisco with his wife Lauren and their two daughters and dog and loves to cook baked lemon garlic salmon.

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Ramona Wehlig

VP of Consumer Experience, Thermomix

Wehlig is the VP of Consumer Experience for Thermomix TM6.

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Nate Williams


Nate Williams is an entrepreneurial executive and independent investor/advisor. He is currently an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Kleiner Perkins focusing on opportunities in HardTech (IoT, Robotics, AI/ML, Autonomous Vehicles). Nate's track record includes senior leadership experiences executing through startup, growth and turnaround stage culminating in successful exits for August Smart Lock (to Assa Abloy '17), Motorola Home (to ARRIS '13), Motorola Mobility (to Google '12), and 4Home (to Motorola '10).

Prior to Kleiner Perkins, Nate was CRO & Head of Business Development at August Home, Inc. a leader in Smart Home Access where he secured August commercial growth and product partnerships with market leaders and partners such as Airbnb, Walmart, Amazon, Honeywell, Comcast, and Google/Nest. Nate was also CMO & Head of Business at Greenwave Systems and Senior Director of Marketing & Business Development at Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility (following their acquisition of 4Home where he was CMO & Head of Business). Earlier in his career, he was an Analyst in the Digital Home Group of Intel Corp.

Nate is an active angel-investor and board advisor to companies including Proxy, Pattern Brands, Matterport, Roost, Cirrent, DataScience, Klue, Shoof Technologies, and SpinLaunch. He is also a board advisor to the Internet of Things Consortium, a mentor to Techstars, and a volunteer for the Peninsula Velo Bicycle Club and Baywood Elementary.

Nate earned a MBA from The UCLA-Anderson School of Management and a Bachelors in Communication Science from The University of Connecticut. He is named in several Communications Infrastructure patents, entrepreneurial, and comfortable building cross-functional teams introducing products under significant market uncertainty.

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Michael Wolf

Creator and Curator, Smart Kitchen Summit

Michael Wolf is the creator of the Smart Kitchen Summit and publisher of The Spoon. He put SKS together in 2015 because he is saw how new disruptive technologies would reinvent the food system over the next decade.

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Clayton Wood

CEO, Picnic

Clayton Wood is CEO at Seattle-based Picnic (formerly Vivid Robotics) and is responsible for overall development and growth for the company. Wood’s passion as CEO is to build high-performance teams and fully realize the financial and business potential of the company for all constituents.

Wood has served in key leadership positions in organizations ranging from startups to Fortune 100 organizations, across a variety of technology industries, including renewable energy, robotics and software. Wood has successfully taken companies from scratch to global publicly traded businesses or to successful acquisition.

Prior to Picnic, he served C-suite positions as COO at IUNU, an award winning, venture-backed precision agriculture startup; CEO and President of Synapse Product Development; COO at Naverus; and COO/President at Xzeres Corp., a publicly-traded global leader in small scale wind energy. Wood spent 12 years at AlliedSignal and Honeywell where his roles included stewarding both the airborne radio and flight data recorder business units.

Wood holds an MBA from the University of Washington, as well as Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M.

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Andreas Wuerfel

An active intrapreneur and evangelist, Andreas Wuerfel is METRO Group Director US Strategic Partnering, with focus on international corporate innovation and business development. He also serves as CEO of HOSPITALITY.digital Inc., the US business practice of METRO Group’s international digital hospitality and retail solutions team. Prior, Andreas held various corporate and business development positions inside Deutsche Telekom USA, the North America offices of Germany-based Deutsche Telekom AG. Previously, Andreas held several music industry management and marketing posts, including General Manager Billboard TalentNet (a Billboard Magazine partnership), General Manager at Intuition Records (building and running North American business success), as well as International A&R Manager at MCA Music Publishing (now Universal Music Publishing). Andreas lives with his husband in Brooklyn, New York.

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Dr. Shinjiro Yamada

Chairman, PLANTX

Dr. Shinjiro Yamada is a Chairman at PLANTX. He is a professor of HBMS (MBA). “Indoor farming 2.0”

At PLANTX, we develop indoor farming systems. Our system is the world’s first system which consists of software and hardware. We call this system, PLANTX Platform. With PLANTX Platform, it is possible to reach five times more productivity. At this presentation, I would like to introduce our new PLANTX Platform in order to provide food for a population of 9.8 billion people in 2050.

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Adam Yee

Founder, My Food Job Rocks + Better Meat Co.

Adam Yee built My Food Job Rocks in 2016 as a way to show the food industry in a different light: through stories. With over 180 interviews from all over the food industry ranging from the buyer from MarsWrigley, the scientist from JUST, and the dietitian from Taco Bell, there is a place for everyone in the food industry.

Adam also helped found the Better Meat Co, a funded food-tech startup in Sacramento where he creates products that taste like meat.

There's always something on Adam's mind and he just loves creating things to help make the world a little bit better.


Chris Young

Co-founder & CEO, ChefSteps

Chris Young is the CEO and cofounder of ChefSteps, the James Beard and Dieline award–winning smart-product company behind Joule Sous Vide—the smallest, most powerful sous vide tool on the planet. Controlled by a video-rich app created entirely in-house, Joule has been used to cook more than 1 million meals and is Cook’s Illustrated’s top choice among sous vide tools. Prior to ChefSteps,Young was the principal coauthor of the acclaimed and worldwide best-selling six-volume work Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking.

He was also the founding chef of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck Experimental Kitchen, the secret culinary laboratory behind the innovative dishes served at one of the best restaurants in the world. Prior to becoming a chef, he completed degrees in theoretical mathematics and biochemistry.


Kevin Yu

Founder & CEO, SideChef

Kevin is a serial tech entrepreneur who relentlessly builds the experiences of the future. He is a unique breed of visionary, a two time TEDx speaker, cultivated by more than 8 years at the world’s leading gaming companies, with his mainstay at Blizzard Entertainment. From political reform to cooking to e-commerce to management, a deep understanding of gamification and original ideation enables Kevin to create highly engaging, systemically transformational, and extremely viral ventures.  

Kevin is currently in Shanghai spear-heading product development and international expansion of SideChef, a game-changing cooking app, named 'Best Apps of 2014' by USA TODAY, that reinvents the entire cooking experience. SideChef features a premiere mobile first community platform, combining interactive step-by-step design and user-generated content to bring cooking into the 21st century

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Yi Sherry Zhang

CEO, GenoPalate

From the first time Sherry saw living creatures under the lens of a microscope she fell in love with biology. And today, she still wants to learn more on how life works.

Dr. Sherry Zhang is a mother, a molecular geneticist and the CEO of the revolutionary new startup called GenoPalate, which uses the latest research in genetics and nutrition to show individuals how to eat healthier based on their genes. With GenoPalate technology platform of genetics-based personalized nutrition, Sherry and her team vision to change how people choose, shop and eat their foods, for better health.

Sherry spent over a decade researching, teaching and publishing impactful scientific findings about the genetic and epigenetic factors that contribute to the alarmingly prevalent obesity and metabolic disorders of our society in the United States and around the world.

Sherry has a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from Nankai University and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Marquette University. Sherry received the 2019 Spirit of Marquette award from her alma mater, was named a HealthTech Innovator of Wisconsin and ‘40 under 40’ by Milwaukee Business Journal.