When it comes to adapting to ever-changing consumer preferences, food and beverage companies often exercise one of these options:
1) Change their ingredients in current products to make them healthier, more innovative, or fitting of a new trend or offering
2) Internally develop new products – with all the R&D, marketing, and innovation budgets and time to do so
Or, 3) Acquire or merge with a younger company with their finger already on the new product or channel.
The role of acquisitions in the growth of a big brand and a small brand can often be crucial to their long-term success. But, the relationship between those players – and how they wield that capital and their new relationship over time can be even more important.
Join us for a conversation exploring growth capital, the current acquisition space, and the role that the big brand – small brand relationship development plays during our final Founders Series conversation for 2020.
Joining us for this conversation…
Sean Bisceglia, CEO, Curion Insights
Sean has specialized in accelerating growth and establishing leadership positions for companies in the HCM industry, with a focus on launching disruptive technologies. He has founded and led four companies that achieved rapid market acceptance and global distribution of its products and services. Bisceglia’s business success began 25 years ago when he founded TFA, a technology-focused ad agency that achieved significant success. TFA was sold to Leo Burnett in 1998. After TFA, Mr. Bisceglia partnered with William Blair Ventures to acquire Corporate Project Resources, Inc (“CPRi”) where he doubled revenues in less than 2 years. In 2007, Mr. Bisceglia founded TalentDrive where he formed one of the first technology-enabled staffing businesses in the industry. In 2013, Mr. Bisceglia founded and became CEO of Scout Exchange, a platform for marketplace recruiting that serves Fortune 500 companies. Most recently, Bisceglia served as an Operating Partner at Sterling Partners.
Audre Kapacinskas, Vice President, S2G Ventures
Audre Kapacinskas is a Vice President at S2G Ventures, where she focuses on unlocking value for S2G, its portfolio companies and strategic partners. Throughout her career, Audre has worked at the intersection of technology, strategy and operations to incubate new ideas and drive growth across organizations. Prior to S2G, Audre was a Director of Sales and Corporate Strategy at a predictive analytics start-up delivering artificial intelligence and IoT solutions to the Industrial sector. She started her career at a boutique strategy consulting firm working with private equity firms and corporate clients with growth acceleration, value assessments and investment diligence. Audre is a Fulbright Scholar, holds an Honours BA from the University of Toronto and an MA from Vilnius University.
Jim Murray, President, Insurgent Brands (RXBar)
As President of Insurgent Brands, Jim Murray oversees all facets of the business, including the RX portfolio of brands and maintaining an innovative and inclusive culture. Since his appointment, RXBAR has experienced tremendous growth, expanding into over 20 countries and launching new products across multiple categories. Jim joined RXBAR in 2016 as Director of Finance. Being the first hire in the function, he established the finance organization and processes to support the rapid growth of the company. He was promoted to CFO the following year, leading Finance, Accounting, Legal, and People teams. Prior to RXBAR, Jim spent 4 years at PepsiCo on their innovation finance team supporting their Tropicana business and moved into various finance positions at the Global Nutrition Group to focus on new market entry, product launches and global strategic planning for the Quaker business.
Jim received his bachelor’s degree from Miami University in 2007 and his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 2012. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Molly, and two kids.
Brigette Wolf, Head of Snack Futures Innovation, Mondelez International
Brigette Wolf is the Global Head of SnackFutures, Mondelez International’s innovation and venture hub. Since its creation last year, Brigette has led the creation of a cross-functional ecosystem of partners around the world, launched SnackFutures’ first market hub in Australia and created four completely new brands which are currently being piloted in the US and Europe.
Brigette has played a key role in advancing the company’s innovation agenda since its inception in 2012 serving as the senior director of Global Platform Innovation for Gum, Candy and Biscuits – leading the development and launch of Trident Vibes as well as brand manager for Belvita. Brigette’s history with the company also goes back to Kraft Foods with roles including the Global Innovation Manager for Oreo and working across several of the pizza and meal brands. Prior to being part of the food industry, Brigette worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse First Boston. Brigette received her undergraduate degrees from The University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School and her MBA from Northwestern Kellogg School of Management.
Steve Gaither, Chief Marketing Officer, CA Fortune
Steve Gaither is the Chief Marketing Officer at C.A. Fortune, and leads the C.A. Branding pillar. Founded as JB Chicago, C.A. Branding is an integrated marketing agency whose clients range from Fortune 500, middle-market, to emerging brands. As a mentor at the Good Food Business Accelerator, ICNC, the Food Foundry, Chicagoland Food and Bev, and The Hatchery, his relationships with entrepreneurs led him to co-found the Windy City Troublemakers, an early-stage food meetup in Chicago. Steve was formerly a partner in Spiral Sun Ventures and Windy City Food Brands, where he and his fellow CPG experts provided the capital and go-to market strategies that help brands accelerate their growth. Steve graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Architecture and Planning. He resides in Munster, Indiana with his wife and three children.
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