Food & Bev Entrepreneurship Night @ Ven Cafe + After Party @ Firebrand Saints

The Venture Cafe at the Cambridge Innovation Center in partnership with Branchfood, The Food Loft and a number of other local food companies is excited to host the second annual Food and Beverage Entrepreneurship Night on August 28th from 3pm-7pm!

Join us for office hours with leading mentors and investors in the Boston food space along with the The Capital Network UpStart Roundtable featuring early stage food startups and seasoned entrepreneurs. There will be a panel presentation highlighting current and upcoming industry trends as well as a business showcase & product sampling of locally made treats!

After party at Firebrand Saints following the event from 8pm-9:30pm!


Event schedule: 3:00 – 8:00 P.M. | Venture Café in Session

3:00 – 5:00 P.M. | Office hours detailed below, see for signups!

4:00 – 6:00 P.M. | TCN UpStart Roundtable with Tracey Noonan – Wicked Good Cupcakes®

TCN UpStart Roundtable, a monthly gathering, brings together Boston-area early-stage startups and seasoned entrepreneurs. This free series from The Capital Network, Venture Café, and Silicon Valley Bank is a great opportunity for you to ask burning questions about starting a company and meet other like-minded entrepreneurs in a casual setting. This Thursday, hear from Shark Tank winner Tracey Noonan of Wicked Good Cupcakes.

6:00 – 7:00 P.M. | Panel: What’s Next in Food & Bev?

CB Insights notes that $146 million went into food and beverage deals in 2013 and TechStars CEO David Cohen has said “People gotta eat. If there’s a bigger market, I don’t know what it is.” Given this growing interest in the sector, we ask, what’s next in food and bev?


• Rachel Greenberger, Director, Food Sol at Babson College

• Darnell Adams, Managing Director, Crop Circle Kitchen

• Lauren Abda, Managing Director, The Food Loft

• Andrew Share, Partner, Nixon Peabody

7:00 – 7:45 P.M. | Showcase

• The Craic and Blonde

• CogniTea

• CookRadar

• Follow The Honey

• Phfeast

• RSVPicnic

• SomethingGUD

Info Tables:

4:00 – 7:00 P.M. | The Food Loft

Located at 535 Albany Street, The Food Loft is a collaborative co-working space dedicated food and food-tech entrepreneurs.  It’s also home to Harvard Common Press, a James Beard Book Award publisher and an investor in several food-tech startups including YummlyCrowdly, and recently acquired Caviar (Square).

4:00 – 7:00 P.M. | Crop Circle Kitchen

Crop Circle Kitchen (CCK) operates Boston’s only non-profit shared-use commercial kitchen and culinary business incubator. CCK aims to promote entrepreneurship, create sustainable employment with meaningful access to career advancement, improve access to local, healthy food, and strengthen the regional food economy.  For the past five years, CCK has achieved this mission by providing hourly rental of a fully-equipped shared-use kitchen in Jamaica Plain to around 30-40 food businesses monthly, and by integrating technical assistance to support businesses as they start up and grow.

CropCircle Kitchen is proud to announce the opening of CCK Pearl, a 36,000 sq ft food production facility located on Quincy St. in Dorchester, an addition to their current shared kitchen space in Jamaica Plain. This new facility includes a commissary for contract processing, a large sharedkitchen space for rent, and individual tenant spaces for lease. CCK Pearl is designed specifically for business owners looking to take the next step in growing their food business – it has the capacity to support medium sized food businesses as they grow.

Office Hours

3:00 – 5:00 P.M. | J.D. Kemp

JD is Co-Founder of Crop Circle Kitchen and FoodEx. An in-the-trenches entrepreneur with passionate interests in the food system, economic development, sustainable agriculture, and the application of technology to under-served industries and cultures. He loves to find the core issues that link business, social, economic, and environmental opportunities; and then to forge and fund business plans to harvest these opportunities in unison. Through these two ventures and beyond, JD has helped launch over 120 small food businesses since 2008.

Email to reserve 20 minutes with JD.

3:00 – 5:00 P.M. | Investors Collaborative

Investors Collaborative (iC) provides venture capital to select early stage companies in a wide range of industry sectors including software, IT, biotechnology, clean technology, healthcare, energy, communications, hardware, and professional services. They seek to help individuals developing innovative technologies build world class companies.

Reserve 15 minutes with iC here.

3:00 – 5:00 P.M. | Chris Bergen – Nixon Peabody

Chris Bergen is an attorney with a corporate practice that includes the representation of private equity funds, portfolio companies and venture capital investors. Prior to joining Nixon Peabody, Chris worked as an associate in the corporate department of a leading international law firm based in Boston.

Chris is available to offer advice about:

• Seed investment rounds and negotiating terms of equity investments

• Obtaining funding and negotiating commercial contracts

• NP Capital Connector — how participation in the program is a great way for emerging companies to get noticed and obtain financing

Email to reserve 15 minutes with Chris.

3:00 – 5:00 P.M. | Scott Sanders

Scott Sanders is a sales, marketing, and analytics professional in the food and consumer packaged goods industry. He is director of CPG Analytics for Pivotstream, where he specializes in sales and marketing insights. He also has has provided consulting services for several clients, including Market Performance Group, a strategy consultant and sales management services company.

Scott has long been involved in the consumer goods industry through his family’s syrup manufacturing business. Scott started there while in high school and is still providing consulting services for them today for their Bosco Chocolate Syrup brand. Early in Scott’s career, he created a public relations campaign that resulted in the placement of Bosco on Seinfeld, where it became embedded in American pop culture as George Costanza’s ATM code.

In addition, Scott managed marketing analytics strategy for clients at Acosta Sales & Marketing, a consumer packaged goods sales agency that outsourced sales departments for about 25% of the U.S. grocery industry. His clients have spanned a wide range of blue-chip companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Ahold (Stop & Shop/Giant Food), Heinz, Clorox, Dr Pepper Snapple, Georgia-Pacific, and Welch’s.

Scott has a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson School.

Email to reserve 30 minutes with Scott.

3:00 – 6:00 P.M. | Joe Caruso

For the last 20 years Joe Caruso has served has been an “Advocate for entrepreneurs” as a mentor, coach, and personal advisor to CEO’s and entrepreneurs. In recent years, he has served an investor, advisor and active director with dozens of companies, public and private. He also maintains an active consulting practice dealing with structuring and negotiation of acquisitions, strategic partnerships and financings, and issues related to dispute resolution.

Reserve 30 minutes with Joe here.

3:00 – 7:00 P.M. | Ron Sarni

Ron Sarni is Development Director at Co-Creation Ventures andPresident and Founder of Boston Food Truck Alliance. The Alliance’s mission is to further advance, support and proliferate the mobile food truck industry in the greater Boston area.

Co- Creation Ventures is Stock Pot Malden’s incubator and venture capital fund for multicultural food entrepreneurs, specializing in food trucks and focused on local economic development in the diverse community of Malden, Massachusetts. They’re backed by a small, brilliant group of socially conscious angel investors who built the fund to help launch and/or grow multicultural, unique and promising food businesses. Their in-house staff of consultants and food business experts provide tools, consulting and business planning services, marketing assistance, and administrative support to help their independent food entrepreneurs flourish. They welcome applications for coaching and/or investment money from aspiring and existing food entrepreneurs, particularly those with a commitment to diversity and the local economy.

Stock Pot Malden Kitchen is a Malden-based commercial kitchen/commissary that leases licensed, state-of-the-art kitchen space to food trucks, food product entrepreneurs and caterers. As of August 2014, they’re still accepting new tenants seeking commercial kitchen space.

Email us to reserve 15 minutes with Ronald.

3:30 – 5:30 P.M. | Marty Sack

Marty Sack has mentored more than 200 start-ups over the last two years as a volunteer for SCORE. He brings with him the mentoring resources of more than forty additional successful executives, CPAs, small business owners, and other experts in diverse areas of business and non-profits–all volunteers offering free mentoring services.

Marty is the now retired co-founder of LunchDates Dating Service. He also founded and led a national job publication for 26 years, and he was the executive director of a Cambridge based non-profit for 18 years.

Reserve 30 minutes with Marty here.

3:30 – 5:30 P.M. | Ron Ackman

Rob Ackman has spent the last 30+ years as a Marketing Manager/Director in the quick serve and full serve restaurant industry with such brands as Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, Applebee’s, Uno’s and TGI Fridays.  He has worked with small and large franchisees to help them build sales and profits. Additionally, Ron is member of SCORE’s Boston chapter.

Reserve 30 minutes with Rob here

Join or login to comment.

  • Jeremy H.

    Great job last night. Happy to help from side of The Capital Network and MassVentures.

    1 · August 29

    • Lauren A.

      Thanks for your support, Jeremy! Great talking to you too and I look forward to working together soon!

      August 29

  • Fadi K.

    Good Job!!

    1 · August 29

    • Lauren A.

      Thanks, Fadi! Glad you could come out and I hope you enjoyed yourself!

      August 29

  • Ankur S.

    It was my first and I really enjoyed the experience

    1 · August 28

    • Lauren A.

      Great to hear, Ankur! Thanks for your support!

      August 29

  • Tania

    Thanks so much. Had a great time!

    1 · August 28

    • Lauren A.

      Thank you for coming, Tania! Glad you enjoyed the event!

      August 29

  • Terri L.

    sorry to have missed it! Hope to catch the next one!

    1 · August 29

    • Lauren A.

      No worries, Terri! Hope to see you at the next one!

      August 29

  • A former member
    A former member

    Food & Bev Entrepreneurship Night @ Ven Cafe in Cambridge Innovation Center was very modern with a lot of computerize technology that enhance New students, adults, business, and everybody to share thoughtful ideas of society of generation to follow. Until next time. "Happy ideas to the modern World" Once again thank you Lauren. ;) Love the brew!!

    1 · August 29

    • Lauren A.

      Great to meet you too, Chhoeum and thanks again for coming!

      August 29

  • A former member
    A former member

    It was a pleasure meeting you Lauren. ;)

    1 · August 28

  • A former member
    A former member

    Meetup was interesting & great. ;)

    1 · August 28

  • Janet

    Hi Lauren, would you like to have a marketer on your panel?

    August 13

  • Katherine P.

    I probably have to work but it's a great idea!

    1 · August 7

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