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Fail Friday (on a Thursday): Food Startups Share Lessons Learned

It's not easy being a food innovator. There's no road map for reinventing an industry. So, in partnership with Force Brands: FoodForce | BevForce, we cooked up the Fail Friday series to celebrate failure in all its glory. 

This time around, we'll hear from the WTRMLN WTR, Super Sprowtz, The 86 Company and more. Startups will share their stories of failure and lessons learned from growing their businesses, followed by audience Q&A. 

There will be snacks from food360Legally Addictive Foods and Pure Genius Provisions, cocktails from The 86 Company, a coffee bar from Califia Farms and watermelon juice from WTRMLN WTR. Plus lots of networking.


7:00 - 7:45: Networking, Snacks & Drinks

7:45 - 8:45: Failure Stories & Q&A

8:45 - 9:30: More Networking


Jeff Rubenstein - CMO, WTRMLN WTR - the pioneer in cold pressed, juiced watermelon and one of the fastest growing companies in beverage.  Prior to WTRMLN WTR, Mr. Rubenstein served as SVP, Marketing for Vita Coco, the worldwide leader in coconut water, where he was instrumental in helping the brand evolve from a niche, natural food trend with revenues under $10M into a global phenomenon with revenues over $300M and a 2014 partial sale to Red Bull China that valued the business at $665M. He spent the early part of his career in Brand Management at The Coca-Cola Company.

Considered a leading voice in consumer marketing, Mr. Rubenstein is regularly featured as a speaker at industry and academic conferences, including those at Harvard Business School.  Mr. Rubenstein is a graduate of the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida and currently lives in New York City with his wife Loren and daughter Olivia.

Kate Galassi - Product Head, Natoora - Kate started her career in food as an apprentice on an organic produce farm in New Hampshire. She has worked for several Union Square Greenmarket producers including Rick's Picks and Cayuga Pure Organics. In 2010 she became the produce buyer for The Spotted Pig and The Breslin. In early 2013 she co-founded Quinciple, a curated farmers' market box company. She recently left Quinciple and has joined the team at Natoors a London-based produce company. 

Alice Cheng - Founder & CEO, Culinary Agents - a professional networking and job matching website designed for current and aspiring professionals in the food, beverage, and hospitality industry.  Having spent years working in a restaurant and then going on to work for IBM for 13 years in cross-industry innovation, Alice brings her knowledge of technology into the food and beverage industry to solve inefficiencies and gaps around talent sourcing and career development. Alice is a deeply experienced business, marketing and sales professional who is passionate about helping people build careers and has taken, and continues to take, leadership roles in mentoring all levels of talent in the technology, business and hospitality spaces.

Radha Agrawal - Founder & CEO, Super Sprowtz - a leading children's multi-media nutrition education company whose mission is to engage children to make better food choices through storytelling, music and a proven curriculum impacting over 1 million children and counting. Visit to learn more. 

Radha is also the co-Founder of Daybreaker, an early morning dance party for urban professionals that takes place on weekday mornings and serves coffee, tea and green juice in lieu of alcohol and replaces the monotony and often lonely gym experience for a community inspired dance party. She is also the co-Founder of THINX, a women’s apparel company that provides a sustainable,patented solution for women to provide support, comfort, confidence, and peace of mind during their "time of the month" and beyond. 

She was a 2013 Recipient for the Tribeca Film Festival "Disruptive Innovation Awards", was named by MTV as “one of eight women who will change the world” and was named by Forbes Magazine as a "2013 Millenial On a Mission”.

Malte Barnekow - CEO, The 86 Company - The 86 Company develops and sells hight quality spirits designed by bartenders for bartenders specifically for crafted cocktails and house pour use. The 86 Co. portfolio currently includes Fords Gin, Caña Brava Rum, Aylesbury Duck Vodka and Tequila Cabeza, all launched in the United States in 2012. 

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  • Alain B.

    importance of lining up marketing early.

    August 21, 2015

  • Cheryl S.

    Great group, great energy, great lessons to be learned. Thanks.

    2 · August 21, 2015

  • Jesse M.

    Thank you to the organizers- your events are always top notch, and this one was one of the better ones in recent memory. Learning from other people's failures is important as a general principal of life, and I think it helped break down some barriers and connect some great people.

    2 · August 21, 2015

  • Nancy K.

    The meetup last night was awesome! As usual, I met many entrepreneurs doing truly new, inventive things. The speakers were brave and inspiring. A big thank you to Nina, Danille, Holley, Elizabeth and everyone else who worked so hard to make it happen.

    4 · August 21, 2015

    • Nancy K.

      Whoops! I meant Danielle, of course!

      August 21, 2015

  • Ed L.

    Great meetup last night! A terrific list of speakers, and very well organized, as ever.

    I just posted some photos to the album—tag away!

    1 · August 21, 2015

  • A former member
    A former member

    I had a wonderful experience at this Food and Tech meetup. I'll definitely be back for the next one!

    1 · August 21, 2015

  • Stephanie M.

    Hi! Any chance for a live webinar or Periscope stream?

    August 19, 2015

    • Nina M.

      we're planning to Periscope. We will tweet out the link!

      August 20, 2015

  • Rob

    Wanted to let the community know that we at Servy are hiring! We're a food tech startup in NYC, and I'd love to find one of our first hires in this awesome group:

    See you all tomorrow night!

    1 · August 19, 2015

    • Francis A.

      Hi Rob. Thank you for your post. I'm strongly interested in applying for an opportunity at Servy. I checked out the site and the work is quite fascinating. I hope to meet you there.

      August 19, 2015

  • Daniel

    The last Fail Friday I attended was very insightful and I am looking forward to this one. I can't wait to meet more people who are passionate about Food+Tech!

    1 · August 18, 2015

  • Iris S.

    Very excited to meet other entrepreneurs working in the field of food + tech.

    3 · August 14, 2015

    • Nina M.

      We're excited to meet you there, Iris!

      August 18, 2015

  • Krik A.

    Excited about this one! :)

    2 · August 7, 2015

    • Nina M.

      Excited to see you there and catch up, Krik!

      August 7, 2015

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