Past Meetup

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

This Meetup is past

116 people went

Price: $15.00 /per person
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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.

At our sixth installment of Fail Friday, we'll hear from Gotham Greens, Sweet Revenge, the founder of Modern Farmer 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 Jalapa Jar (, Cake in a Crate (, Barnana (, My Super Foods ( and Spread-mmms ( and killer cocktails from WTRMLN WTR (, Woodward Extract Co. ( and Daily Greens ( and lots of networking.

We're looking for one more savory food partner. If you're interested in showcasing your product, please email nina[at]foodtechconnect[dot]com.


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

7:45 - 8:45: Failure Stories & Q&A

8:45 - 9:30: More Networking


Ann Marie Gardner - Veteran journalist, Gardner has written on global social, cultural and design trends for The New York Times, Monocle, The London Times, Harpers Bazaar, Japanese Vogue, FT How to Spend It, W, Discover, Departures, Tatler, London’s Saturday Telegraph Magazine among many others.

She has launched multiple global multi-platform media brands including the acclaimed Modern Farmer, Monocle and NY Times T Style Magazine. Named a 2014 Folio 100 for Dynamic Disruption for ‘defying’ current media climates to start Modern Farmer (, Gardner now runs Tall Dark and Hudson, a content studio that creates branding and storytelling strategies for global brands. She holds an AB, from Boston College and an MS from Harvard.

Carmel Hagen - Founder, Sweet Revenge ( - When Carmel was eight, she faked a flu for two straight weeks so she could stay home and watch the Food Network. Her mom eventually caught on and sent her back to the classroom, but she never stopped playing hooky to hang out in the kitchen – and in 2015, after a decade working in tech startups, she finally found a way to do that without getting in trouble. Carmel started Sweet Revenge to elevate home baking with sustainable, junk-free alternatives to everyday ingredients. Starting with granulated nectar - a cup-for-cup sugar replacement that adds nutrients and reduces your sugar high - she's making the awesome experience of whipping up homemade treats smarter, healthier and every bit as delicious.

Viraj Puri - Co-Founder and CEO, Gotham Greens ( - Viraj co-founded Gotham Greens, a worldwide pioneer in the field of technologically-advanced, commercial-scale urban agriculture. Gotham Greens provides its diverse retail, restaurant, and institutional customers with reliable, year-round, local supply of produce grown under the highest standards of food safety and environmental sustainability. The company’s non-GMO, pesticide-free produce is grown using ecologically sustainable methods in technologically-sophisticated, 100% renewable energy-powered, climate-controlled urban greenhouses. Under Viraj’s leadership, Gotham Greens has grown to employ over 130 full time employees and become is the largest and most commercially successful urban agriculture company in the world. The company has built and operates over 170,000 square feet of technologically advanced, urban greenhouses across 4 facilities in New York City and Chicago. Gotham Greens has raised over $30 million to date, has experienced over 400% growth in the past year and is privately held.

Jessie Hsia & Hannah Lee - Co-founders, Kopi Trading Co. ( - Jessie and Hannah are former corporate captives who have escaped into the world of craft coffee. Friends since their days at Stuyvesant High School, Jessie and Hannah share a love of the rather unconventional start-up life. They blend corporate discipline with craft food quirk to build The Kopi Trading Co., specialists in Asian Cold Brew.