Food & Beverage

Get 1:1 advice from experienced F&B founders.

Jacob Jaber

Jacob Jaber

Co-Founder - Philz Coffee
Retail Sales Expert

Philz Coffee

Jacob Jaber is the Co-Founder & Chairman of Philz Coffee. As CEO for nearly two decades, Jacob grew Philz from the original coffee shop in San Francisco's Mission District to more than 70 locations across the country. Jacob has raised more than $100 million in funding from investors. Jacob is also a renowned investor and advisor and was named Forbes' 30 Under 30. Jacob is a pro in the consumer space, specializing in product, design, customer experience, retail, consumer technology, team building, org culture and more.

Philz Coffee
Raised $100M
Angel investor
Retail expansion
Food & Beverage
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Mikael Makinen

Mikael Makinen

Co-Founder - Four Sigmatic
CPG Expert

Four Sigmatic

Mikael Makinen is the Co-Founder of Four Sigmatic, a functional foods company especially known for its mushroom coffees. Mikael was responsible for growing Four Sigmatic's retail business from scratch to 8 figures profitable revenue and +5,000 retail doors in over 20 countries with the main focus in the United States. In the process, he hired and managed an internal team from the ground up, and sourced tens of distributors, and hundreds of external sales reps. Mikael stepped down from his operational role after 11 years and remains an active board member of the company. Mikael is an expert in B2B sales, profitability, fundraising, international business, and CPG strategy and operations. 

Retail sales
International expansion
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Alec Lee

Alec Lee

CEO - Endless West
Food & Beverage Expert

Endless West

Alec Lee is the co-founder and CEO of Endless West, a beverage startup that creates its own unique blend of wines and spirits using scientific production methods. The whiskey has won 14 awards, and the company has raised more than $100 million in funding from IndieBio, SOSV, Horizon Ventures, and Level One Fund. Prior to Endless West, he co-founded M Prep, a pre-medical online education company that he bootstrapped and scaled before being acquired by a strategic in 2019. Alec Lee graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in biotechnology and later earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.

Raised $100m+ in funding
Exit founder (M Prep)
Food & beverage science
Harvard MBA
Beverage startups
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Austin Sherman

Austin Sherman

Founder - Big Easy Bucha
F&B Sales Expert

Big Easy Bucha
Southbound Tequila

Austin founded and was the CEO of Big Easy, a producer of healthy, refreshing, and organic functional beverages which retails at more than 5,000 locations nationwide. Austin started this business from his apartment, eventually scaling to 8 figures in annual net revenue, and selling Big Easy to a global strategic In 2021. Austin is currently the Co-Founder and CGO of Southbound Tequila, and has been an opinion-shaping voice in the CPG industry ever since 2014. He has successfully sold products to the Nations top retailers such as Publix Supermarkets, Whole Foods, Walmart, Kroger, Ralphs, Costco, The Fresh Market, Erewhon, and many more, and raised over $10MM in investments.

Exit founder (Big Easy)
Launching CPG products
Scaled to 4,000+ retailers
Creating an exit strategy
Retail expansion
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Sasha Tan

Sasha Tan

Founder - C.riously
Retail & E-commerce Expert

500 Startups

Sasha Tan is the founder of C.riously, a company that makes nutritious health snacks. She previously founded Favful (a personalized beauty care platform), which was backed by Segnel Ventures, Gobi Partners, and 500 Global before it was acquired by iMedia in 2022. She is a serial entrepreneur, having founded her first F&B business in Singapore at the age of 21. She is also experienced in growing internet businesses, having served as a founding team member and VP of Product at HappyFresh, Southeast Asia's leading online grocery delivery service. In addition, she was named a Forbes 30 Under 30 leader (Asia) for Retail & Ecommerce in 2017.

Forbes 30 Under 30
Founded Favful
Acq. by iMedia
500 Global
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Lisa Curtis

Lisa Curtis

Founder & CEO - Kuli Kuli
Forbes 30 Under 30

Kuli Kuli

Lisa Curtis is the founder and CEO of Kuli Kuli, the leading brand pioneering the superfood moringa in the US market. She began working on Kuli Kuli while in the Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa. As a volunteer in her village’s health center, she gained an understanding of nutritional challenges in West African villages and how moringa can help. Prior to Kuli Kuli, Lisa served as the Communications Director at Mosaic, wrote political briefings for President Obama in the White House, and worked at an impact investment firm in India. Lisa has been recognized as a Forbes 30 Under 30 leader, a Udall Scholar and a 'dedicated humanitarian' by the Muhammad Ali Center. Lisa is a frequent speaker at social impact and natural food conferences on topics such as supply chain transparency, building buzz, fundraising and millennial entrepreneurship.

Forbes 30 Under 30
White House
Kuli Kuli
D2C marketing
Food & beverage
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Carlos Camara

Carlos Camara

CEO - Metagreen Ventures
Scientist & Inventor

Tribo Labs

Carlos Camara is a scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur. He has a Ph.D. in high energy density physics from UCLA and has extensive experience with R&D, technology transfer, and licensing of intellectual property. Co-inventor of a revolutionary new X-ray source, Carlos started a company to commercialize his invention, raising money from private investors, VCs, and strategic partners. The technology is now being sold in Asia through a commercial partner. Carlos has started several companies and has worn many hats within startups, from founder to executive to advisor and fundraiser. Currently, Carlos is the CEO of a technology company in the cannabis space, bringing science, engineering, and manufacturing best practices to the booming CA market. Passionate about the journey from invention to market, Carlos is always happy to share his knowledge and experience with others.

Obtaining patents
Manufacturing best practices
Commercializing inventions
Licensing intellectual property
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Bill Capsalis

Bill Capsalis

Founder - Markenomics
DTC Expert

Naturally Boulder

Bill Capsalis is a recognized expert in healthy lifestyles and go-to-market strategies in the natural product industry. He was previously the CEO of Haystack Mountain Creamery - an artisanal goat cheese company and saw the company through a sale in early 2021. Today he is the Executive Director of Naturally Boulder - a trade association in the natural products industry with over 1,000 members and 100 sponsoring companies. His in-depth industry knowledge gives him a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing today’s food and beverage brands. He has mentored, advised and coached over 250 food, beverage, personal care, vitamins and nutritional supplement brands over the past 27 years.

27+ years in supplement industry
Getting into big retail
Raising from private equity
Scaling e-commerce
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Rogelio Choy

Rogelio Choy

CEO - Cars & Bids
Marketplace Expert

Cars & Bids

Rogelio "Ro" Choy is the CEO of Cars & Bids, . Previously he was the CEO of Eaze from 2019 to 2022, a cannabis-focused on-demand marketplace, where he led it's growth from less than $2OM to $2OOM+ in revenue. Prior to Eaze Ro was the CEO of BitTorrent (acquired by TRON blockchain), CBO of Luxe (on-demand valet parking app, acquired by Volvo), Director of eBay's Auto Group, and Strategy Consultant at Bain & Company.

Scaled rom $20m - $200m
CEO BitTorrent
CEO Eaze
CBO Luxe
Bain & Company
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Billy Bosch

Billy Bosch

Founder - ICONIC Protein
CPG Sales Expert

Whole Foods

William (Billy) Bosch is a consumer products entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience launching products, scaling into retail and e-commerce, and raising money. He is most known for founding ICONIC – one of the largest natural protein supplement brands in the United States. Starting with a humble idea to create protein supplements free of hormones and unethical farming techniques, Billy has scaled ICONIC to more than 5,000 retailers across the US including Whole Foods, Walmart, and Macy's, and has raised millions of dollars from private equity investors.

Raised $30m+
Big retail sales
Whole Foods
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Dan Bauer

Dan Bauer

President - Bauer & Associates Inc.
Marketing and Strategy Expert

Harvard Business School
MBA Exchange

Described as a "creative dynamo" by Inc. Magazine. A recognized expert in marketing and entrepreneurship, Dan Bauer founded The MBA Exchange education and career advisory firm ranked among the Inc. 5000. Since then, as head of Bauer & Associates, he has delivered high-impact, marketing guidance to clients ranging from Fortune 100 to startups in 30+ industries. Previously, he was SVP of Global Debit Marketing & Sales for MasterCard International and as VP of National Marketing for Citicorp. His career includes account management at DDB Needham and Ketchum Advertising. Bauer earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in general management and marketing. He ranked in the top 15% of his class in industry and competitive analysis.

SVP MasterCard
VP Citibank
Inc. 5000
Harvard MBA
Board Member MonogramGroup
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What Does a Food and Beverage Expert & Mentor Do?

A food and beverage mentor is an experienced professional in the food and beverage industry who knows the ins and outs of how this unique market works. Food and beverage mentors have faced the challenges and felt the triumphs that come with building a food or beverage startup, and they use their hard-won expertise to guide aspiring entrepreneurs in the food and beverage sector.

What Is the Food and Beverage Industry?

The food and beverage industry is a broad market comprising a wide range of companies that contribute to the production, processing, distribution, and sale of consumer food and beverages. It includes everything from large-scale food manufacturing companies to small, artisanal food startups and beverage startups. 

Food and beverage is a constantly evolving industry driven by consumer demand and advancements in food technology. Many of today’s emerging food and beverage brands focus on popular niches, such as:

Many of the most successful brands on the cutting edge of the food and beverage market also employ innovative business strategies like food subscription business models and farm to table solutions.

How Big Is the Food and Beverage Industry?

The global food and beverage industry is one of the largest in the world. In 2023, the value of the food and beverage industry was approximately $7.2 trillion, up from approximately $6.7 trillion in 2022. Though the war between Russia and Ukraine has disrupted global food supply chains considerably, the value of the food and beverage market is still expected to rise over the next few years at a compound annual growth rate of 6.3%

What Are the Top Challenges of the Food and Beverage Industry?

While the food and beverage industry presents tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs, it also comes with its share of challenges.

A food and beverage advisor can help you navigate these challenges and persevere through the tough early stages of startup growth in the food and beverage industry.

What Can a Food and Beverage Mentor Do for You?

A food and beverage mentor from Mentorcam can offer invaluable support as you build your food and beverage startup. Mentorcam’s food and beverage mentors have spent years exploring this industry and discovering its key trends — you can use their expertise to your advantage as you establish your company as a player in the market.

The food and beverage industry offers great potential for first-time food and beverage founders and experienced foodpreneurs alike, but succeeding despite its complexities can be a tall order. Having a food and beverage mentor by your side can help you face the market’s challenges with confidence and allow you to thrive in this ever-evolving industry.

Related areas of interest: Growth Marketing, Fundraising, eCommerce