Fail Friday 2017 (On a Thursday): Food Startups Share Lessons Learned

Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 19:00
Food+Tech Meetup
New York

It's not easy being a food innovator. There's no road map for reinventing an industry.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with ForceBrands ( FoodForce ( | BevForce to celebrate failure in all its glory at Fail Friday (on a Thursday). Join us to hear stories of failure and lessons learned from top food entrepreneurs.

We will also have food from Cook Space Brooklyn (, Zaro's Bakery (, Banza (, Good Spread (, Victory Garden ( and Mama O's Premium Kimchi ( as well as festive drinks from Deep Eddy Vodka ( and Teavore ( And, as always, there will be lots of networking.

Do you have an innovative food or beverage product you would like to showcase? We have a few openings for food partners to sample products. Apply to sample here (!

Have a story about failure and the lessons you learned from it that you’d like to share? We have one spot available. Apply here (!

7:00 - 7:45: Networking, Snacks & Drinks
7:45 - 8:45: Failure Stories & Q&A
8:45 - 9:30: More Networking


Brian Rudolph, co-founder & CEO, Banza (

Brian is on a mission to make nutritious food more accessible. At the age of 23, Brian co-founded Banza along with his brother Scott. Banza makes comfort foods better by using more nutritious ingredients. Their first product is a high protein, lower carb pasta made from chickpeas. In the last two years, Banza's pasta has entered over 4,500 retail stores, was named by TIME Magazine as one of the 25 Best Inventions of 2015, is the fastest growing brand of pasta in the country, and has been featured on The TODAY show, NYT Food, and CNBC's Restaurant Startup. Recently, Banza was accepted into the inaugural Chobani Food Incubator. Mr. Rudolph is a member of the Forbes 30 under 30 and Inc 30 under 30 lists. Brian received his BBA from Emory University and is an alumnus of the Venture for America fellowship.

Danielle Gould, founder, Food+Tech Connect ( & co-founder, co-CEO, Alpha Food Labs (
Danielle Gould is the founder of Food+Tech Connect, the site of record and world’s largest community for food tech and innovation, and co-founder and co-CEO of Alpha Food Labs, a food innovation lab. Since 2010, Danielle has been the leading voice for leveraging new technology, investment and business models to create a better food future. She is also a founding member of the Culinary Institute of America's Business Leadership Council and a member of the Google Food Innovation Lab. Danielle was named one of Fast Company’s 'Most Creative People in Business' and one of Fortune and Food & Wine Magazines 'Most Innovative Women in Food.'

Michael Zaro, COO, Zaro's Family Bakery (
Michael is the COO at Zaros Family Bakery, a fourth generation bakery established in 1927. Michael began his career in the family business at an early age—making bakery boxes at Zaro's Parkchester location in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Prior to joining the bakery business, Michael worked as a television and music video producer. Michael reunited with his family once again in 2010, starting out as a line worker in the retail stores and retail bakery. Once he became familiar with all aspects of the bakery, Michael became a production manager. After successfully running several departments in the bakery Michael became the plant manager and several years later the COO.

Gregory Zamfotis, founder & CEO, Gregorys Coffee (
Gregory was raised in the F&B industry, from shaving carrots and making deliveries, to eventually helping manage some of his father's many businesses. The invaluable lessons Greg learned while watching his father run his businesses became the pillars upon which Gregorys Coffee was built. After studying finance, operations management, philosophy and law, Greg returned back to his roots and established a coffee company with his father. Gregorys Coffee opened for business in 2006 with one goal in mind: to provide you with the perfect cup of coffee. We wanted to open a specialty coffee company in the heart of New York City, focusing on the three things Greg’s father taught him were essential to succeeding in the industry: friendly service, speed and a superior quality product. The results were amazing, and it didn’t take long for the father & son team to open more locations. Gregorys now operates thirty stores across three states and remains hellbent on improving in all areas: from roasting our own beans and baking our own pastries to ensure superior quality, to our intensive barista training program to guarantee welcoming and efficient service.


ForceBrands ( is the leading recruiting and firm for the food, beverage, and beauty and personal care industries. ForceBrands offers executive recruiting services, board of director assembly, and industry-specific job boards FoodForce ( | BevForce | BeautyForce ( Whether you are working with the team of client strategists and executive recruiters for board of director and senior level roles or connecting directly to junior to mid-level talent through the industry-specific job boards, ForceBrands strives to transform the way consumer product industry professionals identify employment opportunities and employers are connected to future leaders.


FoodBytes! ( by Rabobank ( is a next-generation pitch competition that brings together game-changing startups, investors and industry leaders. FoodBytes! discovers the most ground-breaking startups and provides a safe haven for entrepreneurs to receive the mentorship, connections and capital they need to grow their businesses. Alumni include Back to the Roots, MycoTechnology, Love the Wild, Imperfect, Burlap & Barrel and Seal the Seasons. FoodBytes! is headed to San Francisco on March 1, and pitch applications are open throughJanuary 7 - learn more and apply to pitch here ( today!

Like our namesake borough, the Brooklyn Brewery is made up of a rich collection of characters from all over the world. In our Williamsburg home, these characters are dedicated to brewing and selling great beer and enriching the communities we serve. Together, these Brooklyners have assembled the skills needed to transform a home brewing hobby into an independent brewery with a brand that has become an international beacon for good beer.


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