Meet the 2019 Hacking Food Speakers and Entrepreneurs

Hacking Food 2019 will bring together founders, funders and foodies from across the Bay area to move the needle on investment and innovation in sustainable food and agriculture. Get to know some of the speakers, entrepreneurs and investors that will be participating at this year's event. Full agenda and participant list coming soon!

Hacking Food Speakers

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Eric Adamson
Co-Founder & CEO, Tortuga AgTech
The grandson of farmers, a lifelong green thumb, and a passionate environmentalist, Eric has always aspired to build a company that directly improves the human relationship with the earth. Alongside Tim Brackbill, he co-founded Tortuga AgTech with that mission in mind. Prior to Tortuga, Eric advised Fortune 500 corporations at McKinsey & Company, focusing on Agriculture and Energy. He has worked for small-scale organic apple farms and the world's largest agribusiness companies. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an MS Management Science & Engineering and BA Psychology from Stanford University.


Marcus Benedetti
CEO, Clover Sonoma
Since inheriting the mantle of Clover President and CEO from his father, Marcus Benedetti has worked tirelessly to continue the forward-thinking tradition of excellence established by his esteemed predecessors. As the third generation of his family to carry Clover’s legacy forward, Marcus’s leadership has been a balancing act between defining the company’s future vision, and paying homage to its distinguished past. Since taking the helm in 2006, Marcus has made his mark on the business by successfully expanding both Clover’s product line and its reach to new markets beyond its Northern California roots.


Lyndsey Boucherle
Associate, Better Ventures
Lyndsey is passionate about social impact, systems change and the role business and capital can play in creating a better world. She has 12 years global experience in Asia, Europe and the US leading initiatives at the CEO level, as well as global projects and corporate partnerships, focused on social impact and sustainability. Better Ventures is a venture firm that backs entrepreneurs building a better world. They provide funding and support to high-growth technology companies pursuing social and environmental outcomes, from work and education to health and sustainability. They take a hands-on approach and invest at the pre-seed and Series Seed stages.


Liz Carlisle 
Lecturer, School of Earth. Energy, and Environmental Sciences at Stanford University; author of Grain by Grain
Liz Carlisle is a Lecturer in the School of Earth. Energy, and Environmental Sciences at Stanford University, where she teaches courses on food and agriculture, sustainability transition, and environmental communication. She holds a Ph.D. in Geography from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in Folklore and Mythology from Harvard University, and she formerly served as Legislative Correspondent for Agriculture and Natural Resources in the Office of U.S. Senator Jon Tester. Recognized for her academic writing with the Elsevier Atlas Award, which honors research with social impact, Liz has also published numerous pieces for general audience readers, in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Business Insider, and Stanford Social Innovation Review.


Sylvie Charles    
CEO, Just Date Syrup
Sylvie Charles, MD, is the founder and CEO of Just Date Syrup. Sylvie’s lifelong passion for food and healing was planted at a young age in her family kitchen, where she shared nourishing, Indian meals steeped in healing, Ayurvedic tradition. Sylvie is a UCSF trained medical doctor, who through the course of her career as a physician, became passionate about refined sugar and its impact on our health. What started as a side project turned into something she needed to bring to the public- ultimately Sylvie left her career in medicine to focus on helping people choose a better sugar.

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Jim Flatt 
Co-founder & CEO, Brightseed 
Brightseed believes nutrition is medicine. They combine machine learning and systems biology to discover naturally occurring compounds with proven clinical benefits for health and wellness. Jim is a Biosciences R&D leader with track record of translating breakthrough discoveries and leading-edge technology into commercially successful products, including nutritional lipids at Martek Biosciences, renewable products at Synthetic Genomics, renewable biofuels at Mascoma and plant-based foods at Hampton Creek. He is an MIT Chemical Engineer, University of Wisconsin PhD.


Arno Hesse 
Co-founder, FOOD FUNDEDCrediblesinvestibule
Arno focuses on money innovations to strengthen communities and food Systems. He works at the intersection of combining shifts in culture with technology innovations. With initiatives like Credibles, Investibule, and Slow Money, he's been applying new approaches to such emerging market needs. 


Dan Altschuler Malek
Managing Partner, Unovis Partners & New Crop Capital
Dan's mission is to transform the global food chain by leveraging his passions for food, entrepreneurship, and sustainability. As Managing Partner for Unovis Partners and New Crop Capital, he seek startups that align with their focus on delicious plant, fungi and cell-based replacements to meat, dairy, egg and seafood products that are good for us, good for the planet and good for all living beings. Dan works closely with entrepreneurs to strategize and tackle the challenges they face including identifying market opportunities, R&D for new products, growing distribution, scaling manufacturing and exploring international markets.


Haider Nazar
Co-Founder & CEO, MAHA Global
Haider’s personal philosophy is: Happiness doesn’t come from pursuing it, but rather, from aligning your actions to your values. As the leader of MAHA, Haider is thrilled that this personal philosophy integrates so well into our company mission. MAHA connects and empowers values-aligned brands, influencers and individuals in service of amplified global impact. Utilizing existing creative services and impact consulting to help brands and influencers define and communicate their purpose, they are building an impact management system with key modules that empower brands to implement and expand their impact. This global purpose-driven digital community of brands, influencers, investors and individuals, all connected and organized underneath the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals will accelerate business as a force for good.


Joe Pickrell
CEO, Gencove
Joe is co-founder and CEO of Gencove. Joe is a statistical geneticist who has published scientific papers in the most selective scientific journals like Nature, Science, Nature Genetics, and PNAS. Prior to founding Gencove, he was a professor at New York Genome Center and Columbia University, and he holds a PhD in human genetics from the University of Chicago.


Bob Quinn 
Organic Farmer, author of Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food
Bob is a farmer and grower of KAMUT brand ancient wheat. He has a deep passion for organic farming and the need to provide a sustainable, nutritional food source for our nation. A deep-rooted belief that rural communities should be valued and nurtured has always been a driving force for him. He is a writer and travels to conventions, food shows and other farms to share his experiences and message about organic agriculture. 


Raja Ramachandran
Co-founder & CEO 
Raja has launched, with a brilliant team,, leveraging connected technologies such as IOT, cloud, algorithms, machine learning and blockchains to help solve large, global problems around food. Raja recently was part of the early founding team at R3CEV and managed the product development function. Prior to R3CEV, Raja had a successful foreign exchange trading career, managing electronic trading and execution platforms and lead regulatory implementation over a 20 year career at Bank of Boston (BAML), Citi, Silicon Valley Bank and Wells Fargo. In addition, Raja helped co-found, was COO and lead two venture funded start ups to exit. 


Trishna Saigal
Founder & CEO, Down to Cook
Trishna is a food product innovator with a strong background in plant-based products. She is passionate about making healthy food accessible, inclusive and equitable. At Down to Cook, they’re on a mission to make cooking plant-based healthy meals at home fun and easy — so you can feel good and spend more time on what matters.


Meena Sankaran
Founder & CEO, KETOS
Meena is an accomplished technology executive, business leader and evangelist driving global strategy and innovation for customer success through a variety of leadership roles. She has been a key influencer and executed on product strategy with her unique blend of business and technical acumen to customers worldwide across organizations of varied sizes. As a Social Entrepreneur, she believes in leveraging technology for challenges that bring about global change and deliver solutions to impact at a grass roots level. She has a BE in Electronics Engineering from India and MS in Electrical Engg from UTA, Texas. Her Leadership in KETOS's engineering innovation, product & business strategy, team discipline and strong culture are instrumental in the path to success. She has been a winner of several awards including being featured on Forbes as one of the awe-inspiring women.


Miyoko Schinner 
Founder & CEO, Miyoko's
Founder and CEO of Miyoko’s, Miyoko Schinner, sparked the rise of the multi-million dollar plant-based cheese revolution by engineering a proprietary technology for making dairy from plants. Earning the title “the Queen of vegan cheese,” the bestselling author, chef, and entrepreneur has dedicated 30+ years to affecting social change and sustainability through veganism and activism. Inspiring the general public through her 5 cookbooks, including the groundbreaking best-seller Artisan Vegan Cheese and The Homemade Vegan Pantry—the Art of Making Your Own Staples, Schinner recognized that there was a clear demand for delicious dairy products made from plants. In response, she launched Miyoko’s in 2014 and set out to redefine the categories of “cheese” and “butter” with complex flavors that have garnered multiple awards and the attention of The New York Times, Forbes, Food and Wine, and Good Morning America. 


Christine Su  
Co-Founder & CEO, PastureMap
Christine is the CEO and co-founder of PastureMap, a technology company helping ranchers increase profits on healthy grasslands. Christine has 3 degrees from Stanford, including an MS in Land Use and Agriculture and an MBA. Prior to founding PastureMap, she worked at McKinsey and at KKR Capstone, where she was an operations executive building performance improvement software for companies from $500 million to $2 billion in revenue size. With PastureMap, Christine Su now brings this operational experience to improve ranch and farm profitability. Today, PastureMap proudly supports 10,000 ranchers in forty countries. Looking forward, PastureMap is focused on helping producers get rewarded for their regenerative practices by connecting producers and consumers.


Chuck Templeton  
Managing Director, S2G Ventures
Chuck is the Managing Director for S2G Ventures (Seed 2 Growth), food and ag venture fund investing in businesses that make the food system more sustainable, distributed, healthy, climate resistant and equitable. They invest from soil to shelf, and seed to growth rounds.


Rob Veres  
Partner, Spero Ventures
Spero Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm that invests in founders building a future that belongs to everyone. Through his work there, Rob aims to deliver value to shareholders and society, investing in the things that make life worth living: well-being, work and purpose and human connections. Spero Ventures spun out of Omidyar Network in early 2018. 


Kelsey Witherow 
CEO, Doughp 
Kelsey is a wildly passionate entrepreneur with an engaging spirit and an unparalleled work ethic. After 10 years with Intel, she left her high-tech corporate life to start Doughp, an edible, bakeable, and ridiculously tasty cookie dough company on a mission to make the world a little sweeter. Doughp's products stand out from the crowd with an Eat-it-or-Heat-it approach and "The Doughp 7”; seven all-natural ingredients that make up the base cookie dough recipe. Doughp has storefronts on San Francisco’s famous Pier 39, the San Francisco Giants’ ballpark and, most recently, the Las Vegas Strip, and were featured on Shark Tank in May 2019. Their mission to change the world starts with their #Doughp4Hope initiative, working to reduce stigmas around mental health & addiction. They donate heavily to non-profits working in the space and also walk-the-walk by instilling crucial Mental Health Policies for their staff.


Michelle Wolf
Co-Founder & CTO, New Wave Foods
Michelle passionately applies her technical background to work that can have a near term global impact. After learning about the devastating impacts of seafood supply chains, she was inspired to create plant-based alternatives that mitigate these unhealthy practices. Her development experience includes groundbreaking projects at L’Oreal and leading-edge research at Carnegie Mellon University, including work on novel biomaterials and cancer therapies. She received her MS in Biomedical Engineering and BS in Materials Science and Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Meet the Companies and Entrepreneurs

Enjoy product samples and live demonstrations! We have an inspiring and growing group of social entrepreneurs that will staff booths from companies including:

You can also see our growing list of attendees, participants and current agenda over here.

Thank you to our Hacking Food partners and sponsors!