Join us in May as we launch The Founders Series - a new CFBN series presented in partnership with JB Chicago (A CA Fortune Company), Fifty Gazelles, and PreBrands. This 5-part series of events will focus on creating conversations and connections for founders’ from the growing and scaling companies of the Chicagoland start-up food scene. The Founders Series will combine food, cutting edge conversation, and a bit of networking for a happy hour well spent.
Our first event - Finance - sets the tone and pace for curated conversations with the experts and peers you want to know. As founders, you are faced by the eternal statement, “I need capital”. The important question to be asking yourself, and which is asked of you, is usually, “Why?”. There is a continuum of capital between debt and equity, and a time for both in your business venture. Our first conversation will address the “When” - when do I use SBA? Traditional debt? Factoring? Venture capital? Strategic or PE? To help us navigate, we have brought together all of the players involved in the conversation. And, we’ve asked them to help evaluate the capital with your needs - the needs of the founder, the entrepreneur, the “doer”, and the day-to-day operator - in mind.
We will also be joined by Kraft Heinz's Springboard Incubator for a special presentation on their upcoming cohort!
Our speakers & moderator for this conversation:
Steve Gaither (moderator), President of JB Chicago a C.A. Fortune Company
Steve Gaither is the president of JB Chicago, a division of C.A. Fortune. JB is an integrated marketing agency focused on CPG whose clients range from larger brands like Smithfield Foods and Tetrapak and emerging brands including Real Good Foods and Protes. As a mentor at the Good Food Business Accelerator, ICNC and The Hatchery, his relationships with the entrepreneurs led him to co-found the Windy City Troublemakers, an early-stage food brands group in Chicago. Steve was formerly a partner in Spiral Sun Ventures and Windy City Food Brands, where he and his fellow CPG experts provide the operational know-how and go-to market strategies that help brands accelerate their growth. Steve graduated from Ball State University (1994) with a degree in Architecture and Planning. He resides in Munster, Indiana with his wife and three children.
Bob Dekker, Managing Director, Balmoral Advisors
Bob Dekker is a career capital markets professional and entrepreneur with extensive experience working with companies ranging from emerging growth to large, publicly traded enterprises. He specializes in developing and implementing creative capital formation strategies and advising clients on alternative approaches for maximizing shareholder value in connection with merger and acquisition activities. Bob has been an advisor to a wide assortment of public and private companies in the food and consumer products industries including independent and franchise restaurants, food retailers and food packaging companies. Prior to joining Balmoral, Bob co-founded Insight Advisory Partners, a boutique investment banking firm based in Chicago focused on the food and beverage sector. Previously he was a senior banker with ABN AMRO, Inc. and its predecessor, The Chicago Corporation, where he managed the firm’s private placement activities in North America. Bob began his career with Prescott, Ball & Turben, Inc. (an affiliate of Kemper Insurance Company) in Cleveland, OH. Bob has arranged over $2 billion of private market transactions during his investment banking career. He is a member of the Association for Corporate Growth where he co-chairs the committee responsible for hosting ACG’s Annual Food Conference. For the past five years, Bob has served as a Super Mentor to several emerging growth food companies that have been accepted into the Good Food Business Accelerator (part of the 1871 incubator) mentoring program, and he also serves as a member of its Steering Committee. Bob holds a BA in Economics from Denison University.
Heather La Freniere, Managing Director/Head of Emerging Growth & Tech, Stonegate Capital
Michael Schopin, Partner, Zenfinity Capital LLC
Maggie Webb, SBA Loan Officer & Kristen Timson, Middle Market Commercial Banker, Huntington National Bank
Networking nights with The Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network are an opportunity to access an inclusive network dedicated to bringing together all of the industry players of the greater Chicagoland area to develop meaningful and mutually beneficial business connections. The evening provides a great opportunity to enjoy drinks and appetizers and an opportunity to mingle - forging new connections and circling back with contacts from other events, all while experiencing the power of the CFBN network!
Happy Hour beverages and light refreshments will be provided.
The Founder's Series is presented in partnership with:
JB Chicago (A CA Fortune Company) is a Food & Beverage Industry Provider member of the network.
Pre Brands is a Cornerstone Food & Beverage Industry member of the network.
Kraft Heinz is a Food & Beverage Industry member of the network.
Fifty Gazelles is a Food & Beverage Industry Provider member of the network.
Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network
1 W Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60603
Tel (312) 525-9653