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RutgersX Announces Accelerator Companies to Pitch at 2015 Conference


On October 13, RutgersX, the food accelerator at the Rutgers Food Innovation Center (FIC) announced the list of companies that have been selected to pitch a presentation at the RutgersX – Accelerating Food Entrepreneurs Conference on November 16, 2015.

The conference, which will be held during Global Entrepreneurship Week at the Rutgers College Avenue Student Center in New Brunswick, will allow selected food companies to make a pitch presentation in front of an audience including potential funders, strategic partners, customers, and fellow food entrepreneurs. The conference agenda also includes panel discussions with food industry leaders, conversations with successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, as well as remarks from state and national government leaders.

“We’re excited to present such a talented group of entrepreneurs as our first cohort of companies,” says Lou Cooperhouse, founder of RutgersX and director of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center, a food business incubation and economic development accelerator program of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) at Rutgers University. The FIC was named Incubator of the Year by the National Business Innovation Association (INBIA), an Agricultural Innovation Center Demonstration Program by the USDA, and recognized by the INBIA as the only Soft Landings program in the world that focuses on the food and agribusiness sector. (foodinnovation.rutgers.edu)

“[The companies] all offer unique and differentiated products with initial success in the marketplace and significant potential for growth,” says Cooperhouse. Accelerator companies selected to participate include the following:

Brewla Bars, a new take on the classic ice pop, was created by brother and sister team Daniel and Rebecca Dengrove launched the company in 2012 and landed the Sam Adams “Brewing the American Dream” pitch winning contest in 2013. The ice pops are flavored with brewed teas and botanicals with only 20-50 calories per bar.

Chia Star is a delicious line of beverages made with chia seed, fruits, and berries and started by Sara Erb, a nutritionist and passionate health food activist. The company began in 2012 and has supported youth and community organizations.

DouxMatok is currently optimizing technologies to make sugars with enhanced sweetness, enabling the use of less sugar while retaining the “full sugar experience.” Created by an inter-disciplinary group of professional food-tech, bio-tech, chemistry, and culinary arts leaders, this team has successfully led other ventures from seed to full-scale commercialization.

First Field was created by husband-and-wife team Patrick Leger and Theresa Viggiano in 2011. Aimed at making value-added pantry staples from fresh fruit and vegetables sourced directly from New Jersey growers, First Field captures the local harvest into year round enjoyment.

Hot Sauce 4 Good is a small, family run company dedicated to supporting charities. The company donates a minimum of $1 per bottle sold which has helped raise over $65,000 to date.

Jalma Farms produces all-natural products made with fresh local fruits including beach plums and aronia berries. The company is actively involved with maintaining the natural coastline of Cape May County by participating in dune restoration through beach plum plantings.

Jin+Ja is a blend of fresh ginger, green tea, cayenne pepper, mint and lemon that is now sold throughout the U.S. and beyond. In 2013, Jin+Ja was awarded the Specialty Food Association Soft Award for Outstanding Cold Beverage.

Megas Yeeros launched in Greece in 2007 and opened its first U.S. production facility in 2014, supplying the retail market with an authentic line of seasoned and stuffed kebabs branded My grillers.

Nutrasorb® developed and marketed enhanced botanical ingredients and crops pushing the frontiers of innovation to a new level with products including Rutgers Scarlet lettuce which contains more beneficial polyphenols than blueberries, Quinoa Milk™ for sports performance, muscle mass, and strength enhancement, and Nutringa™ which has demonstrated powerful anti-inflammatory activity and skin rejuvenation potential.

The RutgersX Accelerator Program was made possible with funding received by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in the fall of 2014. The program was the national winner of the SBA’s first program designed to create or enhance business accelerator and was the only award recipient in New Jersey, one of only 50 winners nationwide from over 800 applicants.

The RutgersX – Accelerating Food Entrepreneurs Conference will be held on Monday, November 16, 2015, at the Rutgers College Avenue Student Center in New Brunswick. Cost to attend the conference is $149 per person until November 1, and $199 per person after November 1. For more information visit x.rutgers.edu.

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