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Meet the jury 2020

Meet the Startup Innovation Challenge 2020 Jury 

The Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge gives startups the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a jury of R&D experts, investors and major F&B industry company representatives. Now in its 5th year, the Startup Innovation Challenge 2020 will be hosted virtually as part of the Fi Europe CONNECT 2020 virtual event.

Darko Jesic

Darko-JESIC.jpegDarko has a PhD in innovation management from the Paris-Dauphine University where he also gives lectures in Strategic Management. After working in the Marketing Department for a large company (L’Oréal Group), he oriented his studies towards Management of Technology and Innovation. His field of expertise is managing Open Innovation strategies, R&D initiatives, collaborative tools that help companies to better satisfy the market needs through innovative products, processes and services. His special interest is managing of innovation processes through organizing creative workshops with various actors, such as R&D, marketing experts, external partners, etc. With one step in the academic field and the other in the professional field, he brings best practices into action.

Sandra Einerhand

Sandra-Einerhand.jpgDr Einerhand runs a nutrition consultancy providing strategic and innovative solutions to infant formula, medical foods, and other food (ingredient) companies. She also is a partner of Nutrition Consultants Cooperative (NCC) and works on a freelance basis for Presans, a Paris-based service provider in high-end open innovation. Before 2015, she worked as Scientific Program Director for Danone Nutricia, and as Nutrition and Health Director for Tate & Lyle Ingredients and Lipid Nutrition leading R&I programs to bring new natural ingredients, prebiotics, probiotics, sweeteners, lipids, infant formulas and (medical) food products to the market with scientifically proven health benefits yielding several patents.

Eike Kieras

Eike KierasIn 2018 Eike Kieras founded KitchenTown Berlin together with Lukas Neuß. As co-founder, he is dedicating all his professional attention to startups, venture building and food innovation. Earlier, Eike used to work as a strategic consultant for the Bahlsen Group.



Alexandre Bastos

Alexandre_Bastos_Givaudan.jpgAlexandre is an active player in the Givaudan journey to drive a more collaborative and inclusive approach to innovation. Alexandre's role as Global Director Front End Innovation for the Flavors Division is to explore and bring new opportunities by connecting with start-ups and entrepreneurs that are innovating and disrupting the food and agriculture ecosystem.

Following the spin-off of Givaudan from Roche in 2000, Alexandre joined the company in 2001 in Digital Innovation, first in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and then in Zurich, Switzerland, leading key global programs, helping the company to be faster and better in a global environment. In 2012 he joined Global Strategy Development for the Flavours Division with a key role in shaping up the divisional strategy. Since 2017 Alexandre is leading the collaborative innovation work with startups and emerging foodtech for the Flavours Division, as part of the Science & Technology department. Before Givaudan Alexandre worked for Accenture as a consultant and for Ultrapar, a major oil company in Brazil, as a business analyst.

Christiaan Kalk

Christiaan-Kalk.jpgChristiaan, managing sales and marketing of contract research within the Dutch research organisation TNO for more than 20 years, became a project manager and a senior advisor in regulatory affairs, testing strategy, life sciences, and communication. In close cooperation with experts in areas including toxicology, nutrition, pharmacology, analytical chemistry, microbiology and biotechnology, Mr. Kalk serves clients in the international life sciences industry, with an emphasis on new biomasses and bioactive compounds applied in foods and supplements. Successful innovations to which Mr. Kalk contributed include the introduction of plant sterols and stanols into margarine, a new UV-filter in sunscreens, algal oils as sources for essential fatty acids and cleaning technology for membranes used in beer filtration. In 2017, Christiaan founded lsbi | life science-based innovations. Experience, trust, a strong network in both the scientific and the regulatory world, as well as commitment to health and sustainability form the cornerstones of lsbi. Lsbi serves both start-up and established companies, as well as investors.

Kevin Camphuis

kcamphuis.jpgAfter 20 years in strategy and breakthrough innovation management at a global leader in the industry, Kevin co-founded ShakeUpFactory, a unique Foodtech business and innovation accelerator installed in the heart of StationF in Paris. It brings together an international ecosystem of more than 150 startups, retailers, corporations and investors and fosters synergies between them to accelerate the development of future food solutions and champions.

Niccolò Manzoni

Niccolo-Manzoni.pngNiccolò is a co-founder and managing partner of Five Seasons Ventures. He has been investing in Food Tech since 2014, and created and managed a portfolio of 10 high-profile Food Tech companies, including Impossible Foods, Clara Foods, Beyond Meat, JUST, Perfect Day and Clear Labs




Françoise Béchu

BECHU photo.jpgFrançoise is the R&D Leader of 301 Ext., the recent extension of the US venture capital arm of General Mills in Europe. Francoise joined General Mills 20 years ago. She has held various roles in R&D across North America and Europe delivering new products pipeline and growth renovation ideas. She holds a masters degree in food science & technology from Agrocampus Ouest in France.


Thomas van den Boezem

Thomas van den Boezem.jpgThomas van den Boezem (1992) joined EIT Food as Business Creation & Investment Manager. He is responsible for building and managing a portfolio of direct investments and supporting EIT Food startups in raising capital. Prior to joining EIT Food, Thomas worked as Investment Analyst at Innovation Industries, a leading high-tech VC investment firm in Amsterdam. At StartLife, the incubator & technology transfer organization on Wageningen Campus he was responsible for venture building & the investor readiness program. Earlier, Thomas founded a healthy snacking venture and worked at InnoLeaps, an innovation consultancy firm. He holds a master’s degree in Management, Economics and Consumer Studies from Wageningen University, and a bachelor’s in Public Health.

Eric Chappuis

Eric Chappuis.jpgEric Chappuis is a food and nutrition engineer with a dietetics background. He spent 10 years as Director of a consulting department helping food and ingredients companies navigating the complex scientific and regulatory landscape for nutrition and health applications, then joined a start-up in the field of prebiotics to structure and manage the scientific and regulatory strategy to enter the baby food market. Eric is now Corporate regulatory affairs advisor at Lesaffre, a key global player in fermentation, where he coordinates the regulatory activities linked to Food safety, Nutrition and R&D.

Albrecht Wolfmeyer

Albrecht Wolfmeyer.jpgAlbrecht Wolfmeyer heads the ProVeg Incubator. ProVeg Incubator is the world’s leading Incubator of plant-based and cultured food startups. ProVeg Incubator's 40+ alumni startups come from all over the world and have now raised over €18 million and launched more than 40 products. Wolfmeyer has extensive professional experience in international profit and non-profit organizations and is an expert in NPO management, marketing and communications, strategy and project lead. Wolfmeyer was the co-founder and managing director of an online fundraising startup. He studied in Berlin, Toronto, Paris, and Fribourg.

Amir Zaidman

Amir Zaidman.jpgAmir Zaidman has close to 20years of experience in business development and early stage investments. Since 2014 Mr. Zaidman is serving as the vicepresident of business development of "The KitchenHub" -the first FoodTech focused seed investor and technology incubatorin Israel. He provides biz-dev support toportfolio companiesandis also in charge of The Kitchen's deal-sourcing and evaluating new investment opportunities. Amir also takes aleadingrole in promoting a FoodTech community in Israel. He manages the Israel FoodTech InnovationLinkedIn group (with more than 2,200 members), as well as the Israel's FoodTech CommunityMeetUp group.Prior to joining The Kitchen founding team, Mr. Zaidman held several executive businessdevelopment positions in the Innovation and Tech sectors.