Event Details

Calling all Conscious Consumer Goods investors and startups in food and beverage! Join us on Tuesday, September 28th, from 530-7pm on Zoom for our first ever themed Naturally Austin Pitch Night, where Naturally Austin founders and funders connect, tell their stories, and food and beverage startups pitch for a chance for a second meeting with our guest investors. Pitching Founders and guest investor info coming soon!

What Is Fundraising Founders?

The Naturally Austin Fundraising Founders Forum is designed to connect impact-driven, conscious consumer product founders and funders via events and, in time, a digital ecosystem for all parties involved in fundraising to connect to the most relevant folks for their business interests.

What Is the Pitch Night Series?

The NAFF Pitch Series, or "Conscious Consumer Pitch Night" is a monthly, casual happy hour style themed pitch series where founders pitch to angel investors and funds to receive feedback, build relationships, have candid conversations about fundraising, and move the needle forward in early stage funding in Central Texas. Startups pitch their businesses for a chance at a second meeting with our guest judges.

What Are the Details of the September Pitch?

The August pitch will be for Food and Beverage startups based in Central Texas (Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, etc.).

  • Who: Conscious consumer investors and startups, Food and Beverage
  • What: Fundraising Founders Pitch Night
  • Where: virtually via zoom
  • When: Tuesday, September 28th, 5:00pm-6:30pm.
  • Why: for a shot at winning a second meeting with our guest investors.

How Do the Pitch Events Work?

Each pitch night is themed according to an everchanging carousel of indices, ie: "alcohol brands", "over-100k-in-revenue", "Latinx founders", "direct to consumer", etc. Four startups will give an intro and a 5 minute pitch with up to 5 minutes for Q&A from investors judges and the audience. The judges will score the pitches and choose whether they will Pass or Proceed with a second meeting, why or why not. The pitch with the highest collective score receives a small prize courtesy our sponsors.

I'm a Startup or Investor, How Do I Apply to Pitch / Judge?

For startups, fill out this pitch submission form. We will let you know if you've been accepted by the week of September 8th. For investor judges, email katrina@naturallyaustin.org to get connected to the Fundraising Founders team.


Pitch Night Event Ticket
Member Price Complimentary
Non-Member Ticket
Standard Price $20


  • Marissa Epstein (General Partner at Springdale Ventures)

    Marissa Epstein

    General Partner at Springdale Ventures


    Marissa is a General Partner at Springdale Ventures in Austin, Texas, the state’s most active consumer-focused venture capital firm. Springdale is women-led and 70% women-owned, and the majority of its portfolio companies are led by under-represented minority founders.

    Marissa has been working with emerging brands to build innovative products, technology, and services for over ten years since she led nutrition initiatives at The White House, where she worked directly with Michelle Obama to drive her Let’s Move! campaign to inspire healthier living.

    Since then, Marissa created and launched an innovation curriculum at Stanford University that teaches business leaders the consumer, scientific, and regulatory criteria necessary to evaluate investment worthiness of early-stage health and nutrition brands. She also built first-of-its-kind, consumer-facing health technology at Stanford Health Care, home to one of the nation’s top 10 hospitals, that brought digital engagement products to the health system’s patient population.

    Most recently, Marissa was the Director of The University of Texas Nutrition Institute, whose mission is to connect nutrition science to food and health. She worked with scientists and entrepreneurs to commercialize and grow early-stage concepts in food & beverage, restaurant, and CPG. She led the development of nutrition education experiences to empower hundreds of consumers, healthcare professionals, and entrepreneurs with scientific guidance for a better life. She currently teaches courses on nutrition innovation, food and beverage, and CPG entrepreneurship at McCombs Business School.

    A registered dietitian nutritionist, Marissa graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UT with degrees in Nutrition and Plan II Honors. She is a Truman Scholar and received her MBA from Stanford University.

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  • Manish Patel (Co-Founder and former Chief Executive Officer of FitJoy)

    Manish Patel

    Co-Founder and former Chief Executive Officer of FitJoy


    Manish is Co-Founder and former Chief Executive Officer at Fitjoy. FitJoy develops innovative health food snacks that are distributed to over 10,000 retailers in the US and Canada. The company is heavily focused on alternative healthy snacking options in the food space.

    Manish Patel is Co-Owner and former President of Nutrabolt Life Sciences. Nutrabolt is a leading nutritional life sciences company focused on sports nutrition and lifestyle wellness products. Nutrabolt is comprised of both the Cellucor and Extend brands, both leading players in their respective categories within the sports nutrition market.

    Nutrabolt's products are sold in more than 40,000 retail locations domestically and more than 100 countries around the world including GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Vitamin World, 24 Hour Fitness, and Costco, Walmart, and Amazon. Nutrabolt has been a proud member of the Inc. 1000 | 5000 since 2011.

    Previously, Manish co-founded SeedSumo, a mentor-driven seed fund accelerator that helps startup companies achieve Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and raise follow-on financing. Seed Sumo is focused on mobile first technologies and niche based consumer product companies.

    Manish has served as a consultant, educator, and investor within the residential and commercial sectors of the real estate industry. He has significant financial modeling and due diligence experience, with over $5 billion in real estate acquisition, development, and portfolio assignments completed since 2005.

    Manish has conducted advanced level real estate feasibility training workshops at top business schools around the country. He has also advised and trained analyst teams at private equity firms, development groups, and fortune 50 banks.

    Manish holds a Bachelors degree in Finance from The University of Texas at Austin and resides with his wife and son in The Woodlands, TX. He is actively seeking to invest in new or existing high growth businesses and is industry agnostic.

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  • Albert Swantner (VP of Engineering at Clerk)

    Albert Swantner

    VP of Engineering at Clerk

    Albert Swantner is the VP of Engineering at Clerk, a venture backed retail tech company solving core challenges in the grocery industry like out-of-stock tracking, planogram management, and in-store marketing. Clerk gives brands and retailers a way to connect with and better address the needs of their customers. Albert is also a Partner at The Fund Austin investing in early stage startups and a Co-Founder of KA Foods, the parent company of Slow Ride Coffee.

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