The Team

ICA hosts 2020 Pitch Event, celebrating Cohort Six of the ICA Accelerator.

Carley Sheehy, Founder of Global Grub presents at the ICA Pitch Event.

On November 19th ICA hosted its latest Accelerator Pitch Event. The event serves as the culmination ceremony for every cohort of the Accelerator and is an opportunity for Accelerator companies to showcase their businesses in front of the ICA Community.

This was the first time that the signature ICA event was hosted fully online, streamed in real-time on YouTube Live to an audience of investors, strategic advisors, mission-aligned capital providers, and community members. Together, the attendees watched as entrepreneurs from seven ICA companies pitched their companies and received live feedback from our investor panel.

The Pitch Event is an exciting affair that caps off ICA’s 16-week Accelerator program and gives each participant the opportunity to connect with potential investors. The event would not have been possible without the talented staff and crew at Evolve Oakland and Cre8ive Genius, or the support of our generous funders and community partners who to make our work possible.

The entrepreneurs:

The seven entrepreneurs who pitched on November 19th were: Aderaw Yeshiwas of Brundo Ethiopian Spice, Oumar Diouf of The Damel, Monica Martinez of Don Bugito, Carley Sheehy of Global Grub, Nite Yun of Nyum Bai, Claire Schlemme of Renewal Mill, and Jed Riffe and Chef Tina of Smoke Berkeley. Seven small businesses owners pitched live on stage at Evolve Oakland (observing strict social-distancing protocols, of course) with one pitching by pre-recorded video.

You can watch the recording of the pitch event here and download the accompanying pitch deck.

The companies in Cohort Six:

Coaching, connections, and capital in the Accelerator:

Tim Koide, and John Gough, Pitch Event feedback panelists.

No ICA Pitch Event would be complete without a great feedback panel. This time around, John Gough and Tim Koide lent their entrepreneurial expertise and investor insights as feedback panelists. John (ICA’s Chief Investment Officer) and Tim, who is Principal at Kanoa Ventures, provided timely and targeted feedback and suggestions to the entrepreneurs, all designed to help them prepare for future investor presentations.

Before they were able to walk on stage and pitch, the entrepreneurs in Cohort Six, completed 16-weeks of hands-on advising, strategic workshops, and practical learning designed to accelerate their businesses’ growth trajectory. The seven companies in the cohort worked on strengthening their businesses by building growth strategies to scale, developing and perfecting their people strategy, and determining what type of capital is best suited for their next stage of growth.

Monica Martinez, Founder of Don Bugito, on stage at the 2020 Pitch Event.

Finally, the entrepreneurs worked on creating stellar decks and pitches that help to garner the funding needed to make their next leap. ICA partnered with brand studio, Flight Design, to provide hands-on, design support to each entrepreneur, to create their branded pitch slide decks.

At the heart of the Accelerator, are ICA’s experienced pro bono advisors. These talented leaders donate their time and expertise to accelerator companies by providing them with hands-on support and guidance through each cohort. Cohort 6 advisors were Mindy Christensen, Tim Koide, Rob Hurblut, Michael Jones, Martha Belcher, and Martha Hernandez. Additionally, our very own Caron Gugssa-Howard, Strategic Program Manager at ICA, managed the entire cohort, as well as provided advising to two of the companies.

Thank you to all of our amazing Advisors!

More about the ICA Accelerator:

The ICA Accelerator provides coaching, connections, and access to capital to help you scale your business, build a great team, and get ready for investment. Our 16-week business accelerator program gives business owners the knowledge, mentorship, and community you need to build the business you envision.

Since 2016, over 30 companies have participated in the ICA Accelerator. Together they’ve secured $18.7MM in growth capital, created over 500 jobs, and paid millions in local wages.

ICA’s Program team, which leads the ICA Accelerator, is comprised of Chief Program Officer, Dianna Tremblay, Strategic Program Manager, Caron Gugssa-Howard, and Accelerator Manager, Hannah Shr. We are always looking to get to know the next great company; if you are a Bay Area entrepreneur or know some one who could be a fit for the Accelerator, read more about our work and fill out an interest form here.

The ICA Programs team: Dianna Tremblay, Caron Gugssa-Howard, and Hannah Shr.

Meet Cohort Six:

The entrepreneurs of Cohort Six of the ICA Accelerator.

Brundo Ethiopian Spices

Brundo Ethiopian Spices is an Ethiopian spice and product importer, store-front, and e-commerce shop. Brundo was born in 2011, when owner Fetlework Tefferi found it difficult to source the right spices for her restaurant, Cafe Colucci. She decided to take control of her supply chain by opening a small spice production facility in Ethiopia and a store in Oakland. Brundo’s West Oakland branch is run by General Manager Aderaw Yeshiwas.

The Damel

Chef Oumar Diouf created The Damel, to serve Afro-Brazilian Cuisine take-out and delivery in a chef-owned and family-run restaurant. The Damel is the only restaurant serving West African and South American cuisine, in the US. Based in Oakland, in addition to serving delicious food in quick service setting, The Damel offers catering services as well as wholesale to restaurants, cafes and other food outlets. Chef Diouf’s aim is to create an entirely sustainable food service business with affordable products.

Don Bugito

Monica Martinez is the founder and CEO of Don Bugito, the first edible insect food business and farm in the Bay Area. Monica, a native of Mexico City began her food career at La Cocina Food Incubator program in 2010, since then she has been an advocate and educator about the future of food and sustainable agriculture. Don Bugito has been reviewed by the FAO, Nova PBS, PRI’s The World, WSJ and Wired to mention few.

Global Grub

Global Grub is a simpler way to experience global cooking created by Carley Sheehy. Its global cooking kits allow anyone to make delicious global meals at home. Kits include: DIY Mochi, DIY Sushi, DIY Ravioli, and DIY Tamales. Founder Carley is avid home-cook and traveler; she was inspired to start Global Grub to allow anyone to taste the flavors she has on her travels around the world (to 20 countries and counting so far).

Nyum Bai

Nite Yun founded Nyum Bai with one vision: to preserve and share Cambodian culture through food. The idea to start Nyum Bai came to Yun at a small noodle stall in Phnom Penh. Yun realized a need to bring the beauty of Cambodia back with her to the States and represent for a culture that’s been tainted by war and genocide. She recreated her mother’s recipes from scratch, put together a menu, & set out to introduce Cambodian street food classics to the Bay Area.

Renewal Mill

Co-founded by Claire Schlemme and Caroline Cotto, Renewal Mill is a next generation ingredients company that up-cycles food production byproducts into high-quality ingredients. Claire and Caroline share a deep passion for sustainability and are on a mission to fix a broken food system. Renewal Mill is the result of their shared vision of drastically improving the efficiency of today’s food system, ensuring that 100% of the food we produce is put to its best & highest use — feeding people.

Smoke Berkeley

Founded by husband and wife team, Jed Riffe and Tina Ferguson, Smoke Berkeley is a Texas BBQ restaurant and catering company serving fresh made food daily at Smoke Berkeley @ Spats Bar in Downtown Berkeley. Smoke Berkeley caters to individuals, CAL, nonprofits and companies in East Bay and San Francisco. For the last eight years Chef Tina has hired and trained many people coming out of prisons and other institutions – an important part of Smoke Berkeley's mission.

The ICA Marketplace:

Want to shop from the companies in Cohort Six? Find all of the Accelerator companies (and many more) in the ICA Marketplace. The ICA Marketplace features great local product and service providers from our accelerator, investment portfolio, and network. By shopping with us, you’re helping the Bay Area small business ecosystem thrive.

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