We Swiped Right On These Mentors… Now You Can Get to Know Them Too

Talented collaborators accelerate the launch of companies.

MARS Seeds of Change
May 21 · 7 min read

The SEEDS of CHANGE™ Accelerator team feels incredibly lucky to have found some fantastic partners who share the mission of creating better food today for a better world tomorrow. If you are accepted into the accelerator, these teams will be spending hands on time with you, helping you work through challenges, plan for the future, and forge ahead.

Without further ado, here they are:

Jones Knowles Ritchie is design-led creative company building truly distinctive brands for scale, disruption and good. They work with some of the world’s biggest CPG brands while channeling their knowledge to develop the brands of tomorrow, such as Hippeas, Bevel and Ugly Water.

James Nixon, Managing Director

James Nixon has over 20 years of experience working with brands and is currently a Managing Director at JKR.

Here are some highlights of our recent conversation with him:

What excites you most in the food/tech startup space?

JN — The Gut Health space is growing fast, really interesting and transformational to peoples lives, getting more exciting in terms of education and forcing the narrative around wider wellbeing.

As the category develops we are starting to see a junction between functional messaging versus emotional brands. Driving distinctive and emotional branding is clearly the way to go, it allows direct engagement with the audience and unlocks the barriers to entry in space driven by facts and science.

What differentiates JKR as a firm?

JN — We are a design-led creative company. We focus on supporting our large strategic relationships and our entrepreneurial and agile partnerships. We have nothing that sits in the middle. This allows us to build new models (JKR Ventures) to support the entrepreneurs and execute in partnership with them over a 3–4 year period. Brands like Hippeas have been a good example of this.

Why are you excited about your partnership with the SEEDS of CHANGE™ Accelerator?

JN — Simply because I believe in the harmony and power of Big and Small. Times are changing, despite the barriers to entry in starting a business are small, the reality is the world doesn’t need another food start up. That said,

the power and capability of SEEDS of CHANGE™ combined with the agility and purpose of the start up world can become a unique partnership to really change behaviour and do good.

Want to hear more from James? Check out part of our conversation with him here:


MISTA is focused on optimizing ideas, products and investments with a dedicated, state-of-the-art New Product Development facility located in the heart of San Francisco.

Scott May, Head of MISTA

Scott May has taken his duties as head of innovation at Givaudan to the next level, now as the Head of MISTA.

Here are some highlights of our recent conversation with him:

What excites you most in the food/tech startup space?

SM — I am most excited that we are at the beginning of a food revolution where consumers are more aware of the impact that food has on the health and wellness of individuals as well as the health and wellness of the planet. This presents new challenges and opportunities for the hyper and interdependent food system we represent.

Creating the future of food is challenging and no one company can solve this on its own… only by working together in an ecosystem where all aspects of the food system come together will we be successful.

What differentiates MISTA as a firm?

SM — MISTA is a unique Food Innovation Platform where we leverage our ecosystem of Partners and Members to help explore, define and create the future of food with both the largest food companies in the world alongside early stage companies.

Why are you excited about your partnership with the SEEDS of CHANGE™ Accelerator?

SM — We are excited about the partnership with the SEEDS of CHANGE™ Accelerator as we embrace the hyper and interdependent food system that we operate. Mars is a Founding Member of MISTA and as such, we are going to be working closely with Mars to optimize the ideas, products, people and investments for the startups in the the SEEDS of CHANGE™ Accelerator.


Rocana Venture Partners is a venture capital fund on a mission to support better living and is focused on the better-for-you food and beverages space. It works with entrepreneurs at an early stage to bring to life concepts that will enhance people’s overall well-being, and promote a sustainable future.

Gurdeep Prewal, Co-Founder & Managing Partner

Gurdeep Prewal combines skills developed in investment banking and M&A with a passion for bringing positive change to the world by identifying early stage F&B startups. Here are some highlights of our recent conversation with him:

What excites you most in the food/tech startup space?

GP —

We are in the midst of long-term disruption in the food industry with constant discovery of new superfoods, similar to the level of disruption we saw in technology over the past two decades.

It’s exciting to see how we are tapping into unused sources of the plant kingdom to restore diversity in our food again.

What differentiates Rocana as a firm?

Our biggest differentiator is our global approach to the food industry. Around 85% of our investor base is outside the US and many of them are strategic (corporates, executives, entrepreneurs, functional experts). We intend to leverage their strengths to connect dots all over the world and make as wide of an impact as possible.


Better Food Ventures invests in companies that are strengthening the food and agriculture industries through the application of information and communications technology.

Brita Rosenheim, Partner

Brita Rosenheim is an expert and frequent speaker on the food tech ecosystem. She advises numerous startups and institutions, authors The Food Tech & Media Landscape, and runs the impeccably named @baconista handle on Twitter.

Here are some highlights from our conversation with her:

What excites you most in the food/tech startup space?

BR — While the VC-funded “convenience economy” has given rise to a number of challenged business models and untimely deaths in startup land, the resulting disintermediation of the traditional food supply chain has also expedited an increase in digitization across the entire food system.

We are excited by this unique inflection point, where technology is allowing both startups and incumbents to run more nimble operations, better understand and engage with customers, and gain efficiencies across the business.

What differentiates Better Food Ventures as a firm?

BR — Better Food Ventures is a dedicated early stage food tech and agtech fund. With our exclusive focus, we have an appreciation of the realities, complexity and breadth of the ecosystem, and as such are recognized as thought leaders in the space.

Fundamentally, we believe the digitization of the food and ag sectors has the ability to strengthen economic, nutritional, and environmental outcomes across the world.


Ingredion is a leading global ingredients solutions company. They make starches, nutrition ingredients and biomaterials that are used by customers in everyday products from F&B to paper and pharmaceuticals.

Evan Hyman, Director Emerging Business

Evan Hyman brings over 20 years experience in food, beverage, and consumer goods and nothing excites him more than the trajectory of the space over the last 5 years.

Here are some highlights of our recent conversation with him:

What excites you most in the food/tech startup space?

EH — Personally, what is most exciting for me is seeing traditional categories get completely disrupted, either by very strong marketing, better products or new technologies. Who would have thought that we would be talking about products like jerky and popcorn in the past few years, categories that have been completely disrupted by companies like Epic and Skinny pop, as examples.

What differentiates Ingredion as a firm?

We launched our Ingredion for Emerging Business platform two years ago with a specific focus on servicing entrepreneurs. I have a team that is ready to assist start-ups and smaller size companies with ingredient recommendations and technical assistance to help them accelerate their product development cycle.

We launched a specific website focused on entrepreneurs, which can be accessed at emergefaster.com. One of the key components is the ability for start-ups to order ingredients online with a credit card. We are very proud of our ability to be a large company that is nimble enough to work with many start-ups in the marketplace.


Are we lucky or what? These are just a few of the great people involved with mentoring the companies that come through the SEEDS of CHANGE™ Accelerator.

Have a food/tech company and want a shot at 1-on-1 mentorship with these incredible partners? Then apply by May 31!

MARS Seeds of Change

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Fast-tracking growth for early stage food businesses that are building a healthier and more sustainable future by shaping the meals of tomorrow. More soon…

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