iLevel Brands Accelerator Pitch Slam – The winning brands poised for accelerated growth

Craft your perfect pitch and present to our panel of expert judges from brands, brokers, distributors, consultants and design gurus.

If you are a natural products brand who is well beyond proof of concept with an annualized run rate of $1 million you are eligible to apply for the iLevel Brands broker pitch slam. You will have a chance to win a grand prize package worth in excess of $75,000 in critical services and consulting

Selection committee members will review applications starting January 13th online and iLevel Brands executives will be at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco to answer any questions in person. The finalists will be announced two weeks prior to Expo West. Four finalists will be selected to pitch at Expo West.

The winner will walk away with free national broker representation (a 6 month term) from iLevel Brands. Free set up at Threshold Enterprises, a free booth at one of their trade shows and a preferred brand marketing package. A copy of the Natural Products Field Manual and free consulting agreement from Bob Burke.All told this prize is in excess of $75,000.

Necessary evils or not?

Some might say that brokers are necessary evils in the current natural products industry. At iLevel Brands we are trying to prove them wrong. Its the broker business model that is broken and we think we believe we have fixed it.

Do these things really matter?

  • Feet on the street
  • Number of times that a store is visited per month
  • How many bodies in the broker’s total sales force

Of course not! If your brand is not being presented regularly.

You want proof of sales calls happening everyday which should translate into placement and revenue if you are working with great sales partners

We wanted our business to provide the services that manufacturers always wanted but weren’t getting. So we asked many of them for a list and this is what we got.

  • A partner functioning as a true extension of my sales team with a core competency of growing profitable sales

  • Input on sales, promotion and marketing strategies

  • Limited communication points with the horsepower to get things done
  • A customized, focused sales plan to seek out new points of distribution every day
  • A high caliber, well connected, knowledgeable, driven sales team representing my brand on every sales call
  • Day to day maintenance and management of my business including promos and category review schedules

And four years later we’re still focused on remaining true to our strategy. We’ve chosen to keep both our line list and team smaller than the industry norm. This model is now proven and is not just surviving but is thriving. Let us show you how we can out perform the standard “big broker” model 9 times out of 10.

We sell ourselves well but our clients do a much better job of it!

Sarena Hines
Safe Catch

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Roy McDonald
Source Naturals

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Jax Schneider

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iLevel Brands = Experienced Professional Team + Open Honest Communication +
Advanced Reporting Systems + Limited Brands + Proven Results

Strategically placed across the country

On the road visiting independent stores

Cover NCG & INFRA stores

Focused on head quarter calls

Manages category reviews and promotions

Educated on your brand and can sell it

Support for your go to market strategy

Monthly business calls

Partnership and support 24/7 (well 12/7)

Typically companies beyond proof of concept with revenues of $1-5 million and raising outside or professional capital for the first time. Investments of $2-5 million usually sought.

Companies engaged in proof-of-concept or “pre-revenue”, typically bootstrapped or funded by family and friends and now ready for angel or early-stage venture financing. Revenues typically less than $1 million and seeking investment of $500,000 to $2 million.

The Natural Products Expo West Pitch Slam Competition is designed to provide brand exposure, in addition to getting you & your team the feedback you need to take your company to the next level.
What’s in it for me?
  • Feedback Just by applying, we’ll send individualized feedback from our mentor / selection team.
  • Sampling Get your product in front of our New Hope Network editorial team through our Pitch Slam Sampling Program.
  • Exposure If you are selected to pitch, the audience ranges from 400-600 attendees at Expo West 2020 including retailers, investors and beyond.
  • Bragging Rights If you win the grand prize, we’ll provide over $40,000 in value of New Hope Network Services including a FREE booth at Expo West 2021.
What should I expect?

In this application, you will be asked to share your story with us. Here are a few examples of the kinds of questions we’ll ask:
  • Founding date
  • Product description
  • Ingredient profile
  • Management description
  • Sales history & projections
  • Mission / “why” behind your product / company
How can I stand out?

Our Pitch Slam celebrates companies who are embracing innovation for good, so we’ll ask you to share with us how your company celebrates innovation as a core value.

Please plan for enough time to create a short :60 second video telling us a little bit about who you are! Our industry is rooted in the people behind the products and we want to see you shine!

Eligibility: The Natural Products Expo West 2020 (“Event”) Pitch Slam (“Contest”) is only open to legal residents of the fifty United States (except Arizona), the District of Columbia and Canada (except Quebec) who are 18 or older as of March 3, 2020 (“Entrant”). Employees of Informa Business Media In d/b/a New Hope Network (“Informa”), their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies and their family members (defined as parents, spouse, children, siblings, grandparents) and/or those living in the same household are not eligible to enter. Void in Arizona, Quebec, outside the fifty United States, the District of Columbia and Canada, and where prohibited, taxed, or restricted by law. All federal, state, provincial and/or local rules and regulations apply.

Natural Products Expo East 2019 is on the horizon, and we’re gearing up for one of the most highly anticipated events: Pitch Slam.

This special competition is held every year at Expo East and Expo West and provides the opportunity to elevate mission-driven and innovative brands. It also connects them with the exposure and resources needed to take brands to the next level. Plus, the winner walks away with over $40,000 worth of New Hope Network services, including a free booth at Expo East 2020!

Maybe you’re familiar with past Pitch Slam winners like Hakuna Banana or Something Better Foods. But ever wonder how these brands snagged the winning spots?

Pitch Slam is a very intentional process, and it starts months before we gather in Baltimore. Here, we break down the entire Pitch Slam system, all the way from applying to winning the grand prize. Plus, we’re revealing an exciting new program in the product scoring process!

1. Apply

Pitch Slam shines a light on some of the best and brightest emerging entrepreneurs in the natural products; it is attended by hundreds of industry peers, esteemed experts, investors, retailers and more. Don’t worry–while this might sound intimidating, we make the application process as easy as possible, and are here to guide you the entire way.

The application consists of three parts: digital application, video submission and product sample.

In the digital application, you’re asked to highlight the founding date, product description, management description, sales history and projections, as well as explain how your company integrates a focus on inspiration, integrity and innovation into its core values. Each brand is also encouraged to submit a short video (60 seconds max) to showcase the personality of the founders and product. The last part of the application is sending New Hope Network a sample of your product, which we will explain further below.

Ready to highlight your awesome CPG brand? Apply here! Note: we must receive your application by Friday August 2nd, 2019 at 5 p.m. MDT.

2. Review

From August 7-14, 10 Selection Committee Mentors will review every application based on innovation, uniqueness, value proposition of product, product branding, packaging, presentation and market viability. The New Hope Network content team also reviews applications in the same manner and–new this year–samples your product!

We’re excited to introduce this part of the program, as sampling allows for a more holistic judging process. Your one sample is due to New Hope Network by August 8th, 2019.

EE19_PitchSlamSamplingProgram_Social_LinkedIn_SharedImage_1104x736 (2).jpg

Together, the Selection Committee and New Hope Network content team deliberate and select the 10 standout brands from a large applicant pool.

3. Semi-finalists revealed and preparation

From August 15-19, New Hope Network notifies brands whether or not they’ve been selected as a Pitch Slam Semi-Finalist.

In addition to pitching on the big stage in Baltimore, the 10 top brands also have access to:

  • An hour-long webinar with Dr. Andi O’Conor, a professional public speaking coach, TED coach, pitch coach, lecturer and trainer who has been teaching communication skills for over 25 years.
  • 1:1 coaching with an assigned Pitch Slam Selection Committee Mentor. This industry expert helps you fine tune your presentation content and storytelling on stage.

4. Pitch Slam Semi-Finals: September 11, 2019

After nearly a month of dedicated preparation, semi-finalists step on the Expo East stage in Baltimore and present their pitches to a panel of five industry leaders who represent a wide breadth of experience and expertise in the natural products industry, in addition to hundreds of audience members that include industry peers, esteemed experts, investors, retailers and more.

Brands have three minutes to nail their pitch, followed by a three-minute-long Q&A led by the judges. Following all pitches, the judges select four finalists to compete the following day for the grand prize while the audience in Baltimore selects the Audience Choice finalist, totaling five brands to compete the following day.

5. Pitch Slam Finals: September 12, 2019

The big day has arrived! The Pitch Slam Finals features the superstar brands who again will pitch in front of industry judges and hundreds of peers. The final deliberations are particularly tricky given the caliber of brands, but only one company is crowned the Expo East 2019 Pitch Slam winner of over $40,000 in New Hope Network services!

Need a cheat sheet? Here are the important dates to remember:

6/3-8/2: Application window
8/8: Samples due to New Hope Network
8/7-8/14: Application review
8/15-8/19: Notifying applicants
9/11: Pitch Slam Semi-Finals
9/12: Pitch Slam Finals

Natural Products Expo East Logo​​​​​Want to apply to pitch at Expo East 2019 for your chance to win a FREE booth at Expo East 2020, along with over $40,000 in services from New Hope Network? Click here! The application closes Friday August 2, 2019 at 5 p.m. MDT.


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