top of page

In this competition, budding alternative proteins entrepreneurs will pitch new business ideas to a panel of venture capitalist judges from Sustainable Food Ventures and Duke Capital Partners. The best pitch will win a cash prize!



Phill joined Duke Capital Partners in 2016 and helps lead the team’s deal sourcing, screening, and diligence efforts.  Prior to Duke Capital Partners, he worked as a strategy consultant for Promontory Financial Group, focused on implementation of board governance, operations, and risk management best practices for institutional financial services firms. He began his career as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, where he developed requirements and test cases for the software team running the Department of Agriculture’s e-procurement system. Phill has a B.S. in Business Administration and a B.A. in Music from Washington and Lee University, and he received his MBA from The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Ryan is a Managing Partner at Sustainable Food Ventures and the CEO of Wild Earth, the leading D2C healthy plant-based pet food company in the US. He co-founded Wild Earth in 2017 and raised $20M from Felicis Ventures, Peter Thiel, Founders Fund, At One Ventures, VegInvest, Mars Petcare and closed Mark Cuban on ABC’s Shark Tank. Ryan also co-founded and was the Program Director & Venture Partner at IndieBio where the companies he funded and supported helped to grow the portfolio’s market cap to $3.2B. In the last six years Ryan has invested in over 120 early stage food and biotech startups, while being the first investor in Memphis Meats, Geltor, The Not Company and Shiok Meats.

Mariliis is a Managing Partner at Sustainable Food Ventures and the former Head of Food Science of Finless Foods, a pioneering cell-based seafood startup. She is also the co-founder of Nonfood (FOOD-X 2017 alumni). Working previously in R&D at Mondelez International (France) and at IFF (Netherlands), Mariliis has experience from the top global food and flavor corporations. Additionally, Mariliis worked as a food and sensory scientist in two of Europe’s leading research institutes: the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE) and the Center of Food and Fermentation Technologies (CFFT) in Estonia.

bottom of page