St. Louis startup FoodEssentials has announced they are promoting Ronak Sheth to Chief Product Officer. Techli first introduced you to Ronak Sheth back in 2012- “Ronak Sheth: How A Chance Encounter Turned Into…”
Since that time, FoodEssentials has been on something of a tear. The company received an Arch Grant that brought it to St. Louis and then was one of two companies that won an additional $100,000 in a follow on grant and have raised a little over $600K in funding to date.
“We had just arrived in Saint Louis and really needed our first major hire to be someone that complimented the founding team. It was a very important hire for us,” said Anton Xavier, CEO of FoodEssentials, in reference to their early expansion challenges. Sheth fit the bill having completed his BS in Industrial Engineering & Management Sciences at Northwestern University, and an MBA at Washington University. In addition, Sheth had several years startup experience in Chicago with Informance (acquired by Epicor) where he picked up his product, software, and technology skills. For the last few years, Ronak has been a consultant in the retailer and food manufacturing industry. “Ronak was the perfect candidate for our team, and most importantly he has proven to fit our specific culture,” Xavier said.
Last year at SXSW, FoodEssentials was the hottest company located in the convention center at The Mashery’s Circus Mashimus tent, and they are going to be in it again in 2014. The line of people waiting to meet the company was the longest in the tent by far, and executives from some very well known mega companies were seen talking to the team and casually throwing around phrases like, “Do you want to be acquired? We [big famous company] would acquire you” (I’m paraphrasing, Internet, but its a true story)
In his new role as CPO, Sheth will continue to lead product development but will take on a more senior role in business development, strategy, and sales. The focus for FoodEssentials in 2014 is to continue their trajectory towards becoming the industry standard for food product data solutions. They presently deliver their solutions to the FDA, retailers, and food manufacturers, which Sheth will continue to lead throughout 2014. “We’re going to have a lot of very exciting partnership announcements to make this year, and one of my core roles will be to shepherd those through,” Ronak states in reference to the continued momentum of FoodEssentials. “It’s going to be another very busy year, but the intensity and success is why I wanted to be involved in this startup,” he concludes.
FoodEssentials has grown fast and has shown no signs of slowing down and is regularly cited as one of St. Louis’ top startups.