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Networking@Rev Highlights Women in Entrepreneurship

panelists at networking@rev on june 15

Networking@Rev Highlights Women in Entrepreneurship

Over 120 members of the local community came to Rev: Ithaca Startup Works on June 15 for Networking@Rev: Women in Entrepreneurship, an event celebrating female founders. 

Attendees enjoyed snacks and beverages from Rev member company South Hill Cider before turning their attention to a panel featuring local female entrepreneurs Heather Sandford, Leslie Woodward, and Linda Alvarez. Entrepreneur in Residence Illa Burbank moderated the panel. 

Sandford co-founded The Piggery, a farm-to-table butchery that produced sustainable pork products. She is now a food consultant and a mentor for the Grow-NY food and agriculture business competition. Sandford also works with Rosie — an online grocery shopping platform that has earned Rev Alumni Stardom status and was recently acquired by Instacart

During the panel, Sandford spoke about a key change she noticed after shifting from entrepreneurship to consulting: “I feel like I have more clarity. When you’re a small business owner, you have an inherent bias because if you’re going to put your love, sweat, and tears into a project, it’s because you believe in it, right? It’s been really helpful to work from a step away.” 

Leslie Woodward is the founder of Edenesque, an artisanal food company that specializes in plant-based milks offered in a wide range of flavors. The startup was a finalist in the 2022 Grow-NY competition. Edenesque got its start at farmers markets where Woodward noticed a demand for the nut milks she sold.  

“Once I got out there into the marketplace, I started to understand that there was a need for my product,” she said. “Everyone was saying, ‘It tastes so different and feels so good!’ I started to craft more flavors, and it really evolved from there.” 

Linda Alvarez co-founded Levelle, a sports nutrition company that tailors its products to female endurance athletes.  

When asked what her greatest obstacle was, Alvarez said, “We knew how to make a delicious product. The challenge was bridging the gap between making it in a kitchen to creating an actual commercial product. We worked with advisors from Rev…We got a lot of advice. We were able to identify what machines we needed.” 

After the panel, Ilayda Samilgil stepped up to pitch her startup, Llume. The company makes fiber optic sensors that measure chest expansion and respiration during physical activity. Using that information, it then provides insights about fatigue, recovery, and performance.  

The presentation portion of the evening concluded with a pitch from Greeshma Gadikota, an assistant professor and Croll Sesquicentennial Fellow in Cornell’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Her startup, Carbon to Stone, aims to capture atmospheric carbon and store it in stone.  

“We came up with a technology that harnesses the way nature deals with CO2,” she said. “Nature has its own carbon cycle: it takes CO2 and traps it into a carbonate form. We were inspired by that.” 

The night ended with more networking, and guests had the chance to connect with other members of the local entrepreneurship and innovation community. 

Join us on August 3 for Networking@Rev: Hardware Demo Day to witness pitches and product demonstrations from the teams in the 2023 Prototyping Hardware Accelerator! Space is limited — RSVP today