Starting a new company is extraordinarily difficult, requiring untold hours of hard work to overcome the myriad of hurdles and pitfalls. Having both built food-tech companies from the ground up, and having transformed our dreams into functional, working businesses, we fully understand the immense challenges new food entrepreneurs face when trying to get things up and running. For 175 businesses across the country, Pilotworks was their headquarters and home – the kitchen and community that enabled them to turn their dreams into real, delicious food for all to enjoy. It is nothing short of devastating for so many incredibly promising, early-stage companies to have the rug pulled out from under them with the recent and sudden bankruptcy of Pilotworks.
We are a small yet intensely passionate community, and when something like the shuttering of Pilotworks happens, it’s incumbent upon each and every one of us in the community to help out in whatever way we can. We all started our companies hoping to change the way people eat, and if we all work together to help these impacted entrepreneurs, we will be many steps closer to that goal.
OurHarvest and PieShell are currently running a crowdfunding campaign on PieShell so the businesses impacted by Pilotworks’ closure can keep themselves afloat while a small group of us work on a plan to get the Pilotworks kitchens reopened as quickly as possible. Please join us in lending a helping hand by contributing what you can to this worthwhile cause – thank you!
About The Authors
Cheryl Clements, Founder + CEO of PieShell
For PieShell founder Cheryl Clements, food is personal. It’s about connection. Growing up, Cheryl spent summers helping her mother run a pie-making business. Aptly named “The Pie Shell,” it was headquartered where all good startups begin: the family’s basement. It was from her Mother that Cheryl learned what it takes to build a successful food operation, but more than that, she learned how communities grow around the food that people share. A few years ago, when Cheryl thought of embarking on her own food venture, she saw a crucial need for a crowdfunding platform that addresses the unique challenges of food and beverage entrepreneurs.
Mike Winik, Cofounder + CEO of OurHarvest
Michael is an avid amateur fisherman and aspiring grill master. From local food trucks to high end restaurants, Michael loves scouring the globe in search of the most interesting and delicious food he can find. As a co-founder of OurHarvest, Michael is passionately determined to bring fresh, high quality food to all Americans, and to work with farms to create long-term sustainable food systems. Prior to co-founding OurHarvest, Michael worked at Evercore Partners for 8 years, where in addition to advising some of the world’s largest companies, he ran the firm’s analyst recruiting and #1-ranked internship program.
Michael is a graduate of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a B.S. in Finance and Management. While at Penn, he also earned a B.A. in Political Science. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of IAHD, a $50M organization that provides social services for the developmentally disabled in the Bronx and Westchester.