CXO Conversation Podcast

Ben Deda

Transforming a Company: From Warehouses to Tech with Food Maven’s CEO Ben Deda

In this episode, host Michael Mitchel welcomes back Ben Deda, CEO of Food Maven, exploring the company’s remarkable journey spanning four years. The episode delves into Food Maven’s evolution since their last interview, highlighting key milestones and shifts in strategy.

Ben reflects on the challenges and transformations encountered by Food Maven, offering insights into their transition from a traditional food distributor to a technology-driven solution provider. The discussion touches upon the intricacies of stakeholder management, communication strategies amidst uncertainty, and the resilience required to navigate significant business transformations while staying true to the company’s mission.

Join us for a candid exploration of leadership lessons, resilience, and adaptability as Ben shares anecdotes from Food Maven’s journey. From strategic pivots to overcoming stakeholder resistance, gain a nuanced understanding of the complexities inherent in driving meaningful change within the food industry.

Throughout the conversation, Ben emphasizes the importance of building optionality in business and maintaining a clear narrative amidst challenges. The episode concludes with reflections on the future of Denver Startup Week and the broader startup ecosystem, showcasing optimism for growth and community impact in the post-pandemic landscape.

If you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, or simply passionate about the future of foodservice, this episode is for you. Tune in to gain insights into the power of procurement AI, the importance of building optionality in business, and the resilience required to navigate uncertain times.


  • 00:00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:01:41 – Challenges Faced During the Pandemic
  • 00:02:11 – Growth Strategies and Acquisitions
  • 00:03:14 – Impact of COVID-19 on Fundraising Efforts
  • 00:04:07 – Transitioning to a Tech-Centric Business Model
  • 00:05:16 – Introduction of Food Maven’s Procurement API
  • 00:06:27 – Challenges and Opportunities in Food Procurement
  • 00:07:32 – Transformation from Tech-Enabled to a Tech Company
  • 00:09:15 – Managing Stakeholders and Communication Strategies
  • 00:14:48 – Strategy evolution and go-to-market approaches
  • 00:16:24 – Overcoming challenges in stakeholder engagement
  • 00:17:39 – Industry resistance to change and finding the right market fit
  • 00:18:43 – Dealing with investor expectations and buy-in
  • 00:19:31 – Lessons learned and the importance of creating optionality
  • 00:20:27 – Gaining wisdom and skills through experience
  • 00:21:04 – Leadership traits and decision-making in uncertain environments
  • 00:22:22 – Reflections on Denver Startup Week and adapting to changing community dynamics
  • 00:25:15 – Goals and considerations for the future of Denver Startup Week
  • 00:27:00 – Building optionality and maintaining a clear narrative in business


Thank you to ACG Denver for being a sponsor of CXO Conversations Podcast. Association for Corporate Growth in its role as the hub of the middle market business community for quality networking, education and events. Connections are made, deals are formed and thought leadership is exchanged.  
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Join host Michael Mitchel as he welcomes back Ben Deda, CEO of Food Maven, for a revealing look at the company's four-year journey. Explore key milestones, strategic shifts, and insights into navigating challenges in the food industry. Gain valuable lessons in leadership, resilience, and adaptability while gaining optimism for the future of Denver's startup ecosystem.