Tote Taxi and Five North Chocolate Win $25K in i-hamptons Riptide Grants

Riptide 2017 Audience Award Winner Ben Conard, Founder Five North Chocolate, and family: Mike Smit, Kate Conard, Chris Conard, Ben Conard, Susan Conard
Riptide 2017 Audience Award Winner Ben Conard, Founder Five North Chocolate, and family: Mike Smit, Kate Conard, Chris Conard, Ben Conard, Susan Conard

Last Saturday, November 25, i-hamptons hosted its last event of the year, a Shark Tank-inspired start-up pitch competition. The event drew a standing-room-only crowd at the Southampton Arts Center.

Southampton Mayor Michael Irving was the guest of honor and helped light up the event before heading to light the Southampton Village Christmas tree. Local celebrity entrepreneur Kathleen King, founder of nationally known Tate’s Bake Shop, was one of four panelists who selected TOTE TAXI as the first prize winner, and it was an enthusiastic participating audience who voted for the second award winner— FIVE NORTH CHOCOLATE. The other Riptide panelists, entrepreneurs Bion Bartning, founder of EOS Products, David Bohnett, founder of Geocities and Jeff Brodish, partner at Centripetal Capital—are all investors in early stage start-ups.

i-hamptons Riptide judges say, "Swim!"
i-hamptons Riptide judges say, “Swim!”

Congratulations to winners Daniella Candela, founder of Tote Taxi (an app powering a hassle-free delivery service bringing bags to and from the Hamptons), and Ben Conard, founder of Five North Chocolate (healthy, fair trade dark chocolate snacks), who won $15,000 and $10,000 start-up funding respectively. In addition, they will receive annual membership at Southampton’s first co-working space—The Spur—and also WorkHouse in NYC. Finally, all finalists will receive valuable support and mentoring from the experienced panel of judges.

“The Riptide event proved to be successful, inspiring, encouraging and fun!” said Kathleen King. “I’m so grateful to have i-hamptons in our community, contributing to help others achieve their dreams. There’s an underbelly of amazing people making things happen and supporting each other.”

Twenty local entrepreneurs submitted new business ideas that were presented in videos on the i-hamptons website. These generated more than 3,000 online votes in the two-week period leading up the finale event. The three other local finalist start-ups were Premex (digital media focused on luxury advertising), Doc Power (green energy generator) and Sweet Vineyards (wine-infused biscotti).

Danielle Candela won $15K for Tote Taxi
Danielle Candela won $15K for Tote Taxi

Before the event, a lively crowd exchanged ideas around tables filled with hors d’oeuvres and fall drinks donated by The Southampton Social Club, one of i-hamptons’s sponsors. Presenters gathered and exhibited their products in the Innovators’ Lounge. Alongside local patrons, other sponsors whose generosity enabled the $25,000 grant, included Montauk Brewing Coming, 91 East, Workhouse, Shepherd Consulting Group, Cove Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, Palmer Vineyards, Dan’s Hamptons Media, WELJ 1047, Hamptons Luxury Liner, Farrell Fritz Attorneys, The Jeremy Ryan Team at Corcoran, Omnigon and The Spur.

Wrapping up, Ashley John Heather, Riptide MC and founder of i-hamptons, talked about what’s next. “i-hamptons is just getting started on its mission to connect all the local innovators and start-ups, providing a platform of services to help accelerate their growth. Saturday’s Riptide event demonstrated that the East End is alive with entrepreneurial spirit and we look forward to seeing the community grow in the coming few years!” He also invited people to check out i-hamptons’ new co-working space and innovation lab—The Spur—when it opens in January at the Southampton Social Club.

Want to submit a start-up company for the 2018 Riptide: $ink or $wim event? Go to For more photos of Saturday’s Riptide 2017 check out

More from Our Sister Sites