Bevi Brings on Tech Talent as Company Scales
When Bevi co-founder and CEO Sean Grundy was looking to build his company’s leadership team, he said he wanted engineers who had “done the impossible” and operations leaders who had already turned $10 million companies into $100 million companies — distinctions that offer a glimpse at where the smart water dispenser maker’s ambitions lie. As a company merging the tech sector with the beverage industry, Grundy saw opportunity to find that talent from equally innovative backgrounds.
Earlier this month, Bevi hired former Amazon Robotics global operations VP Bob Doucette as COO and former Boston Dynamics engineering leader Thomas Allen as VP of hardware engineering. The company also brought in former LogMeIn director of sales Todd Johnston as VP of sales, and former head of finance at real estate tech company Placester Chad Kelly as VP of finance.
“From the start we’ve really tried to take a different approach to thinking about how beverages get made, how beverages get transported,” Grundy told BevNET in a phone call this week. “So in a way it makes sense that we’ve intentionally selected executives who didn’t come from the industry.”
Founded in 2013, Boston-based Bevi develops and markets a line of touchscreen-controlled “smart” water dispensers that allow users to create a variety of still and sparkling options on demand. In July 2017, the company closed a $16.5 million Series B round to fund expansion and according to Grundy the company now has more than 1,000 accounts in 30 states and Canada. Largely focused on office accounts — including customers such as Netflix, Apple, and GE — Grundy said Bevi will next look to enter the on-premise restaurant channel. Although the company remains entrenched in the food and beverage space, Grundy said he views Bevi as a tech company tackling the issue of plastic bottle waste and pollution.
For the COO position, Grundy said, the goal was to find a candidate with a strong manufacturing and logistics background. As an executive at Amazon Robotics, Doucette had brings experience in warehousing, supply chain, and machinery.
For engineering expertise, Bevi turned to Allen from Boston Dynamics, a robotics company famous for designing autonomous robot dogs. Grundy said Allen displayed a deep desire to understand the basic science of product development and his work at Boston Dynamics showed an ability to make technological breakthroughs. The company plans to unveil new innovations, including increased user customization, within the next two years.
“We really wanted someone who wasn’t limited by any industry status quo and wasn’t limited by concepts of what’s possible and what’s not possible,” Grundy said. “What’s coming in the next few years for us, we hope, is being able to create a much wider variety of beverages than people previously thought possible at the point of use and being able to deliver those in a very consistent and high quality way.”
Johnston joins the company from join.me, a subsidiary of cloud software provider LogMeIn. According to Grundy, Johnston grew join.me to more than $40 million in revenue as its director of sales and has experience steering rapid growth.
Meanwhile, Kelly is a career finance executive who has worked with a number of hardware and software startups, including Verivo, Virtify, Gomez, and Pegasystems.
“At our core we’re really a tech company,” Grundy said. “Over the coming two years, ideally sooner, we plan to hire a number of very strong engineers out of other companies in the Boston area. We’re really trying to take a new approach to beverages and we’re investing a lot in product development right now to figure out how to take a lot of drinks that previously you either couldn’t get at point of use, or at high quality at the point of use. How do we make these drinks at least as good, or even better than what you could get in a bottled beverage?”
While tech innovations are a ways off, Grundy said the company is looking at introducing new and seasonal beverage flavors later this year.
Monster Promotes Tierre, Carling
Monster Beverage Corp. has named two employees to newly created executive positions, Food Business News reported last week.
Emelie Tierre has been promoted to the role of president of the Americas, in addition to her current position as chief commercial officer. She first joined the company in 2010 as SVP of sales for North America and was promoted to the CCO position last year. Her new responsibilities include overseeing sales within the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
The company also promoted Guy Carling to the role of president of EMEA. Carling previously served as managing director, a role he first took in 2007 after serving as a marketing director at Red Bull.
Vivian Rhoads Leaves Verge for Supplements Company
Vivian Rhoads has left her brand marketing consultant role at Verge Strategy Inc. to join the executive team at supplements maker Pharmavite, serving as the company’s new divisional VP of innovation.
“When this opportunity came about, I was already in love with the health and wellness industry, so being able to be in the supplements area is really exciting for me,” Rhoads told BevNET in a phone call. “The ability to bring in what I’ve learned in functional food and beverage and marry that with supplements.”
Prior to joining Verge in 2014, Rhoads served as marketing director for venturing and category innovation at Naked Emerging Brands, the natural beverages division of PepsiCo. At Pharmavite, she rejoins old Naked teammates Andrea Theodore and Jerome Metivier, both of whom recently joined the company as CMO and CFO respectively.
Pharmavite produces the Nature Made supplements brand and also owns FoodState, a nutrient provider which also owns the MegaFood and Innate brands.
“It was a hard decision because I love consulting as well,” Rhoads said. “For me this is about being able to apply a lot of the things I’ve been preaching as a consultant and being able to make it happen.”
Acosta Names Former C&S Wholesale Exec as CEO
Alejandro Rodriguez Bas, a former C&S Wholesale Grocers executive, has been named the president and CEO of Acosta sales and marketing agency.
According to The Shelby Report, former CEO Gary Chartrand will remain as Acosta’s executive chairman of the board. Prior to his position as EVP of new business and market development at C&S, Bas served as CEO of Grupo LALA Mexico & Central America. He has also held various leadership roles at PepsiCo.
“Alejandro is an astute and accomplished leader with strong relationships in our industry,” Chartrand said. “These relationships, coupled with his impressive record of driving growth, innovation and operational excellence, will enable him to effectively lead Acosta. We’re looking forward to Alejandro’s leadership and building upon our momentum as we continue to innovate and drive results for our clients and customers.”
Convergent Coffee Co. Brings on New VP of Sales, Operations Director
Nitro-infused cold brew maker Convergent Coffee Company has brought on two new executives, the company announced in a press release this week.
JP Walsh joins the company as VP of sales and will focus on executing the company’s “aggressive growth strategy” by working with new wholesale partners. Walsh joins the company from Nestle Waters North America.
Former Stone Brewing director of operations Jeffrey Martin joins Convergent in the same role.
“I am very excited to work with Convergent Coffee’s dedicated and talented team of coffee experts,” Martin said in the press release. “Our mission in the brewery is simple — to brew and package the highest quality nitro cold brew coffee in the safest, most efficient manner, while continuously improving the quality of our product.”
The new hires come as the company completes a rebrand featuring refreshed packaging and a new logo.
AB InBev Creates New Executive Leader Roles
AB InBev announced a wide-ranging executive shakeup this afternoon, announcing Pedro Earp will serve as CMO and ZX Ventures officer.
The company also announced the creation of two new executive leadership roles that will both report to the CEO. Lucas Herscovici will serve as chief non-alcoholic beverages officer, overseeing the company’s emerging non-alcoholic division, which now accounts for 10 percent of the company’s volume sales. Pablo Panizza will serve as “chief owned-retail officer” to oversee global brew-pubs.
For more on this development, read the full story at Brewbound.