NEW YORK– AccelFoods, the investment fund known for backing high-growth food and beverage startups, announced the addition of new operating partners. The new partners will provide expert counsel and support to the venture fund’s portfolio brands in the areas of strategic planning, investment strategy, brand development, operational efficiency, marketing and M&A.
“The investment we make in our brands goes well beyond capital. We connect the dots within the broader food and beverage ecosystem by offering emerging companies and founders the resources needed to scale businesses quickly and smartly,” said AccelFoods managing partner Jordan Gaspar. “Helping our portfolio brands strategically scale and grow their business is our top priority and it’s something we can only accomplish if we’re collaborating with the brightest, most forward-thinking minds in the industry. We are excited to be working with such a diverse and smart team of experts who will provide a robust layer of expertise and insights to fuel growth and position these brands for long-term success.”
The new operating partners are:
Berniker is CMO of AccelFoods portfolio company, Roar Organic. Berniker is the former CMO and member of the executive leadership team of CORE Nutrition (makers of CORE Hydration and CORE Organic), which recently exited to Keurig Dr Pepper for $525 million. Prior to joining CORE, Berniker was the head of marketing and executive team member for Pirate’s Booty, acquired by B&G Foods in 2013. Before Pirate’s Booty, Berniker spent seven years at glaceau as the SVP brand marketing, where he directed the marketing strategy that helped grow vitaminwater and smartwater from $20 million to $700 million in sales leading to its acquisition by The Coca-Cola Company in 2007 for $4.1 billion.
Eskenazi brings expertise in financial strategy, managing large-scale integrations and the ability to spot potential exits and VP/CFO-level hires or changes. Most recently, Eskenazi was the CFO of Beats Electronics (Beats by Dre), where he oversaw the sale of the company for $3 billion to Apple. Prior to his time at Beats, Eskenazi also served as the CFO and SVP of Corporate Development for The Jim Henson Company, where he oversaw the sale of the company to EM.TV for $1 billion, and the subsequent sale of the Muppet Franchise to the Walt Disney Company.
Grant is CEO of Flood Creative, a design agency based in New York, and has been creating brands for over 20 years in both the U.S. and Europe. Recognized by BevNET as one of the 31 most powerful women in the beverage industry, she most recently worked on CORE Nutrition, where her team developed the award winning packaging that was part of CORE’s success story. Prior to CORE, Grant developed BodyArmor, a premium sports drink, with Lance Collins and Mike Repole. In August of 2018, Coca-Cola took a minority ownership stake in BodyArmor with a path to ownership. Grant also created and led the creative vision for the Fuze beverage brand, including naming, packaging design and brand positioning. FUZE was acquired by the Coca-Cola Company in 2007.
Hickey is CEO of AccelFoods portfolio company, Kalahari Brands. Previously, Hickey was the CEO of The Isopure Company and No Cow, both high-growth, private equity-backed health and wellness consumer products companies. In his first three years of leadership, Isopure doubled from $50 million to $100 million and sold to Glanbia plc, the Ireland-based global performance nutrition and ingredients company.
Silvestro is president and COO of AccelFoods portfolio company, Roar Organic. Silvestro is the former CEO of Chef’s Cut Real Jerky and comes to AccelFoods with a wealth of experience from Kraft Bakery Products (acquired by George Weston Bakeries), JJ Nissen Baking (acquired by IBC), Dias Bakery Products and Premier Snack Distributors. Prior to his three years at Chef’s Cut, Silvestro was on the senior leadership team for Popcorn Indiana.
“Successful entrepreneurs learn from their battle scars, leverage their relationships and identify early patterns around consumer trends,” said Berniker. “As an operating partner, I look forwarding to a valuable partnership with AccelFoods and its portfolio, offering brands tactical counsel to help them scale and thrive from varied experiences across brand life stages and product categories.”
AccelFoods is a venture capital fund investing in high-growth packaged food and beverage companies. AccelFoods connects the dots within the broader ecosystem to help founders scale their business quickly and smartly. With $90 million under management, AccelFoods is on the hunt for challengers who will create the next generation of enduring brands. To learn more, please visit accelfoods.com.