BevNET Live: Meet Your Virtual Board of Secret Weapons — Sadowsky, Barnhorn, Goldberg

Among key benefits like retail opportunities, funding advice, and a ripping cocktail party, BevNET Live tries to provide its attendees with pages from the strategic playbook for entrepreneurial beverage companies to consider as they try to grow and thrive. While not every play applies to every company, or to every situation, knowing a variety of successful strategies can help entrepreneurs maximize every opportunity possible.

Another way for entrepreneurs to learn the playbook is through their board of directors or board of advisors, a group that can bring specialized experience and knowledge to bear on decisions. In fact, it can be a CEO’s secret weapon, if it features the right mix of professional experience.

At BevNET Live in Santa Monica on Dec. 10, BevNET will bring together a group of three of the best “secret weapons” in the business – a trio of experienced beverage entrepreneurs who have gone on to work with beverage companies as investors, board members, and advisors and who are highly cognizant of the factors that cause companies to succeed or fail. Together, they will discuss the repeated challenges they see for CEOs and founders, along with some of the most effective ways they have seen for companies to assess their performance.

In addition to helping companies from the incubation to the venture capital stage, BevNET’s “Virtual Board of Secret Weapons” brings specific operational knowledge to the table as well. Speaking about entrepreneurship during the panel will be Ken Sadowsky, a former beverage distributor who is now a Senior Beverage Advisor at Verlinvest, who brings both route to market, merchandising, and positioning knowledge to the discussion. As the former CEO and founder of Fantasia Juice Co., as well as a seasoned board member and facilitator, Brad Barnhorn will provide knowledge of the challenges of leadership. Addressing the financial and structural issues for beverage companies is Brian Goldberg, the former CFO/COO at Sweet Leaf Tea, who has put his accounting and MBA background to work at a variety of companies as an investor, executive, and board member.

Attendees will leave this panel not just with tips from the playbook, but with ideas about how to get more out of their advisors – as well as an understanding of key traps that are common for entrepreneurs as they look to the future.

Make sure your future involves one of the few remaining seats at BevNET Live in Santa Monica on Dec. 9 and 10: register now.

About Brian Golderg

Brian Goldberg is a current investor, board member, and/or advisor to various companies in the CPG, Technology, and Energy sectors, including Deep Eddy Spirits, EnerSciences, Maverick Brands, Brand Project, Beanitos, Runa Tea, Rumble, Primizi, Thunderbird Energetica, Austin EastCiders, QuickGifts, NurtureMe, Bootleg Market, and DoStuff Media.

In 2012, Goldberg was CFO of Badlands Energy, LLC, a leading environmental services company in the Bakken oil shale formation in North Dakota operating under the Power Fuels brand, where he advised the company’s owner on strategic alternatives and executed a sale of the company to Heckmann Corporation (NYSE: HEK) for $550m.

Previously, Goldberg was an executive officer (CFO/COO) of Sweet Leaf Tea, a consumer beverage company based in Austin, TX.  Over a 6 year period, he was instrumental in growing the company from under $2m to over $60m in revenue, leading to the sale of the company to Nestle in 2011 generating significant returns to institutional growth equity investors, including Catterton Partners. Goldberg managed equity and debt financing activities, M&A and integration activities, corporate infrastructure development, and the finance, supply chain, HR, IT functions.

Prior to Sweet Leaf, Goldberg was a VP at New Capital Partners, a private equity investment firm, as well as served in financial planning and strategy roles at Pfizer (NY, CT, Ireland) and international corporate tax planning roles at Ernst & Young (Atlanta, Paris, Zurich).  He is a CPA and has an MBA in Finance/General Management from The Darden School at The University of Virginia, a Masters in Taxation from The University of Georgia, and a BSM in Accounting from Tulane University, New Orleans, LA.  He grew up in Philadelphia, PA and currently resides in Austin, TX with his wife and three sons.

About Brad Barnhorn

Brad Barnhorn works with a select set of leading growth-stage companies and private-equity groups in the food and beverage space as a board member and strategic advisor. His work leverages 25 years of company-building experience as entrepreneur, CEO, management consultant, board member and investor, cutting across all critical strategic and operational dimensions of successful company-building in the food and beverage space.

Barnhorn’s CEO career began as founder and CEO of the Fantasia Fresh Juice Co., which he rapidly built into the leading superpremium fresh juice/smoothie company in the Midwestern United States, culminating in its merger with Naked Juice and subsequent sale to Pepsi. He currently serves as a Board Member and/or Strategic Advsior to category defining food and beverage companies including KeVita, Zola, Krave Jerky, and Rhythm SuperFoods.

Barnhorn is additionally an Operating Advisor to consumer products focused private equity funds Encore Consumer Capital, Winona Capital and Fundamental Capital and an Industry Advisor to investment bankers Silverwood Partners. He holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and resides in San Francisco and Sonoma County.

About Ken Sadowsky

Ken Sadowsky was a principal of Atlas Distributing Inc., overseeing the non-alcoholic beverage division that he created. The division was founded in 1988 and sales were $50,000.00 that year. In 2007 sales were over $16,000,000.00 and the total company sales were in excess of $75 million.  Brands of the Atlas portfolio included Snapple, Red Bull, and vitaminwater.  Under his guidance, Atlas was one of the first distributors of the above mentioned brands as well as SoBe, Hansen’s Monster, Honest Tea and others.

Sadowsky was a director of Energy Brands, Inc. makers of Glaceau vitaminwater, smartwater, and fruitwater from 2000 to 2006, when the company sold a minority interest to The Tata Group.  He currently serves on the board of directors or as an advisor to All Market Inc., makers of Vita Coco; Hint Inc.; Inergetics; Bai Brands and Sambazon. In addition to numerous non-profit boards, Sadowsky is also on the advisory board of BevNET.

Sadowsky is also the Senior Beverages Advisor for Verlinvest, a Brussels-based investment holding company founded by family tied to Interbrew (InBev) and is also the Executive Director of NIDA, a group of independent beverage distributors in the Northeast. A graduate of Tulane University, Mr. Sadowsky resides in Miami.