Castanea Partners announced today that Tom First has joined the firm as an Operating Partner focusing on opportunities in the branded food and beverage sector.
“We are thrilled that Tom will be joining our team”, said Brian Knez, Managing Partner of Castanea. “Tom is an extraordinarily successful serial entrepreneur, advisor, and investor. His deep passion and experience in the food and beverage space will bring a unique perspective to our existing portfolio and help us identify exciting new investment opportunities.”
Prior to joining Castanea, Tom was a managing partner at First Beverage Ventures, the investment arm of First Beverage Group. Tom was also co-founder of Nantucket Nectars, an award-winning branded juice beverage which sold to Ocean Spray Cranberries and later to Cadbury Schweppes PLC. The brand is currently owned by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.
A serial entrepreneur, Tom also founded O Beverage, which sold to Polar Beverages in 2010. Tom will remain a board member of several brands including Health-Ade Kombucha, Purity Organic, Repsly, and Project Juice. He is also a minority co-investor in Essentia Water, a Castanea portfolio company.
Tom graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in American History.
Castanea is a private equity firm that works in partnership with founders and management teams of innovative passion brands to grow their businesses through a combination of capital investment and operating expertise. We are focused on select consumer verticals including beauty, food and beverage, multi-unit services, and enthusiast lifestyle. We typically invest between $15 to $150 million of equity in minority or majority transactions. Our team of talented operating executives offers critical expertise in key verticals and functional areas, and provides our partner companies with strategic and tactical support. Castanea has more than $1 billion in assets under management and is currently investing from a $735 million fourth fund. For more information about Castanea Partners read our story.