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WHO WE ARE

ENTREPRENEURS. OPERATORS. INVESTORS.

Sonoma Brands is a specialist growth equity firm exclusively dedicated to disruptive, high-growth consumer brands. We seek to partner with passionate entrepreneurs and founders ushering in the new wave of bold, innovative products. As experienced entrepreneurs and brand builders with in-house value add resources and deep industry relationships, we believe we can guide emerging brands towards breakout growth.

Rooted in rich culinary tradition, we aspire to weave the values and principles of our home – Sonoma, California – into our mission and establish Sonoma as the premier destination for CPG innovation and entrepreneurship.

 

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Portfolio

A BETTER-FOR-YOU APPETITE.

SMASHMALLOW

Founded in 2016 as Sonoma Brands’ second incubated concept, SmashMallow is redefining permissible indulgence and striving to build America’s next iconic confectionary company. Made with organic and simple ingredients, it’s a guilt-free, every-day, any-time of day treat for your taste buds.

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ZÜPA NOMA

Founded in 2016 as Sonoma Brands’ first incubated concept, ZÜPA NOMA is revolutionizing how consumers “eat their vegetables”.  It’s category pioneering, ready-to-sip,  superfood soup line offers consumers 4 servings of organic veggies, no added sugars and a healthy dose of fiber in every bottle.

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DANG

Founded in 2012, and based in Berkeley, CA, Dang Foods was Sonoma Brands’ first external investment. Dang is an innovative plant-based snacking company, offering high fiber, low sugar coconut, onion and sticky-rice snacks that will have you saying “Dang! That’s good!”

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KRAVE JERKY

Founded by Sonoma Brands’ Founder & Managing Partner Jon Sebastiani in 2009, KRAVE Pure Foods represents a protein renaissance. High quality ingredients and culinary flavor profiles appeal to men, women and children – the everyday jerky lovers looking for something elevated and to the discerning palates of today’s foodie-savvy, health conscious gourmands.

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GUAYAKI

Founded in 1996 in Sebastopol, CA, Guayaki is an organic beverage company specializing in yerba mate products including RTD yerba mate, loose-leaf yerba mate, and energy shots. Guayaki is not only making organic, fair-trade yerba mate the mainstream energy source of choice, but also proving that a company can be profitable while operating sustainably.

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TRUE BOTANICALS

Founded in 2015 in Mill Valley, CA, True Botanicals is a prestige personal care brand that has established itself as the authority for nontoxic skincare. As the first personal care brand that’s entirely MADE SAFE™, True Botanicals’ products are made with ingredients certified-nontoxic for humans and the environment. With an uncompromising commitment to both safe ingredients and superior efficacy, True Botanicals is dedicated to delivering results without toxins.

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HU

Hu is brand built around a simple ethos of helping consumers “Get Back to Human” with a back-to-basics approach in creating products that are uncompromising in both quality and taste. Hu’s core line of paleo and vegan chocolate bars are an embodiment of the Hu philosophy that consumers trust – organic & fair-trade cacao, completely free from dairy, refined sugars, emulsifiers, gluten and GMOs – and are absolutely, unbelievably delicious.

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PECKISH

Founded in 2018 as Sonoma Brands’ third incubated concept, PECKISH is a fresh health & wellness snacking platform that will “hero” the egg in many convenient and ready-to-eat formats. With whole protein, clean ingredients and exploratory flavors, PECKISH is a brand the entire family can feel great about enjoying!

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YUMBLE

Launched in 2016 in New York City, Yumble is a direct-to-consumer kids meal delivery service offering a menu of convenient & healthy prepared meals for kids 12 months to 12 years. Yumble was born out of the Founders’ challenge of providing real, healthy food for their three picky kids, solving an everyday problem for parents everywhere.

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VINTAGE WINE ESTATES

Based in Santa Rosa, CA, VWE is a privately held wine & spirits company. VWE has a well balanced portfolio of assets, including winery estates, 30+ wine and spirits brands, and a bottling facility in Northern California. Vintage Wine Estates’ portfolio appeals to a broad consumer base that traverses the wine-drinking landscape and encompasses a wide array of wine styles and sales channels. Cheers!

Learn More

SMASHMALLOW

Founded in 2016 as Sonoma Brands’ second incubated concept, SmashMallow is redefining permissible indulgence and striving to build America’s next iconic confectionary company. Made with organic and simple ingredients, it’s a guilt-free, every-day, any-time of day treat for your taste buds.

Learn More

ZÜPA NOMA

Founded in 2016 as Sonoma Brands’ first incubated concept, ZÜPA NOMA is revolutionizing how consumers “eat their vegetables”.  It’s category pioneering, ready-to-sip,  superfood soup line offers consumers 4 servings of organic veggies, no added sugars and a healthy dose of fiber in every bottle.

Learn More

DANG

Founded in 2012, and based in Berkeley, CA, Dang Foods was Sonoma Brands’ first external investment. Dang is an innovative plant-based snacking company, offering high fiber, low sugar coconut, onion and sticky-rice snacks that will have you saying “Dang! That’s good!”

Learn More

KRAVE JERKY

Founded by Sonoma Brands’ Founder & Managing Partner Jon Sebastiani in 2009, KRAVE Pure Foods represents a protein renaissance. High quality ingredients and culinary flavor profiles appeal to men, women and children – the everyday jerky lovers looking for something elevated and to the discerning palates of today’s foodie-savvy, health conscious gourmands.

Learn More

GUAYAKI

Founded in 1996 in Sebastopol, CA, Guayaki is an organic beverage company specializing in yerba mate products including RTD yerba mate, loose-leaf yerba mate, and energy shots. Guayaki is not only making organic, fair-trade yerba mate the mainstream energy source of choice, but also proving that a company can be profitable while operating sustainably.

Learn More

TRUE BOTANICALS

Founded in 2015 in Mill Valley, CA, True Botanicals is a prestige personal care brand that has established itself as the authority for nontoxic skincare. As the first personal care brand that’s entirely MADE SAFE™, True Botanicals’ products are made with ingredients certified-nontoxic for humans and the environment. With an uncompromising commitment to both safe ingredients and superior efficacy, True Botanicals is dedicated to delivering results without toxins.

Learn More

HU

Hu is brand built around a simple ethos of helping consumers “Get Back to Human” with a back-to-basics approach in creating products that are uncompromising in both quality and taste. Hu’s core line of paleo and vegan chocolate bars are an embodiment of the Hu philosophy that consumers trust – organic & fair-trade cacao, completely free from dairy, refined sugars, emulsifiers, gluten and GMOs – and are absolutely, unbelievably delicious.

Learn More

PECKISH

Founded in 2018 as Sonoma Brands’ third incubated concept, PECKISH is a fresh health & wellness snacking platform that will “hero” the egg in many convenient and ready-to-eat formats. With whole protein, clean ingredients and exploratory flavors, PECKISH is a brand the entire family can feel great about enjoying!

Learn More

YUMBLE

Launched in 2016 in New York City, Yumble is a direct-to-consumer kids meal delivery service offering a menu of convenient & healthy prepared meals for kids 12 months to 12 years. Yumble was born out of the Founders’ challenge of providing real, healthy food for their three picky kids, solving an everyday problem for parents everywhere.

Learn More

VINTAGE WINE ESTATES

Based in Santa Rosa, CA, VWE is a privately held wine & spirits company. VWE has a well balanced portfolio of assets, including winery estates, 30+ wine and spirits brands, and a bottling facility in Northern California. Vintage Wine Estates’ portfolio appeals to a broad consumer base that traverses the wine-drinking landscape and encompasses a wide array of wine styles and sales channels. Cheers!

Learn More

Press

"Krave Jerky Founder Jon Sebastiani Launches Incubator For New Food Brands"

"Dang Foods Rebrands
and Launches New Line"

"Sonoma Brands hails 'explosive' growth trajectory at SmashMallow"

"Souping' is the new juicing:
3 places to get your broth on"

CONTACT US

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hello@sonomabrands.com
117 W. Napa St. Suite C
Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 656-2015



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JON SEBASTIANI, FOUNDER & MANAGING PARTNER

Jon founded Sonoma Brands in January 2016 and leads all aspects of the Firm’s investment strategy and portfolio company management. Jon serves on the Boards of SmashMallow, Dang Foods, True Botanicals, and Vintage Wine Estates.

Prior to founding Sonoma Brands, Jon was the Founder & CEO of KRAVE Pure Foods (“KRAVE”). Jon has always been an avid runner, and when he was training for the New York City Marathon in 2009, he realized the opportunity to turn a commonly used training food into something truly special. With encouragement from his mentor and business school professor, Steve Blank, Jon founded KRAVE with the intent on making jerky that tastes good without chemicals and additives. KRAVE went on to become one of the fastest growing CPGs in the country, culminating in the acquisition by The Hershey Company in 2015. Prior to KRAVE, Jon was the President of Viansa, a successful destination winery in the Napa and Sonoma valleys.

Jon received his B.S. in Economics from Santa Clara University and his dual M.B.A from the Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley and Columbia Business School.

BRIAN NICHOLSON, MANAGING DIRECTOR

Brian joined Sonoma Brands in 2018, bringing eight years of experience as a growth investor in leading eCommerce, Digital Media and Direct-to-Consumer businesses. At Sonoma Brands, Brian is focused on sourcing, executing and leading growth-stage investments in emerging consumer brands. Brian serves on the Boards of Yumble and True Botanicals (Observer).

Prior to joining Sonoma Brands, Brian spent over 5 years at Stripes Group, a leading growth equity firm in New York City, where he directly sourced and led growth investments in companies including Refinery29, Reformation, The Black Tux and Pond5. With these investments, Brian served as a Board Director or Observer and supported management in areas such as teambuilding, business development and strategic planning. Additionally, Brian has helped lead growth investments in disruptive consumer brands like Daily Harvest and ClassPass.

Previously, Brian founded a direct-to-consumer apparel brand and spent several years in the Technology Investment Banking Group at JMP Securities in San Francisco. Brian received a B.A. (Honors) from Brown University.

KEVIN MURPHY, MANAGING DIRECTOR

Kevin joined Sonoma Brands in January 2019 to focus on sourcing, executing and leading investments and to assist in the management and oversight of the firm.

Prior to joining Sonoma Brands, Kevin worked from 2005 (year of founding) to 2018 at Encore Consumer Capital, a consumer products-focused private equity firm. At Encore Kevin played a key role on investments in the food, beverage and pet categories across three investment funds. He was responsible for the firm’s beauty and personal care investment initiative, with investments from that effort including Tarte Cosmetics and Supergoop!.

Prior to Encore, Kevin was with Genstar Capital for four years. He began his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Boston office before relocating to San Francisco.

Kevin received his undergraduate degree from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley.

SHAHIR AMIN, VICE PRESIDENT & CHIEF COMPLIANCE OFFICER

Shahir joined Sonoma Brands in 2017 and currently serves as a Vice President on the Investment Team and Chief Compliance Officer for the Firm. Shahir is actively involved in all aspects of the investment process, including sourcing, diligence, execution, and portfolio management. As the Firm’s CCO, Shahir is also responsible for all aspects of accounting, tax, reporting, compliance, operations, and investor relations. Shahir currently serves on the Boards of SmashMallow and Dang Foods (Observer).

Prior to joining Sonoma Brands, Shahir was a member of the Private Investments team at UNC Management Company (“UNCMC”). While at UNCMC, Shahir focused on illiquid asset classes, including Private Equity. Prior to UNCMC, Shahir was an Analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. Shahir received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

JOSHUA ROMBACH, SENIOR ASSOCIATE

Josh joined Sonoma Brands in 2017 as an Associate. Josh is actively involved in all aspects of the investment process, including sourcing, diligence, execution, and portfolio management.

Prior to joining Sonoma Brands, Josh was an Associate at BlackRock Private Equity Partners, a $24 billion AUM private equity solutions platform. While at BlackRock Private Equity Partners, Josh was involved in all aspects of due diligence and played a role in deploying capital across the Consumer, Healthcare, Telecom & Technology sectors. Josh also participated in the team’s fund of funds investing practice, covering everything from venture through buyout strategies, and provided post-investment support and monitoring for both portfolio companies and fund investments. Josh received a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a focus in Economics from Middlebury College.

KELSEY MINIGAN, CHIEF OF STAFF

As a Sonoma native, Kelsey truly defines & represents Sonoma Brands as a community pillar. Excited to firmly establish her hometown as a hub of entrepreneurship, Kelsey plays a supporting, cross-functional role in the efforts of the Sonoma Brands team. Prior to Sonoma Brands, Kelsey worked with the San Francisco Giants in Luxury Sales & Client Relations. After the incredible 2014 season came to a close, Kelsey took a position with Yelp as an Account Executive in Sales. During her time there, she focused on helping over 3,000 small to medium sized businesses utilize Yelp as a tool to support growth.

Kelsey received a BA in Environmental Studies at The University of California, Santa Barbara.