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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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 to invest in high-growth, emerging consumer brands and selectively incubate new concepts. Through Sonoma Brands, Jon intends to build a leading growth equity fund exclusively focused on the CPG space. As a successful entrepreneur with experience in building multiple brands, Jon understands a founder’s need to look beyond capital and select a partner with value-add capabilities around sales, marketing, supply chain operations, and R&D. Jon oversees current and prospective portfolio investments and leads the firm’s investment and operation teams.
Jon began his career steering the sales & marketing for Viansa, his family’s winery, and eventually leading the business as President, becoming one of the most successful destination wineries in the Napa and Sonoma valleys. After helping drive the M&A process leading up to Viansa’s sale, Jon served as Managing Director of wine.com, assisting in the turnaround toward its first profitable quarter.

As an avid runner training for the New York City Marathon in 2009, Jon realized the opportunity to turn jerky, a commonly used training food, into something truly special. Influenced by his wine background, Jon founded KRAVE Pure Foods (“KRAVE”) to create a differentiated jerky brand with culinary-inspired flavor profiles and all-natural ingredients. As the Founder and CEO of KRAVE, Jon led one of the most disruptive, fastest growing CPG brands in the industry, culminating in the company’s acquisition by The Hershey Company in 2015.

CHELSEA BIALLA, CHIEF BRAND OFFICER

Chelsea has led Marketing since the firm’s inception. Given her deep domain expertise within the food & beverage space and her unique understanding of the relevant market trends driving consumer behavior, Chelsea leads Sonoma Brands’ efforts around creating and executing marketing and brand strategies for emerging consumer products companies. Core to the entrepreneurial spirit of Sonoma Brands, Chelsea has also been deeply influential in the creation of innovative, disruptive CPG brands – KRAVE Jerky, SmashMallow, ZÜPA NOMA and more.

Prior to joining Sonoma Brands, Chelsea was the Director of Marketing at KRAVE Pure Foods (“KRAVE”). While at KRAVE, Chelsea provided company-wide support to KRAVE’s momentous growth, from working with Operations to propel growth, quality, and innovation,  and developing 360 programs for the Field Sales & Marketing teams to drive brand awareness and build velocity.

Prior to KRAVE, Chelsea was a Principal at the prestigious London-based marketing agency, IndrediBull. As a Principal, Chelsea developed high-profile experiential marketing campaigns designed to reach consumers through non-traditional initiatives, while also helping small business with everything from establishing their brand identity to digital strategy. Chelsea received a B.S. in Advertising Design at the Art Institute San Francisco.

BRIAN NICHOLSON, PRINCIPAL

Brian joined Sonoma Brands in 2018 as a Principal, 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.

Prior to joining Sonoma 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.

SHAHIR AMIN, SENIOR ASSOCIATE

Shahir joined Sonoma Brands in 2017. As a Senior Associate, Shahir is involved in all aspects of the investment process, including sourcing, diligence, execution, and portfolio management. Additionally, Shahir is responsible for reporting and investor relations.

Prior to joining Sonoma Brands, Shahir was a member of the Private Investments team at UNC Management Company (“UNCMC”). While at UNCMC, Shahir covered the Private Equity, Energy & Natural Resources, Real Estate and Private Credit portfolios on behalf of the ~$5.5 billion UNC Investment Fund. Previously, Shahir was an investment banker at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

Shahir received a B.S. in Business Administration with Concentration in Finance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

JOSHUA ROMBACH, ASSOCIATE

Josh joined Sonoma Brands in 2017. As an Associate, Josh is 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, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER

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.