The Whipstitch tribe consists of dedicated, talented, and highly-experienced professionals. We know and live your space.
Senior Operating and Strategic Advisor.
Michael Burgmaier is a Co-Founder and Managing Director with Whipstitch Capital. In 2009, he joined Nick McCoy at the investment bank, Silverwood Partners, where together they led the firm’s consumer practice. (If you want to read about the transactions they completed together, Nick has a pretty awesome bio, too)
Mike is an avid runner, T-shirt wearer and semi-health food nut.
Mike holds FINRA Series 7 and Series 63 licenses. Ever the overachiever, he attended graduate school twice and holds an MPP from Duke University and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, not to mention an undergraduate degree from Boston College. He works out of Yarmouth, Maine and has three awesome children.
Nick McCoy is a Co-Founder and Managing Director with Whipstitch Capital. In 2001, he co-founded the investment bank Silverwood Partners. In 2009, Mike Burgmaier joined Nick at Silverwood, together they completed nearly forty transactions for clients such as Blake’s All Natural, KeVita, Cherrybrook Kitchen, Spindrift and Otter Creek Brewing Company. In October 2015, they formed Whipstitch.
Nick is an avid road cyclist and thinks it’s ok to cross country ski in below zero temperatures. He’s a health-focused foodie, cooks frequently and has an extensive knowledge of wine (just ask him).
Nick holds FINRA Series 7, 24, 27 and Series 63 licenses and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. He holds an MBA from Wake Forest University and has an undergraduate degree from the University of New Hampshire. He works out of Southborough, MA and loves his wife and two children.
Greg Ucich is a Senior Associate with Whipstitch Capital. In 2013, he joined Nick McCoy and Mike Burgmaier at a previous investment bank, where he worked on numerous consumer products deals including Blake’s All Natural Foods (sold to ConAgra Foods) and Spindrift (investments from Prolog Ventures, KarpReilly and VMG Partners). Shortly after Nick and Mike started Whipstitch, Greg hopped on board. He enjoys golfing (Mike always tries to get Greg on his best ball team), snowboarding and playing soccer. Greg holds FINRA Series 79 and Series 63 licenses, is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder and has been a member of Big Brother Big Sister since 2012. Although he has an undergraduate degree from the University of New Hampshire, Greg works and lives out of San Diego, CA with his wonderful girlfriend and, unfortunately (she won’t read this, right?), her terrible cat.
Tim Sousa is a Senior Associate with Whipstitch Capital. Tim joined Whipstitch from another investment bank where he worked directly with Nick McCoy and Mike Burgmaier for several years. There, he assisted in executing numerous M&A and private placement transactions in the branded consumer products industry for clients such as Sqwincher, Brad’s Raw Foods, Yasso and Scivation. Tim first wet his toes in the consumer industry while working for Kamylon Capital, a $1.0 billion private equity fund. Tim enjoys spending time outdoors, especially at Earth’s ends, whether scuba diving or jumping out of a plane at 14,000 feet. He is currently pursuing PADI rescue diver certification. He holds FINRA Series 79 and Series 63 licenses and has an MBA and B.S. in Finance from Bentley University where he was a student athlete. Tim lives in Boston with his longtime girlfriend and works out of the Burlington office (although had ambitions to move west…).
Taylor Lynch is an Analyst at Whipstitch Capital. Ever the health nut, Taylor graduated with a degree in Exercise Physiology from Brigham Young University – Idaho with an emphasis in nutrition. Before Whipstitch, Taylor worked as a Real Estate Portfolio Manager for a family office with assets ranging from $3-20 million and as an Intern Analyst for New Forest Capital, a small private family office investment firm based in Boston. Taylor loves exercising in almost any capacity except long distance running – if given the choice, he would rather binge watch Netflix regardless of the outcome. He loves nutrition, football, basketball, and volleyball but mostly spending time with his wife and new baby girl.
Meet Bill Moses.
Bill Moses is the former Co – Founder, Chairman/CEO for KeVita Probiotic Drinks which was acquired by PepsiCo. Bill is a founder, angel investor and strategic advisor for several on trend functional food, beverage and skin care innovation ventures. He owns Casa Barranca Winery in Ojai, Ca. the central coasts first certified organic winery. Bill Moses is as passionate advocate for charity and sits on several non profit boards. He is a recipient of the Ellis Island Gold Medal of Honor for humanitarian and business leadership. This all followed his Wall Street career where he consummated many M&A transactions.
Meet Kent Pilakowski.
FOUNDER, IGNITE SALES MANAGEMENT
Kent’s experience spans from category management to channels strategy to trade optimization to customer management to retail execution and more. A “category captain” in the natural/organic space, his final role at General Mills was directing the sales operations, trade marketing, and category management for the Small Planet Foods organic division.
In 2007, Kent created IGNITE to take advantage of what he saw as the most significant white space in the emerging food & beverage industry: strategic sales management. During his tenure with Small Planet Foods, he witnessed many brands who needed more than what was at that time offered. What was missing was a more holistic view of growth and the strategy that drives it – focused on sales, but including all aspects of brand and product development. IGNITE’s partnership model of shared goals amplifies the power of this broad strategic vision.
After building IGNITE for nine years that ended with 40+ sales professionals, Kent sold the business (using Whipstitch) to the largest food broker in the U.S., Acosta Sales and Marketing.
Meet Jeanne Varley.
Founder & CEO, Emerging Brand Strategies, LLC
Jeanne Varley is Founder & CEO of Emerging Brand Strategies, LLC. The company provides consulting services in business and financial planning as well as launch and growth strategies to start up and emerging brands in the beverage and consumer goods segments. She started the company after a long career in beverages including senior level roles with Diageo, Constellation Brands, Beverage Marketing Corporation and FIJI Water. When not advising startup companies, she can be found trying to keep up with her young daughter or enjoying time at the beach with her husband where they live in South Florida. She holds an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Economics from LeMoyne College.
Meet Greg Fleishman.
Co-Founder & Chairman, Purely Righteous Brands
Fleishman has created and grown some of the world’s largest and most successful brands during his 20-year career – launching 1,500+ items across 17 food and beverage categories into 12 countries – focusing primarily on the “natural green space.”
In 2016, Fleishman co-founded Foodstirs Modern Baking with Galit Laibow and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Prior to starting Foodstirs, Fleishman co-founded Modern Alkeme superherb beverage company with Real Housewife of NYC, Jules Wainstein and industry leader Larry Praeger.
He currently serves as chairman & Co-founder of Purely Righteous Brands (PRB), a boutique advisory firm dedicated to fostering the growth of green space companies some of whom include Bonafide Provisions, Once Upon a Farm, Hail Merry, REBBL, Chameleon Cold-Brew, and GT’s Kombucha. Under PRB, Fleishman has served as chief marketing & strategy officer of Suja, the #1 cold-pressured fresh juice brand in the US where he led business strategy, marketing, innovation, and retail customer development.
Prior career highlights include serving as chief marketing officer for Sambazon, the maker of fresh amazon superfood-based beverages; CMO for Coca-Cola’s FUZE & Energy portfolio; and for more than 14 years as an executive marketer at Kashi/Bear Naked and Kelloggs.
In 2016, Fleishman was named to Forbes List of Top Consumer Catalysts. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Demeter Biodynamic, Nuun, 4th & Heart, Temple Beverage Co., Modern Alkeme, and Foodstirs.
Meet Kim Greenfeld.
Principal, Campo Verde Solutions
Kim is the founder of Campo Verde Solutions, a consulting firm to the organic and natural food industry with a primary focus on private label programs. In this role Kim provides expertise in product development, growing innovative private label programs, sales management, marketing, and packaging.
Kim has over 20 years of product development and private label expertise honing her craft in companies such as Trader Joe’s (nearly 17 years) and Whole Foods (four years). As the Coordinator of Buying at Trader Joe’s, she opened Trader Joe’s East resourcing all perishable items from local East Coast Vendors. At Whole Foods, she introduced hundreds of items to help Whole Foods expand their natural and organic private label set into unique, value-added items. Her expertise for developing innovative and unique private label programs and staying on top of product development trends have gained her respect in the retail food industry.
Among her skills are product sourcing, pricing negotiations, logistics, regulatory issues, marketing, packaging, and many other aspects surrounding development of products and programs. She is fluent in French and Spanish. Kim holds an AB degree from Occidental College and an MBA in marketing from CSULA and has experience in both the North American and international food industry arenas. Kim is a dedicated “foodie” who makes food her work and her hobby!
She resides with her family in the Boston area.
Meet Tim Sperry.
Founder, The Tim Sperry Group
Tim Sperry started The Tim Sperry Group in 2006, following a twenty-year career in Purchasing Leadership at Whole Foods Market; offering his services to companies who sell products in the Natural, Organic and Specialty Marketplace.
His consultancy includes the following services:
- Taking new products to market and strategies for staying in the market.
- Natural/Specialty channel navigation strategies with a focus on Whole Foods Market
- Additional services include navigation strategies for foreign companies seeking entrance into the US market
- Product review and branding strategies
- Category reviews and sales strategies.
- Market overviews and opportunities for Private Equity firms
Tim began his career in the natural foods industry in 1982. During his tenure with Whole Foods Market, Tim led the Grocery Team in one of the largest regions of the company. He participated in the expansion of WFM into Washington, D.C. and New York City, as well as London. Tim was also a key participant in the development of National Purchasing at Whole Foods.
Clients of The Tim Sperry Group have included the following companies or brands: All-Terrain, Annie’s, Against the Grain, Angie’s, Applegate Farms, Bausch & Lomb, Blake’s All Natural Foods, Bigelow Tea, Bord Bia (Irish Food Promotion Board), Café Blue Coffee (Jamaica), CEI (portfolio companies Putney Pasta and Rustic Crust), Consul-General of Canada/AAFC, Deep River Snacks, Divina/Food Match, Earth Friendly Products, Feel Good Foods, Foods from Britain, Home Market Foods, Global Organics, Go Picnic, Golazo, Hampstead Tea (UK), If You Care, Integria (Australia), Kettle Cuisine, Laurel Hill Foods, Lightlife Foods, Lucini Italia, Megafood, Native Alimentos (Brazil), Nelsons, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Q-bel Foods, Quebec Delegation, Peter Rabbit Organics (UK), Phin&Phebes, Pure Juice, Purity Organics, Richelieu Foods, Roots Hummus, Royal Pacific/Ginger People, San-J, Seventh Generation, SC Johnson, Schlotterbeck&Foss, Snyder’s of Hanover, Sol Cuisine, Source Atlantique, Stirrings, Susie’s Supper Club, Thai Taste, ThinkThin LLC, True Yogurt, UNFI, unReal Candy, Vitasoy and White Cloud Nutrition (New Zealand).
He is currently an outside director for Phin & Phebe’s Ice Cream, Old Lyme Gourmet dba/Deep River Snacks and Feel Good Foods. He currently serves as an advisory board member to Back to Nature (PE backed), New England Natural Bakers (ESOP) and Galaxy Nutritional Foods (PE backed).
Meet Rick Antonelli.
Chairman, Galaxy Nutritional Foods
Mr. Antonelli joined Galaxy Nutritional Foods in 2009 as Chief Executive Officer and currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Previously, he was Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and President of Distribution for United Natural Foods from December 2005 to August 2008 and served as a member of the Board of Directors from December 2003 to August 2008. The majority of his professional career was dedicated to United Natural Foods (Nasdaq: UNFI), the nation’s largest natural products distributor at over $8 billion in annual sales, serving as President of both Eastern and Western Regions, Director of Sales since its inception from 1996 through 2001 and Director of Sales for Cornucopia Natural Foods, the Company’s predecessor, from 1985 through 1996.
From 1982 through 1985, Mr. Antonelli was Director of Operations for Harvest Provision, a division of Bread and Circus that was acquired by Cornucopia Natural Foods in 1985. From 2001 to 2002, Mr. Antonelli was President of Fairfield Farm Kitchens, a Massachusetts-based custom-food manufacturer where Mr. Antonelli’s responsibilities included oversight of a 250,000 square foot manufacturing facility, the acquisition and integration of an integrated food company and the development and launch of three new organic product lines. In addition to his responsibilities at Galaxy Nutritional Foods Mr. Antonelli has served on the Board of Directors of Zevia Beverage Company, the National Cooperative Grocers Association , Mary’s Gone Crackers and UNFI.
Meet Bob Burke.
As a consultant since 1998, Bob Burke provides assistance in bringing natural, organic and specialty products to market across most classes of trade. This includes work in strategic planning, growth strategies, writing sales, marketing and business plans, budgeting, pricing, building distribution, broker selection and management, organizational development, strategic options, financing, branding, trade spending management and assistance around M&A, due diligence and venture strategy groups. He is also the co-author and co-publisher of the Natural Products Field Manual, Seventh Edition, The Sales Manager’s Handbook and Staking out Space on the Supermarket Shelf. Prior to consulting, Bob was with Stonyfield Farm Yogurt for 11 years as Vice President, Sales & Corporate Development and Vice President, Marketing & Sales. He has held marketing positions with Colombo, Inc. and Sperry Top-Sider. He received an MBA from Babson College.
Clients: Have had the privilege of working with and learning from exciting companies such as: Annie’s Homegrown, Oregon Chai, Snyder’s of Hanover, UNFI, No Pudge!, Kraft Foods, Bayer Consumer Care Division, ConAgra, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Stacy’s Pita Chips, Kettle Cuisine, Small Planet Foods, New Hope Natural Media, Bushes Beans, Equal Exchange, Stirrings, Immaculate Baking, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Dancing Deer Bakery, The Natural Dentist, Rice Select, EcoFish, PMO Wildwood, S.C. Johnson, Blake’s All Natural Foods, Megafood/BioSan, Mighty Leaf Tea, Lesser Evil Snack Co., Theo Chocolate, The Jane Goodall Institute, Kashi, Project 7, Vermont Butter and Cheese, Yoghund, Bord Bia, American Halal, Orgain, Turtle Island, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Bausch + Lomb, Boehringer Ingleheim, Harbar LLC, Rhino Foods, Popcorn Indiana, Stonehouse 27, The ProBar, Hail Merry, Mamma Chia, 479 Popcorn, Heel USA, Nature’s Path, Pfizer, E & A Industries, Dave’s Gourmet, Via Sana, Sopexa USA, Mavea, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, Bob’s Red Mill, New England Natural Bakers, Quantum Health, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Califia Farms, Salem Baking, Taza Chocolate, Integria and others.
He currently serves as an outside director for EcoFish, American Halal, Orgain, and King Arthur Flour. He serves on the advisory boards of Soapbox Soaps, Smart Flour Foods, Exo, The Chaat Co., and Accel Foods. He is a former director of Stonyfield Farm, Equal Exchange, Stirrings, Wildwood, Nutrabella, FoodState Inc. and the Specialty Food Association. He is on the Selection Committee at Nutrition Capital Network. He is the Co-Chair of the Specialty Food Association’s Natural and Organic Council. He also serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of Nutrition Business Journal. He serves as a Beachheads Advisor with New Zealand Trade & Enterprise. He is also on the board of directors of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Bob was named one of the “Top 25 Business Builders of the Natural Products Industry for the last 25 years” by Natural Foods Merchandiser Magazine. He was also named an inaugural Senior Fellow at Food Sol, within the Lewis Institute at Babson College.
He has been qualified as an expert witness in federal court on the subject of the sales and marketing of natural, organic and specialty products.
Bob has delivered presentations, seminars and moderated panels at leading trade shows and conferences such as Natural Products Expo East & West, The Specialty Food Association’s Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows, OTA’s “All Things Organic Trade Show and Conference”, Nutrition Capital Network, International Keynote speaker at Innovest in Auckland, New Zealand, Natural Products Europe in London, Bord Bia in Dublin, Canadian Consulates in Boston and Chicago, Quebec Delegation in Boston, Kosherfest in New York, The Soyfoods Conference, Agrifood Trade Services in Nova Scotia, Saskatoon and Quebec, the CHFA Expo East in Toronto, BevNet Live and BevNet’s FBU in New York and Santa Monica, the Global Access Advisors conference in Melbourne, Australia, the National Health Store Conference in London, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise educational programs throughout New Zealand, and has been a featured trainer and speaker at Management Venture Institute forums. He is also a presenter and panelist at the Stonyfield Entrepreneurial Institute Boot Camp. He authored the NASFT’s White Paper on Trade Promotion.
He also runs full day seminars and networking events on “Becoming a more Effective Sales Manager in the Natural and Specialty Channel”, “Financing your Natural and Specialty Products Company” and “Making Your Supply Chain a Business Strength”.
Bob lives in Andover, MA with his wife, Kathy and four children: Conor, Caitlin, Devin and Rory.
Meet Chris Licata.
CEO, The Tecnica Group
Chris Licata is the CEO of The Tecnica Group, the West Lebanon, NH-based US subsidiary distributing the winter sports and outdoor brands Nordica, Tecnica, Blizzard and Rollerblade. Prior to joining The Tecnica Group Chris was the President & CEO of Blake’s All Natural Foods, a Concord, NH-based Organic and Natural food manufacturer. Chris became CEO of Blake’s in 2006 and grew the business from a small, regional New England brand to a national brand selling to more than 10,000 retailers in 50 states. Under Chris’s leadership, Blake’s earned consistent recognition as the fastest-growing brand in the Natural Foods category. The growth and success of Blake’s ultimately led to the acquisition of Blake’s by ConAgra Foods, one of the largest food companies in the world. In 2014 Chris was named the NH Small Business Person of the Year by The United States Small Business Administration.
Prior to joining Blake’s Chris spent his previous 20 years in the ski, outdoor and action sports industry, holding several leadership positions such as President of Tecnica/Blizzard, President of Dynastar/Lange/Look and Vice President of Salomon North America. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Snowsports Industries of America, the ski and snowboard industry’s governing body.
Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in Management from Western New England University, where he was a four-year member of the varsity lacrosse team. In his free time Chris is an avid and mildly obsessive skier, snowboarder and year-round surfer. He is a Leadership Coach with Velocity Performance and Victory Academy, organizations focused working with college athletes and athletic directors to build the next generation of leaders. He is also an active board member to several other companies and enjoys working with other entrepreneurs as they scale their businesses. Chris is also involved in the lacrosse community, serving as a founding member, director and coach of the Hopkinton Lacrosse Club. He is also a coach with the New Hampshire Tomahawks, an elite showcase and development lacrosse program.
Chris lives in Hopkinton, NH with his wife Amy and his daughters Blake and Lucy.
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