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First Joins Castanea Partners as Operating Partner

September 06, 2016, 07:28 AM

Castanea Partners announced 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, First was a managing partner at First Beverage Ventures, the investment arm of First Beverage Group. He 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, First 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.

Castanea Partners is a middle-market consumer-focused private equity firm founded by operating executives and private equity professionals. We partner with promising small to middle-market companies in branded consumer products and services, including companies in specialty apparel and fashion, footwear and accessories, beauty and personal care, food and beverage, sporting goods, outdoor and leisure, household and juvenile products, and health and wellness.

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