Gastronome Ventures is in the business of connecting specialty food with smart capital. We believe there is economic and social value in specialty food products – increasing availability of these products to the broader mainstream consumer.

What can you do if the competition is buying up your opportunities and undercutting your access to the most promising companies? Innovate or stagnate. Gastronome Ventures is attractive to those who see the writing on the wall and shift their motus operandi to meet new opportunity.



Consumers are driving demand for healthier food & beverage at an unprecedented rate. Seeing a need to adapt or lose significant sales, major CPG companies are taking positions and acquiring at earlier stages – thus putting a considerable squeeze on middle-market Private Equity and Family Offices.


Expediting and streamlining the process of turning early-stage specialty food products into significant, strong brands poised to fully scale – help the supply meet the huge demand – unlocks the potential for substantial unrealized gain on investments.



At Gastronome Ventures, we focus on “high-touch and high-growth” food & beverage opportunities that fall outside the target of traditional investment models. Early-stage specialty food companies are in a highly inefficient market for funding — falling in the gap between venture and growth equity. As a result, companies are forced to fund via multiple angel rounds or small business debt, giving rise to slow growth and de-optimized exits. We see this as an opportunity.

With insights and pattern recognition gleaned from our substantial deal flow, Gastronome Ventures sources series A sized opportunities, with series C or D levels of capital risk and expected returns. Including preferred terms, liquidity preferences and assignable pro-rata rights for subsequent rounds. Years of industry expertise, relationships and trust are leveraged to secure best terms, expedite growth, mitigate risk and maximize acquisition interest.




  • Premium status of product
  • Authentic teams, with strong ties to community
  • Revenue between $100K-$5M
  • Beauty of idea, innovation or product
  • Compelling heatlh and/or functional benefits
  • History of attractive growth rates (>200%/year), and margins (>40%)
  • Competitive advantages in distribution channels
  • Undercurrent of market enthusiasm linked to industry sector attractiveness
  • Innovative go-to-market strategy
  • Clear path to exit


  • Retail performance; quantitative and qualititative data from retail buyers
  • Supply chain mapping and feasibility
  • Validation of local/organic/natural claimes, defensibility of health/functional benefits
  • Competitive market assessment
  • Interviews by industry veterans
  • References throughout product supply chain (ingredients to retail/food service)
  • Financial audit
  • Product/market fit analysis
  • Trend matching analysis
  • Valuation assessment
  • Legal review





Douglas Raggio

Managing Director

  • Expertise: deal sourcing,operations, marketing, business development
  • Experience: Douglas has founded, managed or mentored more than two-dozen startup companies. With a focus on food & beverage brands and founding of slow-cooked meal company, Stews & Such, he’s cultivated a vast network of manufacturers, vendors, distributors, co-packers and retailers in/around the packaged food space. This experience exposed a gap in the financing options available to small F&B brands, which Gastronome Ventures addresses. Previously he managed $100M+ marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies including Nike, Motorola, DirecTV and Discovery Channel. Douglas received a B.S. in Organizational Communication from Cal Poly Pomona.


Dave Kingsbury

Managing Partner

  • Expertise: operations, deal sourcing, marketing & new business
  • Experience: Dave was formerly the Vice President of Product Development and Research at The New Hope Network. New Hope has been at the epicenter of the natural products industry for the last 40 years. There he developed the NEXT platform, which is the leading prognosticative tool in the food and beverage space. Prior to joining New Hope, he was Senior Strategist/Planner with Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, one of the leading advertising and creative agencies in the U.S. While at CP+B, Dave created the Product Innovation Group that worked with clients including Domino’s, Kraft, Coke and Burger King. Prior to CP+B Kingsbury was a Principal at Radar Communications, working on innovation with leading brands such as Intel, Unilever, HP, General Mills, Publix.

management flat

Andrew Ruff


  • Expertise: financial accounting, diligence, and compliance
  • Experience: Andrew has been involved with multiple early stage clients and has helped them obtain more than $60M in equity or debt financing. He has been integral to dozens of successfully completed audits, cost structure reductions or realignments in excess of $2M, and half a dozen successful mergers or divestitures. Concurrently, he is the President, a Consulting CFO and Principal of TGG Accounting.


management flat

Christian Salaman

Partner, Pillsbury Law

  • Expertise: legal, VC funding, M&A exits, diligence and deal structuring
  • Experience: Christian’s practice focuses on the buying, selling and financing of businesses, as well as governance issues, operational matters and strategic relationships. He acts as general corporate counsel for many of his clients, serving as their liaison for all legal needs and as a trusted business advisor.


Matt Garrett

CEO and Founder, TGG Accounting

  • Expertise: corporate finance and accounting
  • Experience: With more than 17 years of small business development, personal finance and advanced tax and compensation issues, Matt is the founder and Chairman of TGG Accounting. A serial entrepreneur, he has founded and sold a number of businesses. TGG is a corporate financial advisory business to fill a need for high-level independent corporate financial services delivered to the small-business marketplace.


Troy Johnson

Food/Restaurant Editor, San Diego Magazine and TV host

  • Expertise: communications and food trends
  • Experience: Troy is an award-winning food/drink editor and TV host. He currently oversees food coverage for San Diego Magazine. He also wrote and hosted the Food Network series, “Crave,” served as a judge on “Iron Chef America” and is a recurring judge on “Guy’s Grocery Games” with Guy Fieri. His features and blurbs have appeared in The Huffington Post, Robb Report, Spin, Surfer, Rolling Stone, Paste, Mojo and Paper, among others.


Jeff Grad

Former Partner, Naked Juice currently with Evolution Fresh

  • Expertise: operations, industry insight, channel development sales & marketing and distribution
  • Experience: Jeff’s 25 years in the fresh juice and fresh foods business has been instrumental in shaping the natural foods landscape in Southern California. His two start-ups, Naked Juice and Evolution Fresh, are companies that have always led the industry in innovation and quality.


Mike Nelson

Creative Director and Founder, TypeG

  • Expertise: branding, package design and product development
  • Experience: Mike is the founder of Type G, a creative agency specializing in branding, design, interactive and video. With 20+ years of experience and a diverse array of clients in food/bev, health & wellness and financial markets, Mike delivers engaging creative and authentic distinctive positioning in every brand he touches.




Kimberly Mann, Partner

Corporate and Securities Practice



Janine Smith




Michael K. Green

CPA Partner



Payton Robertson




What is your source of funds? Committed vs pledge fund?

Our partners include HNWs, Family Offices and increasingly PE and Acquirers. We do have a committed fund and it’s closed. In lieu of a second fund we opted to work on individual deals and groupings with our partners as opposed to yet another fund. This keeps us hungry and active.

What deal structure do you prefer?

No debt or convertible notes. We’ll gladly take the risk alongside management with preferred equity funding. Typically we’re the first priced round after friends & family/Angels. This suits our expertise best.

Why only food & beverage?

We hold the strong belief that focus and discipline are the keys to sound investing. Our knowledge is in the packaged/branding F&B space, so that’s what we stick to.

What is your average investment size?

We’re comfortable with deals in the $250k-$3M range, but that’s not an absolute. We’ve looked at smaller and larger check sizes as well.

What’s your preferred company profile?

Nothing pre-revenue. After that, it depends on how the opportunity fits with our current resources and what leverage we can apply to bring immediate value. More of a portfolio and channel consideration vs individual deal metrics alone.

Do you sign NDAs?

No. We see too many deals in too tight of a space.

How do you arrive at your anticipated returns?

We tend to ignore the highflying “comps” in the space and gauge our anticipated returns on historical trajectories of the early stage brands and their early stage investor liquidity events.

What is your timeline for returns?

Roughly 3-5 years.

What is your diligence process?

Anticipate a lot of questions early on. We conduct diligence like a PE firm to identify efficiencies across the operational spectrum – ingredient sourcing, shipping/logistics, vendor contracts, etc.

Do you co-invest?

If there’s value, yes. Otherwise, no. Our investment partners understand and appreciate the value we bring and terms we secure in each deal.

How do you manage your deal flow?

The deal flow is the key to pattern recognition. We will take any and all inquiries that fall within our packaged/branded F&B scope. Warm intros obviously make it to the top of the heap and we attempt to respond to all inquiries within a day or so. It’s more work than we’d like but entirely necessary.

Who are your referral sources?

65%+ of our deal flow is from qualified referral sources – acquirers, PE, VCs, Family Offices, brokers, distributors, retailers. Focusing on small deals has been our success. The remainder come from other entrepreneurs, friends & family, LinkedIn, Google, etc.



If you’ve read this far, we will assume you’re interested in what we’re up to. Gastronome Ventures challenges the status quo and provides a vehicle for economic development and job creation – all through food and beverages. We’re quite proud and excited for the future ahead.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or comments and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

For investor opportunities and general inquiries, contact us at