If you believe there is value in innovative specialty food products, come partner with us. If this statement is not your cup of tea — by any means, this isn’t for you.

Gastronome Ventures is attractive to people who are interested in the story and purpose behind the food products they buy and consume everyday. We are in the business of connecting specialty food enterprises with smart capital. Period.



Consumer demand for local specialty food and beverages has exploded. Seeing a need to adapt or lose significant sales to competitors, large food companies are increasingly acquiring specialty food companies. Whoever can expedite and streamline the process of turning local specialty food products into significant, strong brands—help the supply meet the huge demand—stands to gain substantially on their investment.

Gastronome Ventures strategically invests in strong food companies, energizing their growth via relationships with retail and wholesaler networks, and creating opportunities for acquisition through relationships with large food companies.

Our advantage of insider status and expertise throughout the specialty/local food ecosystem provides unique access to the best companies and entrepreneurs.



At Gastronome Ventures, we focus on “high-touch” food and 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.

Gastronome Ventures has the opportunity to write seed and series A sized checks, with series C or D levels of capital risk and expected returns. By pooling resources and with the benefit of follow-on financing options and valuable industry expertise, we work to mitigate the risks inherent in specialty food and beverage enterprises, while expediting growth and acquisition interest.




Douglas Raggio

Managing Director

  • Expertise: deal sourcing, industry expertise, marketing, business development and fund management
  • Experience: Douglas has founded, managed or mentored more than two dozen startup companies. With a focus on food/bev 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 food brands, which Gastronome Ventures addresses. Previously he managed $100M+ marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies including Nike, Motorola and DirecTV. Douglas received a B.S. in Organizational Communication from Cal Poly Pomona.

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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.


Lara Burns

Market Analyst

  • Expertise: industry trends, competitive analysis and category management
  • Experience: Lara is an Associate with Nutrition Capital Network, facilitating the financing process and introducing investors to successful brands in the nutrition, health, wellness, natural/organic and green product industries. She has presented to industry groups and at large trade shows and been published in NFM and Progressive Grocer. With SPINS, the leading market research firm for the Natural Products Industry, she worked with traditional CPG companies and independent brands on buy/build strategies, trade management, opportunity assessment, category management and other analytics. Previously she was a Senior Corporate Finance Analyst within the Investment Banking industry. Lara completed her MBA from the University of San Francisco in 2006, emphasizing Marketing and Finance.


Daniel Sivertsen


  • Expertise: sales, marketing and deal sourcing
  • Experience: Daniel is an experienced Food and Beverage Executive with high-level relationships throughout the USA, Australia and Asia. He started his career with Coca-Cola Amatil in Australia where he ran regional business development and merchandising. After relocating to the United States he began a successful stint in the technology sector working with clients such as Yamaha, Guess?, Oracle, Roll Global and Qualcomm. In 2010, Daniel founded a Food and Beverage consultancy firm where he has consulted and mentored many start ups assisting them to raise money, improve operations efficiency and increase sales.


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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.

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Andrea Larson

Associate Professor at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia

  • Expertise: entrepreneurial innovation
  • Experience: Andrea is an Associate Professor at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, in the areas of innovation and sustainable business. Building on earlier research on value creation through collaborative alliances, her work focuses on market opportunities in “clean” materials and energy with attention on specific areas such as healthy food systems and local economies.


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.

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Steve Robbins

Director of Hospitality, Stone Brewing

  • Expertise: food/bev operations, distribution & project management
  • Experience: An established leader in the Food and Beverage field who has forged a path of success across the globe. Steve is currently sharing his authentic operations and strategic alignment vision with craft beer powerhouse, Stone Brewing Co. Steve’s previous experience include working with Caesars Entertainment and Marriott with a degree in hotel and restaurant management.


Peyton Robertson

Founder/President, Bay Bird PR

  • Expertise: public relations and industry insight
  • Experience: Peyton is a savvy PR strategist with over 16 years of extensive experience in the industry, specializing in devising and implementing highly successful communications plans and PR campaigns for clients in the culinary, spirits, fashion, entertainment, arts, hospitality, consumer, beauty/wellness and non-profit sectors.



Kimberly Mann, Partner
Corporate and Securities Practice


Nancy Brzezniak


Michael K. Green
CPA Partner




  • 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






San Franola makes snacks that are good for you, without compromising on flavor OR nutrition. Our granola leads the category in nutrition, with 10 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, only 5 grams of sugar, and under 160 calories per serving. We developed a proprietary roasting technique that gives our granola robust taste and big, delicious clusters, which make it perfect for breakfast or snacking on the go.



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

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