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Thank you Ben Jang for the intro to our guest today, Jon Sebastiani, founder of Sonoma Brands and Krave Jerky. Sonoma Brands is a private equity firm focused on the growth sectors of the consumer economy. Krave was one of the first better for you beef jerky brands on the market. Jon is the first founder we've had on this show that not only scaled and sold his company to a strategic, but also reacquired the company.
Some of the questions I ask Jon:
- You're a fourth generation wine maker, and was president of Viansa winery. Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur and focus on beef jerky?
- What were your first steps when you decided to start the brand?
- When did you realize Krave was gaining traction?
- What were some of the things you did right or went your way that led to Krave's success?
- Looking back, what were some of the mistakes that you made?
- How did the sale to Hershey come about?
- Why did you decide to create Sonoma Brands?
- Why do you decide to focus on the growth stage instead of early stages?
- What's different creating and scaling a brand now vs. when you did it with Krave?
- What are elements you look for in businesses?
- What is the opportunity investing in consumer brands?
- Why did you buy Krave back?
- What are current trends you're passionate about?
- Do you only look at single category businesses?
- How do you think about growth vs. profitability?
- Is there a trend that you think is misunderstood?
- As an investor what is a good exit?
- What's one thing you would change about venture capital?
- What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?
- What's the best piece of advice that you've received?
- What's one piece of advice for founders?