It is really friggin hard to be a food or beverage entrepreneur. Too many brilliant founders with innovative products fail. The facts are that the odds stink. Five years ago, when I started this practice it was with a belief that as an entrepreneur my greatest value would be to help fellow entrepreneurs win. I’ve learned a ton since then and find myself even more passionate than I was on that first day. I desperately want to see founders succeed, and if we are truly going to change the way we feed the world, we need them to.
Of the many lessons learned, two are most critical. The first, it takes an ecosystem for a nascent brand to survive. This ecosystem includes investors, brokers, buyers, agencies, evangelists, influencers, service providers and more. This lesson brought with it a realization, that although our creative approach to go-to-market strategy is valuable it is not the most important thing we do. What is most important is recognizing what a brand needs and connecting it with the people who can make it happen. Plugging our founders into the ecosystem is our highest value activity, and we need to continue to get better at doing just that.
The second critical lesson is the importance of focus and accountability. At times that proves difficult for us all. The absence of it is often a founder’s undoing. This applies both internally and externally. Since it takes an ecosystem, a brand’s success is often tethered to the work of others.
It is for the two reasons above and more, that I am so excited to share that WavenDean Fernandes has joined our team. He has over 25 years of experience working for Apple, Landor and others. He is also an entrepreneur himself, running his own boutique design agency for over 12 years. He is a creative, a strategist, a researcher, a verbal hugger and the only person I’ve met capable of developing a meaningful relationship with a pet rock.
He brings a wealth of knowledge, a robust network of his own and a superpower that makes everyone he connects with feel heard, cared for, valued and respected.
WavenDean will be in charge of brand success. He will work hand and glove with our founders and their teams. Not only will he support their efforts and instill focus and accountability, he will also act as a project manager ensuring that the critical members of the ecosystem stay informed and are able to meet timelines and milestones.
Together, we will work diligently to expand the ecosystem, building our network of investors, brokers, buyers, agencies, service providers, evangelists and more. Our goal is to be a phone call or email away from the specific person or organization that can best help a brand.
So, join me in welcoming WavenDean. Feel free to reach out to him to introduce yourself. I promise that if you do, you’ll have made a friend for life. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.