Factory is an operating company with funds to invest. We acquire meaningful equity stakes in high potential food, beverage and animal health companies. Then we use our experience and assets to help them innovate and scale.

What We Do

Factory makes value. We make money for founders and investors. We’ve created over $3B in enterprise value in three CPG companies, and we’re focused on doing it again and again.

How We Do It

Factory has The Factory – an innovation center with scale-up capabilities. The Factory is where ideas are born and tested, and countless details of scaling up get figured out before they’re rolled out. There are lots of places to get money and advice. But only Factory has The Factory.

What Else We Do

Factory owns Cooler Innovation LLC – the first and only company that rents free-standing refrigeration to retailers. With Cooler Innovation, fresh and frozen products can now be displayed in the aisles where they belong. Factory knows more about free-standing retail coolers than anyone, because we’ve installed over 16,000 of them. Check it out at coolerinnovation.com

Contact Us

The Factory

Our Innovation and Scale-Up Center is located in Bethlehem, PA – one hour from Newark and Philadelphia International Airports.

Factory under Construction

Factory under Construction
Factory Floor Plan

Our Team

Rich Thompson

Rich Thompson, Founder

Serial Entrepreneur, Operations Specialist

Rich created over $3 billion in enterprise value as Founder and CEO of American Italian Pasta Company, Meow Mix Company and Freshpet. He built the operations from scratch, including marketing and sales organizations, manufacturing, supply chain, and distribution and innovation infrastructure, and he supervised the design and construction of 7 factories. With CPG start-ups, one home run can be a lifetime achievement. Rich has hit three of them.

Tim Pollak

Tim Pollak, Partner

Global Manager, Marketing Specialist

Tim was a Board member and marketing consultant at American Italian Pasta, Meow Mix and Freshpet. He has 4 decades of CPG and brand building experience, was Vice Chairman at two of the world’s largest global ad agencies, Y&R and Dentsu, and co-founded a data analytics company. Tim has served on the Boards of 8 manufacturing, marketing and education companies, spent 5 years as a CEO, and has done business in over 50 countries.

Tom Casey

Tom Casey, Partner

Senior Retail Executive, Finance Specialist

Tom has 30 years’ experience leading financing and strategic change in grocery, apparel and home entertainment.  He was CEO of Wild Oats, President of American Apparel, CFO of Blockbuster, Board member at A&P, and Managing Director and head of the retail group at Deutsche Bank. Tom is also an organic farmer who spent 5 years on a nuclear submarine!

Mark Smolin

Mark Smolin, Partner

Senior Finance & Private Equity Specialist

Mark has been a successful private equity investor and investment banker for 20+ years, overseeing investments and operations in Food & Beverage, Retail, Service, Healthcare and Real Estate. Mark held Senior Managing Director and Group Head positions at multiple investment banks, including RBS, UBS and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Mark represents Factory on the West Coast.

Pat McCarthy

Pat McCarthy, VP

New Products & Ingredients Specialist

Pat provides comprehensive perspectives and solutions from “concept to shelf,” leveraging his experience in brand management, global sourcing, product development and retail integration. Working with manufacturers, retailers and brand development agencies, including Dial, H-E-B Private Brand and Daymon Worldwide, Pat has been involved with thousands of new products, including the development of over 800 items for the relaunch of Wild Oats Organic, which went from inception to $100M in 18 months.

Keith Caldwell

Keith Caldwell, Partner

General Manager

Prior to joining Factory, Keith worked for 8 years with Fortress Investment Group, where he was a Portfolio Manager responsible for the day- to-day operations of a real estate portfolio in the U.S. and Europe representing over $3.0B in invested capital and over $8.0B in total value.  Previously, he was a real estate broker for Grubb & Ellis in Southern California, where he focused on the sale and leasing of retail properties.  Keith earned his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Mike Palmer

Mike Palmer

Facilities & Operations Manager

Mike has 30+ years of experience in operations and manufacturing management, as well as product development and custom machinery design. He spent the last 12 years as General Manager for a baking machinery manufacturer, building custom equipment and production lines, and developing major and minor bulk ingredient systems for the baking industry.

Leland Carter

Leland Carter, Acquisitions Manager

Financial/Business Analysis Specialist

Leland has 9 years’ experience in investment banking and private equity investing in the consumer and retail sectors. Working with AUA Private Equity Partners, Wild Oats and Guggenheim Securities, he completed transactions in food and beverage, restaurants and e-Commerce. Leland graduated from Columbia Business School in 2016, where he was co-President of the Private Equity and Venture Capital Club.

Donna Pereira

Donna Pereira, Chief Executive Assistant

Administrative Specialist

Donna has worked in consumer brands with Rich Thompson for 15 years, first as Executive Assistant at Meow Mix, then as Senior Executive Assistant at Freshpet, and now as Chief Executive Assistant at Factory. Working alongside a hands-on CEO, Donna has been exposed to all aspects of operations and manages the day-to-day activities of the company.

Contact Us

Donna Pereira
201-340-2830
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