Factory is an operating company with $250M of investable capital. We acquire meaningful equity stakes in high potential food, beverage and pet health companies. Then we partner with them, using our experience and expertise, deep networks, one-of-a-kind facility and fresh capital to help them innovate and scale.

What We Do

Factory makes value. We’re in business to make money for our entrepreneur partners and our investors. Factory principals have created over $3B in enterprise value in three CPG companies, and we’re geared up to do it again and again. To quote the CEO of our first investment: “Factory gives a $2M company the resources of a $200M company, and our interests are perfectly aligned.”

How We Do It

Factory has The Factory – a 40,000 sq. ft. purpose-built facility that houses all the resources and expertise needed to innovate and scale-up. Factory’s staff includes experts in sales, distribution, marketing, product development, food science, manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, package engineering, food safety, consumer insights, social media, finance, legal and more. There are lots of places to get money and advice. But only Factory has the hands-on expertise and resources available to entrepreneurs at The Factory.

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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 under Construction
Factory Floor Plan

Our Team

Rich Thompson

Rich Thompson, Managing Partner

Rich helped create over $3 billion in enterprise value as CEO of American Italian Pasta Company, The Meow Mix Company and Freshpet. He has deep operational experience across multiple disciplines, having helped build each of these organizations, including marketing and sales, manufacturing, supply chain and distribution, and innovation infrastructure, and he has supervised the design and construction of 7 manufacturing facilities. With CPG start-ups, one home run can be a lifetime achievement. Rich has helped achieve three of them.

Tim Pollak

Tim Pollak, Partner & Head of Strategy

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. He earned his BA at Dartmouth and MBA at Columbia University.

Keith Caldwell

Keith Caldwell, Operating Partner

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. In his time with the firm, he was responsible for the management of over $3B in invested capital and over $8B in total asset value. Keith earned his MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management and holds a BS in Chemistry from UCSD.

Prateek Lal

Prateek Lal, Partner & Head of Packaging

Prateek is CEO of Adept Packaging, a global consultancy with more than 100 engineers in North America and Europe who focus on packaging innovation, cost engineering and digital technologies, including sustainability and IoT/connected packaging. Adept engineers are resident at Factory, where they merge consumer insight and advanced technology to provide our brand partners with leading edge packaging solutions.  Prateek has a BS in Packaging from Michigan State University.

Donna Sledzik-Pereira

Donna Sledzik-Pereira, Director of Office Operations

Donna has worked in consumer brands with Rich Thompson for over 17 years, first as Executive Assistant at Meow Mix, then as Senior Executive Assistant at Freshpet, and now as Director of Office Operations at Factory and Chief Executive Assistant. In addition, Donna oversees and manages the day-to-day activities of the company.

Marla Hyndman

Marla Hyndman, Head of Finance

Marla is a CPA and financial executive with over 25 years of experience in financial accounting and reporting, budgeting and planning, and treasury. Most recently, she was Senior Vice President and Controller for the U.S. division of The Hain Celestial Group, where her responsibilities included integrating the back office functions of acquired businesses. Marla is a strong leader and problem solver with deep operational, financial and managerial experience in the food industry. She is a CPA with a BA in Accounting from Binghamton University.

Laura Kuykendall

Laura Kuykendall, Head of Marketing

Laura has more than 25 years of CPG leadership experience, managing large CPG portfolios and early stage brands. Companies that have benefitted from her marketing expertise include Shady Brook Farms, Champion, Snyder’s of Hanover, Annie’s Homegrown, Applegate Farms and Boulder Brands, where she led the gluten-free portfolio: Glutino, Udi’s and Evol. Laura is passionate about applying her knowledge of brand strategy and product innovation to health and wellness brands.  She holds a BA in Communication and an MBA from James Madison University.

Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson, Head of Business Development

Mike has spent 40+ years in the grocery industry, the past 30 years on the sales and marketing agency side. He spent the last 16 years with Acosta/NS Sales, where he achieved 11 acquisitions and established NS Sales as the leading agency in the natural products industry. Mike retired as President of NS Sales in May and now heads business development at Factory, identifying   prospective brand partners and helping portfolio companies develop and execute growth strategies.  Mike divides his time between Bethlehem and Castle Rock, CO.

John Buckley

John Buckley, Head of Sales

John has more than 25 years of experience in CPG, including positions with brokers, manufacturers and private equity. Over the past 12 years, he has played a key sales management role in four successful corporate carve-outs: Meow Mix Company, Sun Country Foods, Back to Nature and, most recently, Lightlife Foods, where John was VP of Sales. Each of these ventures entailed turning multi-year stagnation into double-digit top and bottom line growth, which led to high-return exits to strategic buyers. John has a BS in Marketing from Providence College.

Pat McCarthy

Pat McCarthy, Head of Product Development & Sourcing

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 the development of thousands of new products, including over 800 items for the re-launch of Wild Oats Organic, which went from inception to $100M in 18 months. Pat earned his MBA at Western International University.

Richard Milker

Richard Milker, Head of Commercialization and Technology

A specialist in confectionary and snacking brands, Rich has three decades of experience in R&D, packaging, quality control and project management. He helped develop, grow and lead brands, people, teams and technologies for Mars, Kelloggs and, most recently Just Born. Rich has a BA in Food Science and Technology from Iowa State University.

Mike Palmer

Mike Palmer, Director of Operations

Mike has 30+ years of experience in operations and manufacturing management, 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. Mike earned his MBA at DeSalesUniversity.

Kevin Pond

Kevin Pond, VP of Sales

Kevin has 20 years of CPG experience working in retail, brokerage and sales. His gained a broad perspective on retail from managing both stores and categories during 13 years with Albertsons,where he became responsible for over $1B annual sales and $400M earnings. In 2013, Kevin joined Acosta Sales & Marketing, where he rose to SVP of the Natural/Specialty division, leading a 52 person team that managed the retail business of over 200 natural and organic manufacturers.

Linsey Herman

Linsey Herman, Vice President of Product Development

Linsey has 12 years’ experience working in innovation and new product development for food companies, with a focus on the natural, organic and free-from spaces. Specializing in idea-to-shelf product development, with expertise in nutrition and formulation, she has helped bring over 300 new products to market in retail and foodservice. A chef by training, she puts a culinary spin on nutritional formulation. Linsey is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute, earned her BA from Harvard, and holds an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Leland Carter

Leland Carter, Director of Acquisitions

Leland has 10 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 has completed transactions in food and beverage, restaurants and e-Commerce. Leland has a BA from USC and earned his MBA at Columbia University.

Tara Jane Ortiz

Tara Jane Ortiz, Director of Entrepreneurial Engagement

Tara has 15 years’ experience working in research and business development for start-ups and strategic partnerships in beauty, lifestyle, luxury goods and wellness categories. With a focus on creating communities, Tara designed and organized the first social impact pitch competition for female entrepreneurs in New York City.

William Negron

William Negron, Director of Logistics and Transportation

Will has nine years of experience in logistics supervision, analysis and transportation planning.  Most recently, he managed logistics operations for Just Born, a 95-year-old family-owned candy company whose portfolio includes Mike and Ike® and Peeps®.  Will managed logistics from customer order processing through final delivery, was responsible for inventory controls and material accuracy, and achieved cost efficiencies across the distribution process.  Will earned a B.S. in Business Administration Management from Bloomsburg University and graduated from the Supply Chain Management Certificate Program at Lehigh University.

Christopher Mikovich

Christopher Mikovich, Kitchen Manager

Chris has been cooking professionally for ten years.  His experience includes being lead line chef in several high-volume restaurants, assistant banquet manager at a nationally-known country club, executive chef at a private retreat center, and head chef at a Lehigh University fraternity.  At Factory, Chris will manage our million-dollar industrial kitchen, assisting with product and recipe development for the food companies in our portfolio, and keeping our team, partners and visitors well-fed and happy, a responsibility that will be helped by his degree in Industrial Psychology from Penn State University.

Cory Treadway

Cory Treadway, Executive Administrative Assistant

Cory is Factory’s Swiss Army Knife, doing whatever it takes to keep the office running smoothly and providing administrative support to the team.  Previously, she was Executive Assistant to the Editor-in-Chief of Prevention Magazine at Rodale Press.

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Donna Pereira