NYC Consumer Goods Summit - Multiple Panels
- Cannabis Panel: Emerging Landscape of Regulated Cannabis & Hemp Consumer Products
- PE Panel: What’s for Sale, What’s On Sale and Who’s Buying in the 2020 Consumer and Retail M&A Market
- IB Panel: Perspectives on the State of the Consumer Deal Market
- Executive Panel: Building a Brand and Attracting Customers Without Breaking the Bank
1:00 PM – 1:30 PM: Registration
1:30 PM – 2:20 PM: Cannabis in Consumer Goods Panel
2:30 PM – 3:20 PM: PE Panel
3:30 PM – 3:45 PM: Short Break
3:50 PM – 4:40 PM: IB Panel
4:50 PM – 5:40 PM: Executive Panel
5:40 PM – 7:00 PM: Cocktail Reception
Cannabis Panel: Emerging Landscape of Regulated Cannabis & Hemp Consumer Products
As the cannabis and hemp industries become legalized in different states across the country a variety of niche consumer products are coming to market while at the same time established consumer package goods companies are beginning to develop products for the broader consumer base. This panel will explore which large and small consumer segments are likely to be successful on a long-term basis, where investment capital is flowing into the cannabis related consumer space and how larger established consumer packaged goods companies are beginning to develop products containing cannabis and hemp derivatives.
Nate Whigham, President at EN Capital
Jeffrey Friedland, CEO at FC Global Strategies LLC
Alec Burkin, Director at Abacus Health Products, Inc.
Laura Eisman, Co-founder at Her Highness
PE Panel: What’s for Sale, What’s On Sale and Who’s Buying in the 2020 Consumer and Retail M&A Market
The changing American consumer is creating uncertainty in the M&A market. As the buying power of millennials increases, consumers spent more in 2019 on the digitally advanced, the ethically sourced and the wellness-inducing. Despite a robust first half of 2019, though, M&A dipped in the third quarter and continued to trend downward in both volume and value. Financial investors in the consumer and retail space will continue to be challenged to separate fads from meaningful market trends, while navigating competitive transactions and international supply chain concerns. In this conversation, we will explore which sectors private equity investors feel can withstand an economic decline, their risk tolerance for products manufactured in China, and emerging trends that will dominate the 2020 M&A market and beyond.
Brian Francese, Partner at Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP
Michael G. Knapp, Associate Director at Levine Leichtman Capital Partners
Sarah Foley, Partner at SWAT Equity Partners
Zack Vertsman, Vice President at TZP Group
Katie Storer, Vice President at The Carlyle Group
IB Panel: Perspectives on the State of the Consumer Deal Market
The deal market in Consumer Goods is in a state of upheaval as a number of external forces are reshaping the way consumer goods companies do business. The most important challenges include the increasing power of Amazon as a distribution channel, the decline of the department store channel, the desire of consumers to buy products whenever and wherever they want, and the impact of China tariffs on company cost structures. At the same time, these challenges present opportunities for emerging and digitally native brands who can now come to market with much lower barriers to entry than legacy brands in the past. Join us for a conversation with some of the leading Middle-Market Consumer Investment Bankers, as we explore how these forces and others are affecting the ability of consumer goods companies to raise capital in the coming year.
Richard Baum, Managing Partner at Consumer Growth Partners
Richard Kestenbaum, Co-founder & Partner at Triangle Capital, LLC.
Mary Ann Domuracki, Managing Director at MMG Advisors, Inc.
William Susman, Managing Director at Threadstone Advisors
Billy Busko, Managing Director at Consensus Advisors
Executive Panel: Building a Brand and Attracting Customers Without Breaking the Bank
Large corporations have multi-billion dollar marketing budgets and teams of brand managers and analysts; lower middle market companies do not. So, how can a smaller consumer business compete for customers and build a brand when it’s up against the industry’s biggest players?
- What are some the most cost-effective forms of advertising in today’s market?
- How do executives measure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns? What has worked, and what hasn’t worked?
- How do larger companies compete with their nimble upstart competitors?
Hear from executives about how they are building consumer awareness for their products, without the benefit of a $100M ad budget.
Chris Sheeren, Partner at Longhouse Partners, LLC.
Chris Hamer, Founder at CrowdFlik, Inc.
Justin Cupps, SVP of North America Wholesale at Under Armour
Jim DeCicco, Oldest Brother and CEO of Kitu Life, Inc
- Opus Connect Members: No Charge
- Non-Members (On or before January 17th): $395
- Non-Members (On or after January 18th): $495
By Invitation Only
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New York, New York, 10036
This event starts on Wednesday January 22nd at 1:00 PM EST.
Brian is an audit partner within Baker Tilly’s commercial audit
practice who brings more than 13 years of public accounting
experience with a specific focus serving privately owned
domestic and multinational companies. Brian’s clients have
come to rely on his practical business guidance and assistance
in meeting their objectives while considering him a valued
With Brian’s experiences he is able to bring a practical audit
approach to all of his clients. His extensive national office
experience, as outlined below, results in audit approaches that
are concise, efficient and do not exceed that of which is
required by the underlying audit standards. Further, when
coupled with Brian’s vast industry knowledge Brian’s audit
approaches focus on entity specific risks that truly matter to
that entities stakeholders and ownership (e.g., family-owned
vs. private equity-owned vs. publicly traded).
Chris has over 25 years of business experience in M&A, turnaround consulting, public accounting, and sales. He has worked with Huron Capital, Conway McKenzie, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Revlon. He has a B.A. in English and Speech Communications from the University of Nebraska, and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan, and is a former CPA.
Nathan Whigham is the Founder and President of EN Capital. Since founding EN Capital in 2017 he has closed numerous cannabis real estate deals and has developed an extensive network of cannabis friendly capital sources. Nathan has been placing debt and equity across all types of commercial real estate since 2006 and has been involved in the origination of over $800M of commercial real estate finance. Prior to founding EN Capital he was the Senior Director of Business Development for CleanFund Commercial PACE Capital for Southern California. Before his tenure as a commercial PACE lender he was Senior Vice President at Nebo Capital, a boutique commercial real estate capital advisory firm. Nathan has also developed over six megawatts of large commercial renewable energy projects and has been involved in a variety of entrepreneurial ventures. He holds an MBA from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California and a BS in Systems Engineering from the University of Arizona.
Richard Baum is the Managing Partner of Consumer Growth Partners (CGP), a private equity investment and advisory firm with an exclusive focus on middle-market specialty retail and non-perishable branded consumer products companies.
Prior to co-founding CGP in 2005, Mr. Baum spent more than fifteen years as a sell-side equity research analyst at Sanford Bernstein, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse where he was consistently ranked among the industry leaders in the annual Institutional Investor and Greenwich Associates polls. Previously, Mr. Baum spent six years in the merchandising organization at Bloomingdale’s. He began his career as a strategy consultant with The Boston Consulting Group.
Mr. Baum currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Harris Originals, Inc. and as a Board Director for Vera Bradley, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRA) and Factory Connection, Inc. He is also a Vice President and Board Member of the NFP Retail Marketing Society. Mr. Baum earned a BA degree in Economics from the University of Michigan where he graduated magna cum laude with Phi Beta Kappa honors and a JD degree from Harvard Law School.
Mr. Baum lives in Westchester County, NY with his wife Robin. He is the proud father of two young men, Zachary a corporate attorney in Washington, DC and Ross a musical theatre composer and vocal coach in New York City.
Alec Burkin is the Director of Business Development at Abacus Health Products, Inc. As the second employee of Abacus, he built the organizational infrastructure of the now publicly traded company (OTCQX: ABAHF). Alec manages the Abacus Tel Aviv office and received his MBA from Tel Aviv University.
Mr. Busko joined Consensus in 2009 as Managing Director and oversees the New York office. Mr. Busko has been focused on the Retail and Consumer Products industry for more than 15 years. He has extensive experience across corporate divestitures, private and public company sales, acquisitions and general advisory mandates, including fairness opinions and stock repurchase programs.
Prior to joining Consensus, Mr. Busko was a Managing Director of Financo, Inc. and also served as President of Financo Securities LLC. Previously, Mr. Busko worked as a Principal within the Mergers and Acquisitions Group of Banc of America Securities and served Banc One Capital Partners within the Corporate Finance and Merchant Banking Groups.
Mr. Busko holds an M.B.A from the University of North Carolina and a B.S. in Business Administration from Wake Forest University. He is FINRA Series 7, 24, 63 and 79 certified.
Chris Hamer is the founder and CEO of CrowdFlik. He has over 30 years of industry experience having held senior management roles in marketing, advertising, entertainment and media working with companies ranging from Fortune 50 to start-up.
After leading online marketing at priceline.com Chris joined General Motor’s OnStar as Marketing Director in 2001, where he led the company’s repositioning efforts to bring the focus to its core value of ‘safety and security’. Chris led the development and launch of the highly successful and still running ‘Real Stories’ campaign featuring actual recordings from in-car events to bring the OnStar experience to life. Launched in late 2002, this campaign continues to drive product awareness and consideration to new highs and continues to win awards for effectiveness and creativity.
With the OnStar success at General Motors, Chris was appointed Marketing Director at Cadillac in 2003. As Marketing Director, Hamer spearheaded the $250 million ‘BreakThrough’ marketing campaign that made Cadillac relevant to an entirely new generation of luxury customers. Hamer led all aspects of Cadillac marketing efforts including media partnerships, Film and Music integration and dealer group programs.
Hamer then was appointed SVP Strategic Marketing at SONY/BMG Music where he was responsible for strategic partnerships for all of the label artists and catalogue.
In 2012 Hamer founded CrowdFlik to revolutionize mobile video by making it easy to synchronize, organize and re-stitch shared mobile video into new edits. In 2019, with 13 issued patents and significant market accolades CrowdFlik moved to an enterprise model and is currently in acquisition talks with several major strategic players.
Chris has been an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Connecticut’s Fairfield University since 2013 and very involved in the state’s start-up community.
Hamer studied engineering at Lehigh University, holds a B.B.A. Marketing and Finance from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from The State University of New York at Albany. He resides in Westport, CT with his wife Cyd Hamer and their four children.
Jeffrey Friedland is the CEO of US-based FC Global Strategies LLC.
Jeffrey Friedland has been the chief executive officer and a director of a NASDAQ listed financial services company, a director of a New York Stock Exchange-listed mining company, and the chairman of the supervisory board of a Hong Kong-based retailer with a primary stock market listing on the European Union Regulated Market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
Mr. Friedland was an owner of two retail cannabis stores and a grow facility in Colorado, a founder and CEO of a publicly-traded cannabinoid research company, a founder of Israel Plant Sciences, an Israel-based company focused on plant breeding and genetics, a founder of Canada-based Phyto Brands, a manufacturer and marketer of CBD products, and an early investor in three Canadian cannabis licensed producers.
He has been featured or quoted in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the New York Times, Bloomberg Television, USA Today, Verslo Zinios (Lithuania), Vercernji (Croatia), International Business Times, the South China Morning Post, the Guam Daily Post, the Forward, the Jewish Week, Quartz, the Jakarta Globe, Israel Daily Television, Breitbart, NBC.com and Forbes.
Mr. Friedland has been a speaker or panelist at conferences and events throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
Mr. Friedland is the author of Marijuana: The World's Most Misunderstood Plant. (Both books are available in print and Kindle editions at Amazon.)
Through FC Global Strategies LLC and an affiliate, Phyto Intel LLC, Mr. Friedland’s activities include assisting Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies who want to add hemp seeds, hemp seed oil, or CBD to their food, beverage, nutritional supplements or cosmetic products.
Jim DeCicco is the Oldest Brother and CEO of Kitu Life, Inc., makers of Super Coffee. Jim and his two younger brothers, Jake and Jordan, launched Super Coffee—a line of zero sugar bottled coffees enhanced with protein and healthy fats—in January of 2016. Today, Kitu Life is based in NYC with 75 Full Time Employees across the country. The company has raised more than $25 million in growth capital since its inception, and sold more than $30 million of Super Coffee in 2019.
A business and brand management executive with over 22 years of experience in scaling new ventures and repositioning / restructuring highly distressed global brands, Justin Cupps is currently the Senior Vice President of NA Wholesale for Under Armour. While leading a 175+ person team, Justin is responsible for nearly $3.5+ billion retail portfolio which includes all traditional Retail partners, Team Sales, Liquidation ad Account Services & Operations.
A graduate of The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania, Justin began his career in the retail / consumer products industry in 1997 at a small start-up basketball brand named AND 1 Basketball. As the 25th employee, Justin helped grow the brand in just 5 short years from a fledgling $25M retail t-shirt brand only sold in the US, to an over $225M global apparel, footwear and entertainment brand sold in over 100 countries worldwide. By 2002, AND 1 had ascended to the #2 basketball brand in the US. During his 9 year tenure, Justin held a multitude of management positions, including Vice President of US Sales, Director of Product Marketing for Footwear and Vice President of International Sales.
Since departing AND 1 in 2006 after a successful sale, Justin has held numerous leadership roles over the last 13 years — first, as Vice President of Consulting at Kanter International, a small boutique consulting firm focused in the consumer products sector where his primary focus was on providing business and brand building expertise to early stage and established brands; then at adidas North America as the Vice President / Managing Director for the US Mall Channel -- a $500M retail channel and the largest in the US for the legendary brand – where he led his team and business to record breaking results in 2010 and 2011; in 2013, fulfilling a desire to return to his entrepreneurial roots, Justin left adidas to become the President / CEO of Coolcore, a private equity funded start-up venture focused on material innovations in the cooling technology and apparel space; and lastly, prior to joining Under Armour, he led GANT North America as President for 3 years with full responsibilities of repositioning and rebuilding the 70-year old heritage sportswear brand to its once proud financial and market share levels.
Justin currently resides in Rumson, NJ with his wife, Stephanie, and their three (3) young children — Miles (13), Elle (11) and Chase (8).
Katie Harris Storer joined Carlyle in 2016 and is a Vice President focused on U.S. buyout investment opportunities in the Consumer, Media & Retail sectors.
Prior to joining Carlyle, Katie was an Associate at Wellspring Capital Management, a middle-market private equity firm in New York. Previously, Katie worked at Deutsche Bank, where she focused on the consumer and retail sectors.
Katie received an M.B.A from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in business administration from Washington & Lee University.
Laura Eisman is co-founder of Her Highness NYC, a cannabis lifestyle brand focused uniquely on women. Her Highness reimagines cannabis with female-friendly formulas and high-end design to create products in sync with the way women live. Launched in California with a coveted collection of THC products, Her Highness simultaneously offers its suite of Hemp-CBD products nationally, making the line accessible to all women, and positioning the brand as a trusted girlfriend in cannabis.
Laura is an award-winning creative director and several-time entrepreneur, best known for founding Girlshop.com, fashion’s pioneer e-commerce site, in 1998. Purveyor of over 200 cutting-edge designers, with a flagship store in NYC’s Meatpacking District, Girlshop became the premier destination and authority for trend-making style at a time when investors couldn’t believe people would actually buy clothing on the Internet. The brand’s cool, relatable viewpoint and girlfriend tone spawned branded shopping tours, a personal shopping service and a book entitled “The Girlshop Guide to NYC Shopping.”
Laura has been written about in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Ad Age, Entrepreneur and People among other publications, and cited as one of 50 New Yorkers to watch. She has worked on the startups of several magazines, such as Marie Claire and Family Life, served as Creative Director at iVillage and Creative Consultant at AOL, where she re-launched StyleList.com to fame. Laura specializes in brand development, trend forecasting, visual and textual content, public relations and marketing to women.
Mary Ann Domuracki, a Managing Director at MMG Advisors, Inc., brings strategic consulting and transaction advisory experience to a broad range of international clients in the consumer and retail sectors. Her experience includes mergers and acquisitions, including cross border transactions and special situations, capital raising and strategic planning.
During her career, Ms. Domuracki also had operational and management roles including positions as President of Danskin, Inc. and EVP of Kasper A.S.L. as well as advisory experience with Financo and Ernst and Young.
Ms. Domuracki’s past client experience includes Wacoal’s acquisition of Lively and Eveden, Shanghai Shenda’s Acquisition of Perfect Fit (won the 8th M&A International Corporate & Strategic Acquisition of the Year ), sale of Camuto Group to Designer Brands & Authentic Brands Group, Big Buddha’s sale to Steve Madden, Kasper’s acquisition of Anne Klein, Tumi’s capital raise and Li & Fung’s acquisition of Oxford’s women’s business. Over 50 clients with $5 billion of transaction value.
Ms. Domuracki is on the Advisory Board for LIM College, the TMA and it’s Committee to judge annual TMA award winners and a member of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. She is a frequent speaker including ACG’s forum on M&A and the Debtwire Debt Forum. Mary Ann was named to as a 2020 Most Influential Women in Mid-market M&A.
Ms. Domuracki has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Pennsylvania State University with a concentration in accounting.
Mr. Knapp joined Levine Leichtman Capital Partners in 2016. He is a dedicated member of the Firm’s Structured Equity investment team, focused on originations and due diligence activities. Mr. Knapp is based in LLCP’s Chicago office.
Prior to joining LLCP, Mr. Knapp was an investment professional at LaSalle Capital, a Chicago-based middle-market private equity firm. Previously, he was an investment banker at Macquarie Capital in New York, where he executed various M&A, equity and leveraged finance transactions.
Mr. Knapp has an MBA with Honors from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BS in Business Administration with High Honors from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Bloomington.
Richard is a co-founder and Partner of Triangle Capital and has been an investment banker for over 35 years. Richard has a great deal of experience advising clients in merchandising businesses, particularly in the Retail & Consumer sector. Richard is an often-quoted expert on the retail and merchandising industries. He is a Contributor to Forbes.com where he writes a regular blog about trends in retail and consumer product businesses. He also appears regularly in print and other media as well as industry panels and speaking programs.
Before co-founding Triangle, Richard was a Managing Director at a boutique investment banking firm called Financo, Inc. While at Financo, Richard was responsible for a majority of the firm’s apparel industry transactions. Prior to joining Financo, Richard was a Partner and First Vice President at Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. At Drexel, Richard was responsible for a group of 14 professionals doing middle-market mergers and acquisitions around the world.
Richard is the co-author of three books on finance and computer programming. He is formerly an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International Business at the graduate program of the Stern School of Business at New York University. Richard received a BS in Accounting from New York University and an MBA with a concentration in Finance from Harvard University. Richard is married and lives in New York.
Sarah Foley is partner at SWAT Equity Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm focused exclusively on consumer-branded products and services. SWAT Equity invests at the Seed to Series A stage of development and has accumulated 17 portfolio companies since inception in 2017. Ms. Foley and her two other partners bring a combination of significant investment, financial, and strategic experience as well as extensive branding and marketing expertise to our portfolio companies. Sectors of focus for the fund include food and beverage, health and beauty, household products, apparel, retailers (both traditional and e-commerce), restaurants, travel, recreation and consumer tech.
Ms. Foley is a senior finance and operating professional with 20 years of experience investing in angel- to leveraged buyout-stage companies across a variety of industries. She has held corporate executive, investment and board of director positions assisting companies through growth to turnaround stages of development.
Ms. Foley spent over two years as CFO of Eleni’s NYC Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of hand-iced and conventional crisp cookies sold through four channels of distribution, including wholesale, e-commerce, retail and call center. In this role, she led several key initiatives including oversight of finance and HR departments, development of a five year strategic plan, development of a new e-commerce platform and oversight of the company’s wholesale efforts.
Prior to joining Eleni’s NYC Inc., Ms. Foley was a Director and Co-Head of Acquisitions for a nascent North American infrastructure fund at Deutsche Bank Asset Management. Prior to Deutsche Bank, Ms. Foley was a Principal at Chartwell Investments, a middle-market private equity fund where she was responsible for originating, executing and monitoring portfolio investments. While at Chartwell Investments, she executed approximately $500 million of equity transactions across consumer products, consumer services and industrial manufacturing industries.
Ms. Foley is serving, or served, as a member of multiple boards of directors for various private companies.
Ms. Foley began her career in Morgan Stanley’s Mergers & Acquisitions department and at Greenhill & Co. She graduated from Northwestern University with a dual BA degree with honors in Mathematical Methods in Social Sciences and Economics.
Billy Susman has worked at Salomon Brothers, Merrill Lynch and most recently served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Financo since 2004. Prior to Threadstone Partners, Billy has provided clients with advice on various strategic issues. Billy received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Michigan and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School at Northwestern. Over nearly 25 years of advising clients, Mr. Susman has completed transactions for Collective Brands, Jones, Kellwood, Li & Fung, Nike, Nordstrom’s, Pacific Sunwear, Spencer’s Holdings and Wolverine. Additionally, he has maintained deep relationships with key industry private equity clients including Angelo Gordon, Apax, Apollo, Goode Partners, Gordon Brothers, Irving Place Capital, LNK Partners, Sun Capital, and Texas Pacific Group.
Zack Vertsman is a Vice President at TZP Group, a lower middle-market focused private equity firm managing over $1.6 billion of committed capital. Mr. Vertsman joined TZP in May 2013 and is responsible for sourcing investments, conducting due diligence, structuring transactions, and monitoring portfolio companies. Prior to TZP, he was an investment banking analyst at Stifel, in the Communications and Media group, where he focused on providing M&A and capital raising advisory services.
Mr. Vertsman is involved with numerous TZP portfolio companies, including: Triangle Home Fashions (designer, marketer, and distributor of branded and private label home décor products), Pyramid Hotel Group (full-service hospitality management company) and Kingsbridge (lessor of essential-use technology, healthcare, and industrial equipment). He was previously on the board of The Living Company (asset-light FF&E logistics platform serving the student housing and hospitality markets) which TZP exited in October 2019.
Zack Vertsman received his B.S. and B.A. summa cum laude in Finance and Economics from the University of Maryland.