Operating Partner

Tom First

[email protected]

I spend my time at Stride working alongside our partner companies and searching for the next great food and beverage brand. 

I joined Stride Consumer as a founding member in 2019. As an operating partner, I’m able to share my experiences in the industry to help founders develop their brands and teams, and build their companies.

Prior to working with our entrepreneurs and investors, I was one of the two founders of Nantucket Nectars, which my partner and I grew for fourteen years and ultimately sold to Cadbury Schweppes in 2002. After being involved with several other food and beverage start-ups as a founder, investor, and board member, I became the Managing Partner at First Beverage Ventures where I helped to raise the first fund and made five investments in beverage companies. While at First Beverage, we co-invested in Essentia Water with Castanea Partners, and I learned about the team, and their incredible work with brands and partners.  Prior to Stride, I was an operating partner at Castanea in a similar role which is where I met the Stride founding team.

I have great passion for the food and beverage industry. The industry is dynamic, and current founders and innovators are driving incredible change in the way we think about what we eat and drink. I’ve had the privilege of working with great brands like Nantucket Nectars, O Water, Health-Ade Kombucha, and Sweet Leaf Tea. I have had the pleasure to work with Yasso, Brew Dr. Kombucha, Essentia Water, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, and The Bruery.

I earned a BA in American History at Brown University and thankfully received a passing grade in the Business School of Hard Knocks. I grew up in the Boston area and now live in Concord, MA, with my wife, three kids, and two Portuguese water dogs.

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