Investing, but make it human
Meet the Team
Our team of investors, marketing leaders, and operations experts know how to take a great brand and make it an iconic one.
Co-Founder & Managing Partner
Co-Founder & Managing Partner
Heather Smith Thorne
Tenacity is our middle name.
Tenacity is our middle name.
We're not the
We're not the suit-wearing types.
Chief Brand Architect
VP, eCommerce & Digital
Chief of Staff
Director of Brand Awareness & Engagement
Think of us as a best-in-class
Think of us as a best-in-class creative resource.
Chief Financial Officer
Head of Investor Relations
Dare to be better
Dare to be better than yesterday.
Brett Thomas is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of CAVU Consumer Partners. Prior to co-founding CAVU in 2015, Brett was the founder of Thematic Capital Partners, a private investment vehicle focused on private/public equity investments in the consumer sector. Before entering into the consumer investing space, Brett worked at Scout Capital Management for 5 years, a long-short hedge fund focusing on special situations with over $9B in AUM based in NYC. He is a graduate of Boston College, with a concentration in Finance, and was a Division I Student Athlete. In 2017, Brett was elected to Boston College's prestigious "40 under 40 list" and was named a “Consumer Catalyst” by Forbes as one of the top dealmakers and influencers in the consumer space. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his 3 kids and wife and rooting for all professional Cleveland sports teams, hoping one day to see the Cleveland Indians win a World Series!LinkedIn
Rohan's strong track record and consistent success has enabled him to identify key trends and leverage those insights to build iconic brands. In 2002, Oza left The Coca -Cola Company to join Glaceau. There, as partner and CMO, he built the powerhouse brands Vitaminwater and Smartwater via innovative marketing and creative partnerships with 50 Cent, Jennifer Aniston, Kobe Bryant, and Tom Brady. These partnerships changed the entire landscape of entertainment marketing. Oza's career came full circle when Coke purchased Glaceau for $4.1B in 2007, and appointed him Chief Marketing Officer across all still Coke brands. Some of his latest ventures include Popchips, Vita Coco, Bai, and Flywheel. Rohan was named to the "40 Under 40" list by Crain's in 2007 and by Sports Business Journal in 2008 & 2009. He was also honored with the "Marketing 50" award by Ad Age in 2009. Oza was a recurring Guest Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank for 3 seasons from 2017-2020.LinkedIn
Heather Smith Thorne
Heather Smith Thorne is a Partner at CAVU Consumer Partners. Prior to joining CAVU in 2022, Heather was a Partner with TPG Growth and The Rise Fund, where she led all Consumer investing and portfolio management efforts. Before joining TPG, Heather was a Managing Director and Partner at Swander Pace Capital, a middle-market-focused consumer private equity fund. Heather began her private equity career at Thoma Bravo. Over the years, Heather has invested in and provided strategic support as a Board member for consumer companies across a number of sectors, including SmartSweets, Ideal Image, Crunch Fitness, Voortman Cookies, ReNew Life, and J.R. Watkins, among others. Heather holds a B.A. from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from The Kellogg School at Northwestern University, where she was an Austin Scholar.LinkedIn
Jenna Jackson is a Principal at CAVU focusing on growth in the beauty and wellness categories. Prior to joining CAVU, Jenna was Managing Director of Branded Consumer at Imperial Capital where she focused on growth initiatives for the firm. Earlier in her career, Jenna worked in merchandising for Gap Inc and wantful.com, founded her own luxury handbag brand. She also led a series of events called #mindthefundinggap, a place for underserved female founders and funders connect in order to transform the consumer landscape. Jenna earned a B.A. in English from University of California, Berkeley where she was a 4-year letter winner on the Women's Volleyball team.LinkedIn
Jared is extremely passionate about investing and building the next generation of iconic consumer brands. Prior to joining CAVU, Jared was an associate in the consumer and retail group at AEA Investors, a private equity firm based in NYC. He also worked as a consultant for early stage food and beverage brands. Before entering the consumer investing space, Jared was an investment banking analyst in the Mergers and Acquisitions group at Morgan Stanley. He graduated with high distinction from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business where he earned a BBA and was named a James B . Angell Scholar.LinkedIn
Prior to joining CAVU, Brandon was an Investment Banking Associate at Goldman Sachs, where he worked with prominent brands across the consumer space. He started his career as an Investment Banking Analyst in the Consumer group at Piper Sandler. Brandon earned a B.A. in Finance from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington.LinkedIn
Prior to joining CAVU, Mary was at Vita Coco working as a part of the Commercial Finance & Strategy team focusing on a range of finance and operating roles. She started her career as an Investment Banking Analyst in the Consumer group at Rothschild & Co. Mary earned a B.A. in Finance from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.LinkedIn
Prior to joining CAVU, Charlotte was an Investment Banking Associate in the Consumer Group at Jefferies, where she focused on transactions in the Beauty & Personal Care space. She began her career as an Investment Banking Analyst in Jefferies’ Global Industrials Group. Charlotte earned a B.A. in Economics from Vanderbilt University.LinkedIn
Stevie has close to two decades of experience in the marketing, branding and design world. She is passionate about helping fresh, young brands reach their full potential, and throughout her career, has worked with some of the most disruptive emerging brands in the CPG space. Stevie's speciality is the sizzle: all things brand, creative strategy, celebrity, influencer and PR. All which are rooted in a deep expertise of consumer-based lifestyle marketing. Prior to joining CAVU, Stevie spent 5+ years at Idea Merchants Capital working directly under Founder and Principal Rohan Oza. She began her career at Creative Artist Agency (CAA) and graduated with honors from Indiana University Bloomington with a B.S. in Marketing and International Business from the Kelley School of Business. Stevie is an avid lover of her dog Olive, all things Bravo TV and Pinkberry with dark chocolate crisps (on the side).LinkedIn
Dain is a multidisciplinary designer and creative director who has spent the last 10+ years in NYC and LA building and collaborating with some of the most catalyzing brands out there. With a broad range of experience—from trend-setting beauty companies to humanizing healthcare—he places high value on strategy, the beauty in the details, and cross-platform systems-thinking. His past collaborations include Glossier, Ritual, Seed, MAC Cosmetics, New York Times, sweetgreen, Our Place, among others. In his off hours, you can find Dain chasing his unruly hounds in the mountains of Montana, or trying to lull his equally rambunctious newborn to sleep.LinkedIn
John is a recognized industry leader on the topic of Amazon, eCommerce & Digital Marketing who has been quoted by The New York Times, Forrester Research and the Association of National Advertisers for his innovative approach to helping brands excel online. He frequently speaks at Amazon Vendor Conferences and to internal Amazon teams on how upstart CPG brands are leveraging the platform to drive hyper-growth. John is also a MasterClass Teacher for Ascential’s Amazon Hackathon Conferences in NYC and Seattle, and currently has an Amazon Advertising MasterClass video series with Clickz/Search Engine Watch. Prior to CAVU, John was VP of eCommerce & Media at Bai, where over four years he built the brand on Amazon from a tiny niche product to the number 1 selling beverage on the platform, ahead of Coke and Pepsi.LinkedIn
Krisa is based in the LA office and is the new VP Talent for CAVU, helping us to recruit the best and brightest consumer talent to our portfolio companies. Krisa joins us from Korn Ferry where she spent nine years as a member of the firm’s Consumer practice, recruiting senior executives for clients ranging from large CPG companies to high-growth equity-backed businesses. Krisa began her career in Private Banking at Merrill Lynch and later worked in consulting at BCG before joining Korn Ferry. She earned her undergraduate degree from USC and her MBA from Wharton. The addition of Krisa to our team continues our focus on providing value-add resources to help our brands drive sustainable growth.LinkedIn
Molly Paradies is CAVU’s Chief of Staff. Before joining CAVU, Molly was a consultant at Bain & Company where she helped clients across industries design and execute strategic initiatives and performed due diligence for private equity firms. Molly earned a B.A. in Economics from Middlebury College and was a member of the Women’s Tennis Team.LinkedIn
Shannon Race brings 5+ years of experience building best-in-class influencer marketing programs for one of the most socially relevant, influencer-driven brands on the market. Shannon built the Vital Proteins Influencer Program from the ground up as employee #10. During her time at Vital Proteins, she set the program strategy and key objectives and hired a team of influencer marketers who carried that strategy through to incredible success. For the duration of her tenure, she led all PR efforts for the brand, including leading up to their successful exit to Nestle Health Science in 2020. Prior to Vital Proteins, Shannon spent 3+ years at Skirt PR where she worked across national brands in several categories, including health & wellness, beauty, fitness and apparel.LinkedIn
Kylie Frankowski, UNCOMMON’s highly-motivated Project Coordinator, is responsible for supporting the team on both internal and external creative projects. Before joining CAVU, Kylie graduated from the Villanova School of Business with a dual major in Marketing & Business Analytics. While attending college, she worked as a project coordinator for Villanova’s Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship Institute as well as a Marketing and Analytics Intern for Digital Firefly Marketing. Bringing that same drive to CAVU, Kylie’s team-oriented spirit and commitment to excellence make her a perfect match for our firm.LinkedIn
Bella has over 15 years of experience in the alternative investments industry. Prior to joining CAVU, Bella served as CFO/CCO of Cascabel Management in New York, a global long-short hedge fund she joined at launch in 2008, where she built an institutional-grade operating platform. She was also Controller at Scout Capital Management LLC, responsible for financial reporting and operations of global investment funds and separately managed accounts with over $2 billion in assets under management. Bella was Assistant Controller at the Rohatyn Group (TRG Management LP), handling accounting and tax reporting for an emerging market global macro fund and affiliated entities, and served as Senior Accountant at the Carlyle High Yield Group in New York, responsible for financial reporting and compliance of cash flow CDO vehicles with over $1.5 billion in assets. Bella began her career at Zimmer Lucas Capital, LLC in New York in 1999, where she assisted the CFO with operations and reporting for three long‐short equity funds while also attending college full‐time. She received a BBA in Accountancy from Baruch College.LinkedIn
Gladys Lee is the Head of Investor Relations at CAVU. Prior to joining CAVU in 2022, Gladys was a Senior Vice President on the Capital Formation Team at Cerberus Capital Management, where she focused on capital raising for the Cerberus platform strategies and developing institutional investor relationships across North America. Before joining Cerberus, Gladys was a Senior Associate within the Corporate Finance group at Goldman Sachs. Gladys graduated with a B.Acc. from Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.LinkedIn
Prior to joining CAVU, Greg was Controller at Circle Road Partners, a global long-short Fund he joined in 2016, where he managed trade execution, financial, and operational aspects for an active group of private funds. Before Circle Road, Greg was the CFO of Blue Anchor Capital, a U.S. focused long-short fund he was tapped to help launch in May 2015. Prior to Blue Anchor Capital, Greg was the CFO/CCO of TigerShark Management LLC, a U.S. focused long-short fund where he built out the operational infrastructure, developed firm expertise across financial products and private fund structures, as well as lead the firm through SEC registration and other strategic product launches. Greg began his career as an audit associate with Rothstein Kass. He received a B.S. from Lehigh University. In his spare time, Greg enjoys spending time with his wife Kristin and their 3 young children.
Prior to joining CAVU, Andrew started his career in the KPMG New York audit practice, focusing on technology and media clients. Andrew earned a master’s degree in accounting and a B.S. in finance from the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University. He is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of New York.LinkedIn
Courtney Pollack is one of our super-star Executive Assistants. Bringing 10 years of experience within the entertainment space, she supported top C-Level executives, honing in on her rock-star EA skills. She truly knows what it takes to work hard, efficiently and under enormous pressure to get the job done. An organization whiz, our resident CAVU event planner, and confidante for our team, Courtney is an essential part of our organization. Wildcats or bust! Her passion for all things Villanova transcends to the startup world, as she channels that same infectious energy. Courtney’s dedication to her family translates seamlessly into her commitment to the CAVU family.LinkedIn
Samantha Martinez is a fast-thinking and integral Executive Assistant who helps keep our organization running at full speed. With a breadth of experience within the financial space, Samantha’s organizational and detailed-oriented mind is her most impressive asset. A leader committed to results, Samantha is trusted with some of the most top-secret business matters and serves as the voice between C-level staff and outside contacts. A team player, Samantha’s passion for fitness trends is much-needed perspective to the CAVU approach.LinkedIn
Alex was a partner and head of private equity at Main Street Advisors – a financial advisory firm with over $5b in assets under management. While at Main Street, Alex led numerous investments including On Running, Beyond Meat, One Team, and Hyperice. He worked on several financings including the Spring Hill Company (Uninterrupted), Translation Marketing / United Masters, and Beats electronics (including the ultimate sale of Beats Electronics and Beats Music to Apple). He also worked on numerous endorsement agreements including LeBron James’ agreement with Nike and Pharrell Williams’ agreement with Adidas. Prior to joining Main Street Advisors in 2007, Alex was a vice president at Credit Suisse in New York, where he spent three years (2004-2007) covering Media and Telecom companies. Prior to that, he worked as an attorney at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison in their corporate department; practicing M&A and securities law (2000 – 2004). Alex has a J.D. from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Alex is currently on the board of directors of Translation/United Masters and serves as an advisor to Hyperice and Chinatown Market.LinkedIn
Bader Alam is an Advisor at CAVU with over 14 years of private equity experience focusing on growth equity and middle market transactions primarily in the consumer sector. His interest in building better businesses has also resulted in Bader taking on various operational roles at the companies he has worked with. Prior to joining CAVU, Bader was a Vice President with Bespoke Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused on investments in the consumer, leisure and related sectors. Earlier in his career, Bader held private equity roles at Beekman Investment Partners, Arcapita and Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill (BRS). Before entering the private equity industry, Bader was an investment banking analyst in the Retail/Consumer Group at Credit Suisse and a strategy analyst at The Home Depot. Bader holds a B.B.A. with Distinction from Emory University and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.LinkedIn