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Welcome to the Arena

Welcome to the Arena

Author: ICR

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In the increasingly crowded and competitive corporate and financial ecosystem, it’s harder than ever for companies to break through the clutter and be heard. The media, investors, agenda-driven influencers, even customers and competitors, are defining your business story on their terms. Therefore, it is imperative that companies take control and proactively drive the conversation with stakeholders in an effort to build & maintain equity value.

In Welcome to the Arena, Co-Founder & CEO of ICR, Tom Ryan, interviews key business and financial players who influence the fate of public or aspiring public companies in the capital markets. As a former Wall Street Journal ranked sell-side equity analyst and the founder of one of the largest strategic communications firms in the world, Tom understands what it takes to navigate this complex environment.

This is a forum for CEOs, CFOs, institutional investors, sell-side analysts, financial journalists, private equity professionals and other financial community participants to share their stories and give advice in an open and candid conversation.

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67 Episodes
In healthcare, they say the only constant is change. Medical practices and treatments are always evolving, and today's guest is on the cutting edge of an exciting development. Today we're sitting down with Dr. Eddie Sullivan, co-founder, President and CEO at SAB Biotherapeutics. Eddie served in biopharma leadership positions for more than 25 years, and prior to joining SAB, he was CEO of Hema Tech, where he led initiatives to develop infectious disease, cancer, and autoimmune immunotherapies. A recognized thought leader in antibodies in transgenic animals, Eddie serves on the board of directors for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, he's earned two PhDs in health science administration and reproductive physiology, and he holds an MS in reproductive physiology and molecular biology, and a BS in Animal health sciences.On the show, we talk to Eddie about SAB's polyclonal antibody research, perceptions about this research in the biotech world, and the future of fighting diseases. Highlights: Eddie's path to the Biotherapeutics field (3:04) Founding SAB and the immunotherapy industry (3:41) How SAB uses cows for research (4:59) SAB's take on the COVID vaccine (8:43) Perceptions of monoclonals vs. polyclonals (13:27) Slow growth in polyclonal research (16:57) SAB's work on Type 1 Diabetes and other disease treatment (20:13) What Eddie is excited about in the future for the field (26:19) The biggest challenge in biotech (27:10) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteDr. Eddie Sullivan on LinkedInSAB Biotherapeutics on LinkedinSAB Biotherapeutics WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
Making a decision like transitioning from a successful soda brand into a water company will certainly come with its risks, but it can also open the door for commercial expansion and innovation. Today's guest was able to make that shift seamlessly.On this week's episode, we get to sit down with Tom Harrington, Chief Executive Officer of Primo Water, which trades under the symbol PRMW. Tom took the post in the beginning of 2019 and prior to that, he served as the CEO of Primo's North American Business Unit after the acquisition of DS Services in December of 2014. Before the acquisition, Tom served in various roles with DS Services including CEO, President and COO. Prior to joining DS services, Tom worked with Coca-Cola Enterprises in a number of roles including VP and General Manager of the New York and Chicago divisions. Tom and I talked about the evolution of Primo Water, and the investments they've made into developing their service-based model.Highlights: Tom introduces Primo's services (3:10 Primo's business model (3:52) Recurring-revenue business strategy (4:59) How Primo's business model has changed over time (5:56) E-commerce and technology (7:08) Investments and supply chain optimization (8:14) Water resourcing and environmental concern (9:51) New products and partnerships (10:41) Inflation and economic impact (11:55) How Primo raise their EBITDA margins (13:43) Benefits of being a pure-play water company (15:07) Primo's differentiation from competitors (16:05) Mergers and acquisitions (17:09) Primo's growth formula (18:26) The effect of imposing tariffs (20:40) How investors misjudge Primo (21:59) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteTom Harrington on LinkedInPrimo Water Corporation on LinkedInPrimo Water WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
As a public company, moving into a fully franchised model isn't always easy. There are lots of challenges and misconceptions, but today's guest has come through all of that with flying colors.Matthew Doctor is President, CEO, and a Board Member of Regis Corporation, which trades under the symbol R G S. Regis is the beauty industry's global leader in salons and cosmetology education, with more than 5,500 locations worldwide operating under concepts such as Supercuts®, SmartStyle® and First Choice Haircutters® to name a few. Matt joined Regis in February of 2021, as Chief Strategy Officer, before becoming President in 2022. Previously, Matt was a partner and chief financial officer for Kava Restaurants, a Tim Horton's franchisee. Prior to Kava, he held several roles at Restaurant Brands International, owner of the Burger King, Tim Horton's and Popeye's Brands. There, he was head of Global Development and franchisee performance of Burger King, he led M and A in Asia for Burger King, and led development efforts for Tim Horton's. Matt started his career as an investment banker for JP Morgan in New York. On this week's episode, we sat down to talk about Matt's franchise career, and his incredible work with Regis during a really tricky period.Highlights: Matt shares Regis' brand history (2:58) Services provided under the Regis brand umbrella (5:31) Franchise reach, audience, and customer profile (6:11) Matt's work in the franchise field, and his introduction to Regis (7:16) How Regis fits the 'franchise model' (10:13) Matt discusses his senior team's synergy (12:31) What Regis focused on for future profitability (14:23) Technology initiatives and industry innovation (17:07) Future goals for the franchise (18:22) Matt explains Regis' growth expansion plan (20:24) Common mistakes to avoid as a franchisor (22:45) Effectively communicating your business to investors (24:35) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteMathew Doctor on LinkedInRegis Corporation on LinkedInRegis Corporation WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
We get to hear from a lot of smart people with incredible ideas on this show, but it's extra exciting when they also have a world-changing vision, and our guest today has just that.On this week's episode we're talking with Mei Mei Hu, CEO and Co-Founder of Vaxxinity, which trades under the symbol VAXX. Mei Mei is also a member of the Executive Committee of United Biomedical, and has overseen the launch of one of the first antibody vaccines in the world, and the successful spin out of five companies, including Vaxxinity's IPO in 2021. She currently leads an active pipeline of chronic disease immunotherapeutic candidates, including for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, migraine, hypercholesterolemia, and variant inclusive COVID booster. Mei Mei has been named to the Time 100 Next List, Fortune 40 under 40, and is a member of the Young Global Leaders of World Economic Forum. She holds a BA from University of Pennsylvania and a JD from Harvard Law School. We recorded this episode with Mei Mei in January 2023, and talked about the fascinating science behind Vaxxinity's work, and their amazing vision for making these vaccines accessible to the world.Highlights: • Mei Mei breaks down what drew her to the biotech field (3:03) • Vaxxinity's origin story (3:58) • Mission statement and company goals (5:37) • Vaccine technology and Vaxxinity's approach to solving health problems (6:48) • How chronic diseases are chosen and prioritized (9:09) • How the vaccine works against Alzheimer's (10:38) • A vaccine for Parkinson's, and working with the Michael J. Fox Foundation (12:37) • A vaccine for cholesterol and simplifying cholesterol medication (13:57) • The undiscussed disability: Migraines (16:28) • How the economics work, and the company business model (18:14) • COVID-19 vaccine developments, and short term vaccine studies (20:57) • Taking the business public (23:00) • Vaxxinity's leadership strategy and characteristics for a great team (24:47) • Biotech trends for 2023 (26:55) • Mei Mei's predictions for the future of chronic disease management (28:09)Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteMei Mei HuVaxxinity on LinkedInVaxxinity WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
For people navigating financial planning in these shaky times, there's a great deal of comfort in the way that insurance companies can help mitigate risk and still grow wealth. Global Atlantic is one of those companies offering innovative products and solid planning.On today's show we're joined by Rob Arena, Co-President of Global Atlantic where he supports Chairman and CEO Allan Levine in operating the business and executing the company's growth strategy. Rob also leads the company's individual markets business, and oversees operations and technology.Rob has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, including leadership of the Hartford's annuity business and in his role as President of Hartford Mutual Funds. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President for American Scandia Prudential Annuities. In this episode Rob tells us about about his lengthy career, the role of insurance companies today, and the importance of safety in your portfolio.Highlights: • Rob describes his path to wealth management at Global Atlantic (2:51) • The value of strong work culture (4:48) • How the wealth management industry has changed over time (5:54) • Rob explains his product distribution method (7:02) • How and why annuities are so important for retirees (8:47) • Rob's observations of recent trends in the annuity market (9:36) • Current consumer challenges within the annuity market (10:47) • How companies like Global Atlantic can help consumers get through market fluctuations (11:44) • Common misconceptions from consumers (14:20) • Rob explains how technology is integrated into the practice (16:41) • Global Atlantic's recent partnership with KKR (19:08) • The 'Trust Business' and how Rob ensures quality for consumers (20:45) • Global Atlantic's Accolades (22:05) • Rob describes his strong, strategic senior team (23:34)Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteRob Arena on LinkedInAllan Levine on LinkedInGlobal Atlantic Financial Group on LinkedInGlobal Atlantic Financial Group WebsiteDisclaimer:Annuities are issued by Forethought Life Insurance Company, 10 West Market Street, Suite 2300, Indianapolis, Indiana. Registered products are underwritten and distributed by Global Atlantic Distributors, LLC. Life Insurance is issued by Accordia Life and Annuity Company, 215 10th St, Des Moines, Iowa. Guarantees provided are subject to the financial strength of the issuing insurance company; not guaranteed by any bank or the FDIC. Global Atlantic Financial Group (Global Atlantic) is the marketing name for The Global Atlantic Financial Group LLC and its subsidiaries, including Accordia Life and Annuity Company and Forethought Life Insurance Company. Each subsidiary is responsible for its own financial and contractual obligations. These subsidiaries are not authorized to do business in New York.Feedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
Summary:Digital advertising has allowed companies to be laser-focused with their audiences, and that means a super-efficient, high-impact campaign. On this episode we sit down with Mark Walker, Co-Founder, CEO, and Chairman of Direct Digital Holdings, which trades under the symbol DRCT. Direct Digital Holdings (DDH) is a digital advertising solutions holding company consisting of three subsidiaries: Colossus SSP, Orange 142, and Huddled Masses. DDH provides programmatic digital advertising solutions with a specialization in reaching highly sought-after multicultural audiences and under-served middle market companies across the US. The company is at the forefront of dynamic and inclusive approaches to advertising, and in February of 2022, DDH became the ninth ever black-owned US company to go public.Mark is an expert in strategic planning, management, and revenue generation for Fortune 500 companies, private firms, and startups. Prior to co-founding DDH, he directed business development for N R G Energy and served as COO at Ebony Media. Mark serves on multiple advisory boards and has written multiple research articles and case studies for Jupyter Research, Search Engine Watch, and the IAB.Highlights: Mark explains what DDH does (3:23) The challenges and opportunities he saw when he was starting the company (4:12) The meaning of end-to-end programmatic, and how their subsidiaries function together (6:16) Mark explains why some of these multicultural audiences have been more difficult to reach (8:47) The key industry verticals (10:25) How Mark defines the middle market (11:22) How DDH might benefit from the economic slow down (12:56) Mark discusses DDH's performance and market valuation in 2022 (14:30) DDH's strong client retention (15:56) Mark talks diversity and the management team (17:08) Where Mark sees growth coming from in 2023 (18:13) The economic power of the multicultural marketplace (19:51) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteMark Walker LinkedInMark Walker bio Direct Digital Holdings LinkedInDirect Digital Holdings websiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
Summary:AI and AR technologies are rapidly becoming stable stakes for any retail experience, and today's guest is leading the way there. On this episode, we're talking to Louis Chen, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Perfect Corp, which trades under the symbol PERF. Perfect is an AI and AR-powered beauty tech solutions provider, and Louis leads the company's corporate development, strategic partnerships, and marketing efforts. He joined Perfect when it was established back in June of 2015, starting as Vice President of Business Development and Marketing.  Prior to that, Louis spent 12 years at Cyber Link, where he served as VP of Business Development and Marketing, heading Consumer Business. Louis has a Bachelor's and a Master's Degree in computer science from National Taiwan University. He joined me from his office in Taipei to tell us about Perfect's groundbreaking technology, and how it's transforming the beauty industry.Highlights: Louis explains how Perfect came about (2:56) The total addressable market for this technology (5:50) The multi-channel approach for the product (6:34) How Perfect fits in with the ESG goals of their customers (9:13) The ROI for the customer (11:17) Perfect's go-to-market strategy (13:48) Louis discusses the geographic footprint of the company (16:10) Growth potentials for this technology (17:40) The adjacencies for the technology down the road (19:44) The company's financial performance (21:46) Perfect's approach to allocating capital (23:48) The company's strategy on acquisitions (25:11) Louis' observations on consumer behavior in this space (26:05) What investors might not understand about the company (27:21) Louis talks about the importance of the company founder's insight (29:19) Perfect's management team (30:05) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteLouis Chen LinkedInPerfect Corp websitePerfect Corp LinkedInPerfect Corp TwitterFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
Success in the restaurant industry can be tricky, but today's guest has really nurtured the built-in growth opportunities in his business, with remarkable results.On this episode we're sitting down with Andy Wiederhorn, President and CEO of FAT Brands. FAT Brands is a global franchising company that acquires, markets and develops a range of casual and quick-service dining restaurant concepts.Andy made his first restaurant acquisition in 2003 with Fatburger, and went on to acquire Buffalo's Cafe in 2011, and Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouses in 2017. That same year, Andy took FAT Brands public. He continued FAT Brand's aggressive acquisition strategy over the next few years, striking deals with legacy brands including Johnny Rockets, Round Table Pizza, Marble Slab Creamery, and Great American Cookies, to name a few. He also struck deals with Twin Peaks, Fazoli's, and Native Grill & Wings. The FAT Brand portfolio now features 17 restaurant concepts with more than 2300 locations worldwide. Andy's been incredibly busy for the past 20 years, but he was able to join us to talk about the company's history, growth and their strategy for the next few years.Highlights: Andy's background in finance and his first acquisition with Fatburger (3:03) Andy's must-haves when looking at new acquisitions (5:17) The portfolio's categories and how they work together (6:13) Andy discusses how the portfolio will look 5 years from now (7:29) How different concepts are doing in the current economic environment (8:15) Andy's perspective on supporting his franchisees (9:26) Co-branding with FAT Brands (10:26) Opportunities for new acquisitions in this market environment (11:51) The benefit of Andy's finance background (13:39) Fat Brands' manufacturing opportunities (14:35) The team's approach to setting up FAT Brands (15:47) Andy's business philosophy during COVID and how the brands handled it (17:12) How the chains are navigating inflation (19:24) What we can expect for FAT Brands in 2023 (20:37) Andy talks about his team (21:37) What investors might miss about FAT Brands (22:34) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteAndy Wiederhorn LinkedInAndrew Wiederhorn bio FAT BrandsAndy Wiederhorn TwitterFAT Brands websiteFAT Brands TwitterFAT Brands LinkedInFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
Even the most ingenious technologies won't go far without a solid legal foundation and a forward thinking framework that will help it scale,  and this episode's guest knows all about that. Cindy Hess is a corporate partner at Fenwick and for over 10 years she's served as the co-chair of the firm's startup and venture capital group. Over the course of her practice, Cindy has counseled technology companies on a broad range of corporate transactional matters. She's worked with a wide range of high tech clients including some of the hottest and most innovative companies in mobile SaaS and social media.Cindy has had numerous industry honors, including being named as one of the Recorder's Top 10 Most Trusted Corporate Counselors, and one of the Top Women Leaders in Tech Law. She was also named to the Legal 500's Hall of Fame of the Venture Capital and Emerging Companies category. Cindy was the recipient of the Women in Business Law Award for Best in Technology, and the Silicon Valley Business Journal named her as one of the leading women of influence in Silicon Valley. She's a member of the State Bar of California and of New York. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton, and her J.D. from Cornell.We sat down to talk about Cindy's incredible career working on some of the biggest deals in history, and what she sees for big tech deals in 2023 and beyond.Highlights: How Cindy got her start with Fenwick (3:24) What Fenwick does and why it's different than other firms (4:14) Cindy's client base (7:58) The part of the practice that Cindy thinks is strongest right now (9:17) How Cindy got into law (10:06) Cindy talks about some of the biggest deals at Fenwick (11:19) The deal that was most transformative for Cindy's career (13:21) Cindy talks about her experience as a woman in this field over the length of her career (14:36) Mentors that have helped along the way (15:27) Cindy's predictions for capital markets in 2023 (17:08) Cindy discusses the findings of the latest edition of Fenwick's Silicon Valley Venture Capital survey (19:20) Cindy's advice to founders going through the early stages of development, and what to consider when going public (23:05) What's next for emerging companies looking to grow their business (24:16) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteCindy Hess Bio FenwickCindy Hess LinkedInCindy Hess TwitterFenwick websiteFenwick LinkedInFenwick TwitterFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
Summary:If you're going to jump into the massive beverage market with a brand new product, you better have some incredible experience and a solid team behind you. And that's exactly what today's guest has. On this episode we're sitting down with Mike Pengue, who has been CEO of ZOA Energy since its launch in March of 2021. Prior to ZOA, Mike was Senior Vice President, General Manager for the Emerging Brands Group at Keurig, Dr. Pepper. He came to Keurig, Dr. Pepper from Bai Brands where he was Chief Strategy Officer, and was instrumental in the 1.65 billion sale to Dr. Pepper Snapple. Mike also spent 20 years at Nestle Waters North America in a variety of positions. His last role there was Executive Vice President, leading the $5 billion brand portfolio that included Perrier Pellegrino, Nestle's Pure Life, Poland Spring, Ozarka, and Deer Park, among others.Mike joined me to share the story of ZOA Energy and the amazing founders he's working with. We also discuss why this new drink is standing out and growing at breakneck speed.Highlights: Mike describes the ZOA Energy drink product, who the founders are and their collective strengths (3:04) Mike's initial thoughts about joining the company (5:58) The brand and what it stands for (7:46) The market size and where ZOA fits (9:18) ZOA's total addressable market (11:57) Mike talks about the company's remarkably fast growth (13:36) How the ZOA team have approached marketing spend (15:38) Mike talks new flavors and their approach to product size (17:12) The challenges that the team is looking at now (21:24) Mike discusses their international growth (23:32) Managing inflation, supply chain and other economic challenges (24:54) The mentors that Mike has had along the way (26:13) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteMichael Pengue LinkedInMichael Pengue bio - Beverage ForumZOA Energy LinkedInZOA Energy websiteZOA Energy TwitterFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
Summary:To really serve your customer, you have to understand them. And that's just one of the crucial ways that today's guest has led her company into remarkable growth. On this episode, we welcome Molly Langenstein, CEO, President and Board Member of Chico's FAS. She joined the company in August of 2019 and became CEO and President less than a year later, in June 2020. Molly is a 30-year retail industry veteran with a proven track record of building multiple successful brands, and revitalizing sales and profitability in the retail fashion industry. Prior to Chico's, Molly held multiple roles at Macy's, including General Business Manager for Ready to Wear, Private Brands Officer of Macy's in Bloomingdale's, and Executive Vice President of private brands for Men's and Children's wear. I sat down with Molly to talk about the unique strategy at Chico's and her amazing career in the retail industry, that in some ways, started when she was just a kid.Highlights: Molly tells about what she learned growing up in her mother's boutique (2:58) What has changed and what's stayed the same with consumers (4:27) Molly explains the main brands at Chico's (5:34) What attracted Molly to this opportunity at Chico's (8:36) The strategic pillars of their plan (9:56) The connection that is made with a customer through these brands (14:34) How an increasingly younger customer base and the multi-channel approach is significant to the company's growth (16:17) The company's digital tools for their customers, and their loyalty program (18:44) Chico's balance sheet (21:46) How Chico's is managing the economic challenges of the moment (22:53) Molly talks about the company's response to Hurricane Ian in Florida (24:17) Molly's signature piece of management advice (25:58) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteMolly Langenstein LinkedInMolly Langenstein BioChico's TwitterChico's FAS WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
Summary:Extreme weather, aging grids, power storage and distribution; these are just some of the challenges that clean energy is stepping up to solve. And companies like Stem are at the forefront, with cutting edge AI-driven services. Today we hear from John Carrington, CEO of Stem. John leads the energy storage and analytics movement at the company and has more than 25 years of leadership experience in technology, energy, and industrial companies.John came to Stem from MiaSolé, the world's largest CIGS-based thin film solar company, where he was CEO and Director. Prior to that, John was the Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at First Solar, growing the company from 250 million to more than 2 billion dollars in open markets in the US, Asia, and Europe. John also spent over 16 years at General Electric, most recently as the General Manager and Chief Marketing Officer of GE Plastics. He was part of a small executive team that executed on the 12 billion dollar sale of GE Plastics to SABIC in 2007.I sat down with John to talk about his interesting career trajectory and the huge runway he has in front of him with Stem. Highlights: John discusses how he got his start in the energy field (2:51) How John ended up at Stem, and what the company does (4:39) How Stem fits into the larger energy transition (7:28) John talks about the ground-breaking software that Stem has built and the real-life use cases (8:39) Stem's total addressable market (11:44) How the Inflation Reduction Act is benefiting energy storage (13:16) The ease of "going solar" today (14:40) Stem's partnership with In Charge, an EV charging infrastructure solution(16:17) John talks about Stem's truly innovative approach (18:07) The benefits of being a public company for Stem (18:58) How John is positioning Stem in this challenging economic time (19:29) The key drivers for margin expansion in the next few years (20:49) The backlog for 2022 vs. 2021 (22:01) John talks about his great team (24:08) Stem's approach to capital allocation (25:20) John's outlook for energy storage in the next three to five years (26:31) John's most important mentors (27:49) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteJohn Carrington LinkedInJohn Carrington, Stem Inc bioStem LinkedInStem websiteStem TwitterFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
Summary:It's been an amazing year on Welcome to the Arena, and we've heard from some of the most exciting and successful businesses and strategists in the game. On this brief episode of the show, Tom Ryan, founder and CEO of ICR, and host of Welcome to the Arena shares his reflections on 2022, and looks ahead to 2023 and the 25th anniversary of ICR. Enjoy the holidays, and look for new episodes and more incredible guests coming in January!Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteTom Ryan ICRTom Ryan LinkedInFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
Summary:Being a disruptor in business can be as uncomplicated as putting out high quality products, in a small-but-mighty category. And that's what today's guest has done, with incredible success. On this episode we're talking to Todd Lachman, the founder, President and CEO of Sovos Brands.For 25 years, Todd's delivered growth and value creation for some of the biggest names in consumer packaged goods. He served as Global President of Mars Pet Care, President of Mars Chocolate, North America and Latin America, and Executive Vice President of Del Monte Foods Company. He also held senior management roles at H.J. Heinz Company after moving up the marketing ranks at Proctor and Gamble. Outside of his extensive professional experience, Todd's an active board member with Big Brothers and Big Sisters in the Bay Area, and he's a super active guy who's into skiing, cycling and hiking with his family and two dogs.I managed to tear him away from his busy life for a conversation about how he built Sovos Brands into the huge success it is today, and what made him start the company in the first place. Highlights: Todd talks about starting Sovos and how he arrived at the idea (2:57) How each of the Sovos brands fit together (5:15) Why Sovos went public when they did (7:10) All about Rao's Sauce and why it's so successful (8:04) Becoming a billion dollar brand (11:03) Todd discusses their approach to international sales (13:13) Pricing premium products during a tricky economic and political time (14:25) Todd discusses efficiencies when it comes to P and L (16:00) The Sovos approach to innovation and new brands (18:24) The horizontal culture at Sovos (20:46) The achievements at Sovos this year (22:02) Todd's approach to M and A (23:40) The advantages of being a CEO who is from the marketing side (24:40) What Todd is most proud of with Sovos (26:49) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteTodd Lachman LinkedInTodd Lachman bioSovos Brands LinkedInSovos Brands websiteSovos Brands TwitterFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
Summary:There are a lot of things that California produces well: movies, wine, and now cannabis. Today's guest knows all about that. Kyle Kazan is co-founder and CEO of Glasshouse Brands, a vertically integrated sustainable producer of cannabis products. In 1991, he began investing in real estate, and became a manager of private equity funds. He's now launched a total of 23 funds with a current estimated value of almost $3 billion. In 2016 Kyle pivoted to the regulated cannabis industry. Since his early service as a special education teacher and law enforcement officer, Kyle's been a vocal advocate for police reform and ending the war on drugs.He makes frequent appearances on CNN and Fox and has been a guest professor at NYU, USC, and UCLA's business schools. Kyle's a graduate of University of Southern California where he played varsity basketball, and his long and varied career made for a great conversation.Highlights: Kyle talks about his early years as a basketball player, then a police officer turned real estate investor (2:57) What led Kyle to move into cannabis (5:38) The assets that Glass House has today (8:58) Glass House's vertical integration (10:49) Kyle discusses the brands of Glass House (13:37) How growing the product in California figures into Glass House's marketing (15:41) The challenges in this industry and the state of the market now (18:31) How the current political climate might affect Glass House (20:05) The total addressable market for Glass House (22:06) Kyle talks about his great team at Glass House (24:20) Their unique approach to investors (27:01) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteKyle Kazan BioKyle Kazan LinkedInKyle Kazan TwitterGlass House websiteGlass House LinkedInGlass House TwitterFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
Summary:At a time when many restaurants are cutting back on what they offer guests, the One Group is raising the bar on the dining experience, and positioning themselves for huge success in the process.Today's guest is Manny Hilario, CEO of The One Group and long-time friend of ICR. The One Group is a global hospitality company that develops and operates upscale and polished casual, high energy restaurants and lounges. Their two primary restaurant brands are STK and Kona Grill, where they aspire to be the global leader in vibe dining, a unique combination of casual, upscale lounge and restaurant experiences. They trade under the symbol T K.Manny joined The One Group as a board member in April 2017, and in October 2017 he became President and CEO. Prior to that he was CFO of Sizzling Platter, and was COO at Einstein Noah Restaurant. Manny began his career at McDonalds where he held various financial roles with the company. On this episode, Manny and I talked about the One Group's bold approach to hospitality, their growth strategy, and of course their unique vibe dining concept that is setting them apart from the competition.Highlights: What the vibe dining concept offers (2:57) Manny describes the STK and Kona Grill brands (4:16) New restaurant locations and how they're doing (6:00) The prospects for ROI on the expansion of the restaurants (7:57) The total addressable market for the restaurant brand (10:10) Manny discusses how their franchises work (12:41) The One Group's optimism heading into the holidays (14:33) Technology's role in the restaurant business (16:32) Manny talks about the deal with Reef Kitchens and the ghost kitchen opportunity (18:59) The One Group's philosophy on capital allocation (20:15) What Manny has learned from his various roles in the industry (22:09) Recent trends in the industry that have surprised Manny (24:00) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteThe ONE Group WebsiteThe ONE Group LinkedInManny Hilario LinkedInManny Hilario, The ONE GroupFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
Summary:You can never underestimate the power of high quality consumer research from a globally renowned team, especially when they're led with energy and heart by a top industry analyst.Case in point is today's guest, long-time friend of ICR, Dana Telsey. Dana is the CEO and Chief Research Officer of Telsey Advisory Group, which was founded in 2006. The firm has grown to be a leading equity research trade execution, investment banking and consulting firm focused on the consumer space.During her 35-year career, Dana has followed over a hundred companies. From 1994 to 2006, she was Senior Managing Director covering the retail sector at Bear Stearns. Prior to that, she was a retail analyst at CJ Lawrence and was a V.P. of the Baron Asset Fund at Baron Capital. In 2015, she also formed Telsey Consumer Fund Management, an asset management firm investing in consumer oriented companies.Dana's received countless awards and accolades during her career. This year, Dana was named for the third time as one of Barron's Hundred Most Influential Women in US Finance, and she was named for a second time as one of Rethink Retail's Top 100 Retail Influencers. And maybe most impressive is that she was a member of Institutional Investor Magazine's All America Research Team for 13 years, from 1992 to 2005.Dana is a regular on CNN and CNBC, she's a fountain of energy and knowledge, and on today's episode we had a great conversation about her career, the fascinating story of retail, and what's to come. Highlights: Dana talks about getting her start in the business (3:16) When and why she started the Telsey Advisory Group (TAG) (5:32) The industries and segments that TAG covers (8:08) The brands that Dana gets excited about (9:25) How equity research has changed in the last 20 years (10:25) Why differentiation matters for brands (11:50) Dana talks about being one of the few women-owned firms on Wall Street (13:14) Dana reflects on the uncertainty of the past 3 years (15:25) Which consumer areas are currently holding up well (16:32) Dana's observations on technology investment (18:11) What Dana sees happening with the IPO market, and what investors are looking for (19:44) Capital allocation and new channels like the metaverse (21:31) The holiday season and forecasting into 2023 (23:21) What TAG is investing in (26:27) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteDana Telsey BioDana Telsey TwitterDana Telsey LinkedInTelsey Group WebsiteTelsey Advisory Group LinkedInFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
Summary:We take for granted how rapidly restaurants have gone digital in the past few years, but it's actually been a vision 20 years in the making. And it all started with today's guest.Noah Glass is the founder and CEO of Olo, a leading commerce platform powering the restaurant industry's digital transformation. Over 600 of the most recognized restaurants and C-Store brands use Olo to grow digital sales, preserve direct consumer relationships, and maximize profitability. More than 85 million consumers run their orders through the platform annually.After attending Yale and spending some time abroad, Noah founded Olo at the age of 24. He established the company before the rise of the smart phone, starting out with a focus on text message ordering. Noah is now recognized as among the most influential leaders in the restaurant industry, and was named number one on 2020's Nation's Restaurant News Power List.Noah and I talked about Olo's inspirational origin story, the incredible impact the company has had on the restaurant industry, and the huge opportunities in this space going forward.Highlights: An introduction to Olo (3:23) Noah tells Olo's origin story (4:01) From protype to actually commercializing the product - getting restaurants on board in the early days (8:27) Noah takes us through Olo's products (10:51) The challenges of digital transformation in the restaurant industry (14:39) Noah talks about the total addressable market and how far into digital transformation we really are (16:38) The status of the restaurant industry, and the mindset around tech adoption (18:14) Olo's approach to R and D (21:06) Noah discusses Olo's financial position and philosophy on acquisitions (22:59) The culture at Olo (25:23) What investors might not understand about Olo (27:32) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteNoah Glass BioNoah Glass LinkedInOlo WebsiteOlo LinkedInFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
Summary:It's always a pleasure to speak to a grizzled veteran who has decades of experience leading hundreds of deals that have raised billions of dollars.Here to share that wisdom is Gregg Nabhan, Chairman of the America's Equity Capital Markets, as well as Managing Director of the Consumer and Retail team at Bank of America. Gregg is responsible for the origination, IPO valuation, structuring, book-building, price discovery allocation trading, and aftermarket performance of equity transactions. Gregg has almost 40 years of experience on Wall Street. He's led over 400 deals, raising over 265 billion for companies around the world, including 115 IPOs totaling 50 billion dollars. Prior to joining Bank of America in 2008, Gregg worked at Morgan Stanley for 13 years where he was a Managing Director in the equity capital markets. He has a BA in Economics and Political Science from Columbia University. Gregg and I talked about the past 4 decades of economic twists and turns, some of his career highlights and what he sees coming around the bend.Highlights: Gregg talks about his start at Bank of America (2:45) The IPO resources that B of A offers (4:35) Gregg's perspective on the last 3 years of market activity (5:20) The Fed's inflation strategy (8:43) The number of IPOs now, compared with the past 15 years (10:08) Industries that are favoured to open the IPO market (11:20) Gregg discusses the valuation reset (12:46) What strong performing companies have in common (14:45) What the Fed needs to see to change their stance on interest rates (16:15) Gregg's take on the state of the consumer (18:58) Gregg tells us about some of his favourite deals over the years (19:44) The biggest challenges for management teams going through an IPO (20:55) Gregg's take on ESG (23:15) Will IPO Road Shows remain virtual, post-COVID? (24:38) Gregg talks about the huge value of his mentors over the years (25:46) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteGregg Nabhan LinkedInBank of America TwitterBank of America WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
Summary:Sometimes, acquisitions that seem risky are actually just really smart: seeing opportunity where others don't. And in real estate, if you have the experience and a strong handle on research, undervalued assets are there for the taking.My guest this week is Nitin Chexal. Nitin is the CEO of Palladius Capital Management where he oversees all aspects of the firm, including leading a team of investment and asset management professionals focused on real estate equity and debt investments across the US. Previously, Nitin was a partner and Managing Director at Nimes Real Estate, and before that he was VP of Corporate and Business Development at Counsyl.  Nitin got his Bachelor's degree at UCLA, and has an MBA from the University of Chicago.Nitin and I talked about how Palladius'  bold approach to acquisitions helped establish the company. We also talked about how real estate trends will drive their business over the next few years. Highlights: Nitin explains Palladius' approach, interests, and how they scaled so rapidly (2:38) How Palladius' starting point was different than other firms (5:38) What being "tactically contrarian" means and how it gives Palladius an edge (7:09) Palladius' tactically contrarian approach to Austin, Houston and Chicago (7:46) Nitin explains Palladius' focus on shallow bay assets (14:31) The "hotel-ification" of multi-family rentals (17:52) How technology is being incorporated into Palladius' portfolio and operations (19:40) Nitin discusses Palladius' debt platform (21:36) Palladius' approach to democratizing real estate (23:33) Nitin talks about starting Palladius during COVID, and what he sees for the company's future (24:35) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteNitin Chexal BioNitin Chexal LinkedInPalladius Capital Management WebsitePalladius Capital Management LinkedInFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,
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