Get To Know KEEN
KEEN Growth Capital is led by passionate entrepreneurs and seasoned experts who have driven innovation from early stage companies through Fortune 500 brands. The team has a deep understanding of operational excellence and brings multifaceted functional knowledge to the portfolio brands.
As investors, we have consistently produced venture returns well above market average.
Co-FOUNDER & Managing PARTNER
Jerry is KEEN's co-founder and life-long entrepreneur and is renowned in the healthy snacking space. Much of his inspiration comes from his training in life sciences as a pharmacist, which is complimented by his love of food and fascination with manufacturing processes. In 1991 he founded his first company, IntraCare, a home health care provider. Jerry grew the company until it was acquired by Pediatric Services of America in 1997.
Jerry is a food innovator himself. In 1999, he created a biscotti business called Mamma Says, based on his own recipes. This company was acquired by Nonni's Food Company. He went on to invent Veggie Straw and Pita Bites which grew to be an internationally-recognized business and was purchased by the Hain Celestial Group. Most recently, he was inspired by a trip to Italy to create a chip made out of hard semolina wheat - the same as pasta. Vintage Italia Pasta Chips launched in 2013 and has become a growing success that now includes Veggie Pasta Chips and Bow Ties.
He has been described as "A foodie and serial entrepreneur behind a number of enormously popular snack-food successes."
"I've learned a lot through trial and error in business - and it can be brutal," Jerry says. "If I can help an entrepreneur avoid those mistakes, I want to do that." Because of his background working in healthcare, impact investing is a passion, creating businesses that benefit society's health is at the core of his value system.
Jerry is a wine collector, husband, father of four and a world traveler. He was raised in northern New Jersey and is a graduate of Rutgers University College of Pharmaceutical sciences. He resides in Windermere, Florida - but is still proud of his New Jersey heritage.
Co-Founder & Managing Partner
With more than 25 years of experience in the food, beverage and retail industries, Jonathan has a track record for building business and brands. He's held senior positions with legacy brands, like the Culinary Institute of America, Darden Restaurants, Disney, Illy Espresso, Robert Mondavi and Williams-Somona. Throughout his career he's successfully led finance, marketing, manufacturing, operations, business development and culinary programs. His wide range of skills are utilized at KEEN as he nurtures investor relationships and guides portfolio companies.
He believes in the "full circle of impact." Developing companies that have a positive influence on people, giving back to charitable organizations and providing guidance to entrepreneurs.
In addition to his corporate roles, Jonathan supports non-profits focused on the arts, education and food insecurity. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Art & History Museums of Maitland and on the New College Foundation Board of Directors for the New College of Florida.
Jonathan is a chef, wine enthusiast and co-founder of Dept. C Wines, inspired by the "Golden Slopes" of France's Burgundy region. Jonathan was raised in northern New Jersey and he graduated from the New College of Florida, the prestigious Cornell Hotel School, and earned an M.B.A. from the New York University Stern School of Business. Jonathan resides just north of Orlando, where he owns a horse farm with his partner Christine.
Chief Financial Officer
Donna Spence is a seasoned CPA, CFO, financial analyst and auditor. She brings a wealth of knowledge from more than 30 years of finance experience with corporations like EY, Century Link, Siemens, Everything But Water and CFO Strategic Partners.
In her most recent position at CFO Strategic Partners Donna worked with mid-market businesses and nonprofits to provide financial oversight as a CFO consultant. At Everything But Water, a leading swimwear retailer with over 70 locations in 25 states she worked closely with the private equity investors to lead the company out of bankruptcy in 2008 and bring them back to profitability.
She’s also been an entrepreneur, running her own consultancy, advising small businesses on finance and tax matters. Donna attended Adelphi University in Garden City, New York and started her CPA career as an auditor with EY. As CFO for KEEN GROWTH CAPITAL she can utilize her experience and knowledge with the company and their portfolio partners.
David J. Comeau, is a Venture Partner at KEEN Growth Capital. With more than 25 years of multinational food CPG experience, leadership in M&A, joint ventures and global brand expansion to a billion dollar scale, he is also the founding principle of DC50 Advisors LLC, a Miami based marketing and strategy consulting firm. Most recently, Mr. Comeau was the former President of the Asia Pacific region for Mondelēz International. Among Comeau’s current activities he has a non-executive board role at RetailApp, a Miami-based retail technology company, Snappper’s Resorts, a Key Largo, Florida-based restaurant marina and hotel concern, as well as an active member of London based Critical Eye, a leading global board mentoring firm.
At Mondelez International, Comeau was responsible for all biscuit food operations in the Asia Pacific region with a $1.5 Billion portfolio including world famous brands Oreo and Ritz. Comeau has played a key role in rapidly scaling up operations in both India and China.
Comeau began his career with Campbell Soup Co. and later joined the international division of Kraft Foods in the early 1990’s. He has seen a succession of leadership roles including Managing Director for Kraft-Marsa, a joint venture in Turkey, Senior Director of Strategy for Middle East and Africa in London, Managing Director, Brazil, VP of Marketing for Latin America and VP of Global Strategy for Mondelez Biscuits.
A native of Boston, Comeau has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Master of International Business Studies degree from the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. Comeau is active on several Boards and resides in Miami, Florida USA.
Robert Althuis is a Venture Partner at KEEN Growth Capital. He is also the founder of Wayfare Impact, a privately owned impact investment firm based in Miami, Florida. In addition, Mr. Althuis is the founder and current CEO of Wayfare Energy, an Orlando-based solar development and installation firm. Mr. Althuis also serves as a board member of Acero Hospitality Partners and Colbrand International Corporation.
Mr. Althuis launched Wayfare in early 2009 with the acquisition of a 50% ownership position in Lynxs, a leading international transportation infrastructure development firm based in Austin, Texas. Prior to acquiring an ownership position in Lynxs, Mr. Althuis was a Senior Vice President in the Airport Infrastructure group of GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS). At GECAS, Mr. Althuis served as the lead originator for the Americas Region of the Airport Infrastructure group and was instrumental in structuring Global Infrastructure Partners, a $5.6 billion infrastructure investment fund sponsored by GE and Credit Suisse as well as the acquisition of numerous companies and ventures on behalf of GECAS where he also served as board member on behalf of GE. Mr. Althuis started his career at GE Capital in an executive management program in 2002 and joined GECAS on a full-time basis in 2003. In his initial role in GECAS, as a member of the structured finance team, Mr. Althuis closed in excess of $1.5 billion of aviation related debt and equity financings.
Mr. Althuis, who has dual nationality of The Netherlands and the United States, holds a B.B.A., summa cum laude, with a major in Real Estate from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, and a M.B.A., with distinction, with a major in Finance & Management from Columbia Business School in New York City. In addition, Mr. Althuis is a certified member of the CCIM Institute and a licensed real estate broker in Florida, Georgia, and Texas. Mr. Althuis began his career in commercial real estate acquisition and development in 1995; his last position before joining GE was Vice President and Division Manager of the commercial real estate activities of a diversified real estate firm in Atlanta, Georgia.