We are catalysts who transform ideas into reality. With experience in Fortune 100 companies as well as startups, we uniquely know the ins and outs of both worlds. As experts in business strategy, food and beverage, and consumer products, we're ready to help you overcome challenges to deliver strong growth.
Ross Shell Founder & CEO
Ross has spent his professional career as a marketer and business strategist, as well as an entrepreneur and venture investor. His career has included serving as President of Tesser, a nationally regarded branding firm focused on the restaurant and food sectors, and working for IDEO, a global innovation consultancy. Prior to launching Red Idea LLC, he directed client services for a private investment firm which managed a platform of hedge fund and private equity products, with offices in the U.S., U.K., Asia and Canada. During his tenure, the firm grew from $250 million to a peak of nearly $700 million in assets under management.
In 2008, Ross launched Red Idea LLC, a "consulting + ventures works" firm, serving growth companies, entrepreneurs and now corporate innovators. He has served on the Advisory Board for Bhakti Chai, Board of Directors for Natural Foodworks Group, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Olomomo Nut Company. He is a strategic advisor to Green Alpha Advisors, a public equity investor in eco-efficient corporations. As a volunteer, he served on the Advisory Board of the Innovation Center for the St. Vrain Valley School District. Ross serves as an Independent Director for Financial Investors Trust, an affiliate of ALPS Holdings, where he helps oversee approximately $13 billion in assets.
Ross was a Boettcher Scholar award winner, and graduated with honors from Stanford University in 1993. He lives in the Boulder area with his wife and two sons. He is also the author of Cooper's Crafted and Curious Kite Company, a children's book on entrepreneurship and innovation, with copyrights owned by Red Idea LLC.
Partner & General Manager
Food & Beverage Practice Director
Matt Bonoma joined Red Idea in 2009 after completing his MBA with a focus in Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Matt works across many of Red Idea’s consulting and venture engagements in addition to helping manage the day-to-day operations of Red Idea. In addition to his duties as General Manager, Matt focuses on strategic growth planning for Red Idea’s venture-backed businesses, as well as due diligence and financial planning/pro forma projections. Matt has worked extensively with many food and beverage businesses focused primarily in the natural and organic industries.
Matt earned his BA in Economics from Emory University and worked as the Operations/General Manager for a telecommunications firm outside of Boston before moving to Colorado to pursue his MBA.
Patrick joined Red Idea Partners in 2016 in a dual role serving the consulting practice and venture works efforts. Prior to joining Red Idea, Patrick spent more than a decade at Cargill, the world’s largest agribusiness firm, where responsibilities included: trading and price risk management; operations and supply chain optimization; I/T implementation leadership; eight-figure B2B sales management; and organizational (re)design and management.
An ideator and maximizer at heart, Patrick enjoys putting new and renewed ideas to work as efficiently as possible with a design for explosive growth. Patrick earned his MBA at Emory University Goizueta Business School, and a B.A. in Political Science at the University of Chicago.
Dave Kingsbury VP, Strategic Growth
Dave brings more than 20 years experience in market research, strategy and branding to Red Idea. Prior to Red Idea Dave was a Vice President Penton Media/New Hope Natural Media. New Hope is the leading business to business information provider to the exploding natural products industry. At New Hope he worked across the company and launched NEXT, the leading prognosticating tool for the food industry. Leveraging NEXT, he worked with the smallest of start ups and the largest food companies in the world.
Prior to New Hope he was a Senior Strategist at Crispin Porter & Bogusky when CPB was awarded the digital agency of the decade award. He worked across multiple accounts and disciplines at CPB including Best Buy; Microsoft; Burger King; Dominos; Activision (Guitar Hero) and other leading brands. CPB acquired Radar Communications in 2007 where Dave was a founder and partner. Radar focused on qualitative market research that brought brands and companies exceptionally close to their customers. Radar worked with leading brands like Levis; HP; Intel; Unilever; Starbucks and others.
Cathryn Olchowy VP, Corporate Innovation
Cathryn is a senior business and brand strategist for food-focused companies in startup and growth stages, driving growth through development of brand strategies, consumer insights and innovation pipelines.
She brings a unique culinary and strategic perspective to her clients with her 20+ years of packaged foods and food service experience, a Culinary Arts degree from Johnson & Wales University, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern.
She gained diverse cross-functional experience in her 11 years at Kraft Foods with roles in R&D, Brand Management, Marketing Research and Sales for both base businesses and new products.
She developed consulting leadership experience as a Managing Director, Culinary/Innovation Director and Partner at Sterling-Rice Group, a brand innovation firm, where she created the Culinary Practice, developed the strategy for, and helped lead, the Innovation Practice. Cathryn drove growth for major food companies, including Kashi, Frito Lay, Kraft Foods, Starbucks, Conagra, Schwan's, Noodles & Company, Red Robin, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Chili's.
VP, Innovation and Experience Design
Carol is passionate about building brands and creating memorable experiences that move people and businesses. With over 20 years of professional experience, she has honed her perspective on how to uncover powerful insights, develop meaningful ideas, and build strategies that drive growth.
At her core, Carol is a strategist with roots in finance and analytics. In her most recent decade post-MBA, she complemented that methodical foundation with extensive creative experience at brand consultancies, innovation firms, and design agencies. She has cultivated expertise in brand purpose, disruptive innovation, visual design systems, and verbal brand expression. Her experience spans a wide variety of industries such as financial services, consumer packaged goods, telecom, tech, and retail. Her client work has taken her around the world, partnering with client teams and interacting with consumers across the US, Western Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia.
Prior to Red Idea, Carol was an Associate Partner at Prophet, a global brand consultancy, where she led strategic initiatives crafting relevant brands and experiences that also leveraged digital as a transformative force. She has created ideas and growth for clients such as Mars Global Petcare, Frito-Lay, Kraft, AT&T, Wrigley, Abbott, and Prologis.
Carol earned an MBA in Management and Finance from the Stern School of Business at New York University and an undergraduate degree in Finance from LaSalle University.
Marketing + Operations Associate
Matt works to help support the Red Idea team across a wide variety of operational activities, as well as supporting the company's sales and marketing initiatives. Matt is a graduate of Fort Lewis College with a B.S. in International Relations.
Matt has been with Red Idea since early 2016.
Graphic Design + Operations Associate
Brandt joined Red Idea Partners in early 2017 with a diverse background in both scrappy startups and large corporations. Growing up in a small, family thrift store business he developed an entrepreneurial spirit that has left him endlessly curious. Brandt now supports Red Idea on multiple levels including graphic design, research, and a wide variety of operational activities.
Prior to Red Idea, Brandt worked numerous jobs throughout his collegiate career at CU Boulder. He was a butcher at Whole Foods Market, assisted in the strategic growth of Shinesty through marketing outreach & research, warehouse & inventory organization, and shipping logistics. Shinesty has since grown from three guys operating out of a friend's garage with limited product SKUs to a multi-million dollar company with over 30 team members and its own TV show on MTV.
Brandt also worked with Warren Miller Entertainment, creating graphic content and designing market-specific slideshows to be played at each venue of Warren Miller’s 66th annual film, Chasing Shadows.
Brandt graduated in 2016 from the Leeds School of Business at CU Boulder with degrees in Operations and HR Management. He also earned a certificate in Technology, Arts, and Media through the CU Boulder ATLAS Institute.
Marketing + Media
Kiersten is a storyteller at heart with a background in video editing and a love of the written word. She entered the Red Idea ecosystem in mid-2017 to guide publishing and marketing efforts for Cooper’s Curious and Crafted Kite Company, written by the firm’s CEO, Ross Shell.
Now she supports Red Idea itself, its Launch Works companies, and its consulting clients. Copywriting, email marketing, social media strategy, coordinating logistics, and editing pitch videos are a few tasks you may find her engrossed in daily.
Prior to Red Idea, Kiersten edited marketing and event videos for businesses and nonprofits, as well as wedding films. She spent time as an internal Media Producer for Luxottica Retail North America, supporting Pearl Vision, Target Optical, and Sunglass Hut brands. Other experience includes blogging for her university Enrollment Management department for four years, acting as Marketing Assistant at an engineering software company, producing and editing technical training videos for a healthcare television company, and managing social media for musical artists AM & Shawn Lee.
Kiersten graduated summa cum laude in 2012 from the University of Dayton with a BA in Communication and French and minors in Psychology and Film Studies.