Management and Directors


Paresh Patel, President, Chief Executive Officer, Director

Paresh is our co-founder, and serves as President and Chief Executive Officer, and is also a Director. Paresh has managed his private investment office, Sandstone Investments, since 2014. From 2005 to 2014, Paresh was the founder and Managing Partner of Sandstone Capital, an investment fund managing more than $1.0 billion and focused on long-term investments in public and private companies in Asia. Sandstone invests in a wide range of industries with a focus on pharmaceuticals, financial services and technology. From 2000 to 2004, Paresh was the founder of Sparta Group, a multi-billion dollar family office. Paresh’s more notable private investments include Bharat Financial (IPO 2010), A123 Systems (IPO 2009), Tejas Networks (IPO 2014), AU SFB (IPO 2014), Relicore (acquired by Symantec in 2006), Airvana (IPO 2007), and Flipkart (acquired by Walmart in 2018), Simulate (formerly NUGGS), VelocityDx, and GrapheneDx. Paresh has served on the board of several public and private businesses in the US and India. Paresh also served as a director for Harvard Business School India and was an Executive Producer of the 2018 documentary film, “The Game Changers” that advocates the health benefits of a plant-based diet for high performance athletes as well as for general population. Paresh received an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BA from Boston College.


Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni, Director, Chair of the Board

Sebastiano is our co-founder and serves as the Chairman of the Board. He is an entrepreneur, activist, and advisor to businesses, governments, and nonprofits around the world. For many years, he has been an investor in a wide range of fields, from bioscience to food, from agriculture to technology. Directly or through his partnerships, Sebastiano is an investor in over 60 companies in the plant-based food and beverage sector. In December 2017, he founded a private investment fund, Dismatrix, and has served as its director ever since. In that same year, Sebastiano joined NRS New Reality Solutions, a convergent innovation platform leveraging bioscience and data science, as a Senior Advisor and an investor. Since April 2019, he has also been a partner in the Blue Horizon Group, a leading worldwide investor in plant-based companies. Since October of the same year, he has served as the co-managing partner and director of Dismatrix Group, which focuses on venture capital and private equity investments across tech, consumer, and food revolutions, including alt-proteins. Sebastiano is also a co-owner and honorary chairman of Querciabella, a Tuscan organic, biodynamic, and vegan winery that has garnered international acclaim. He recently founded the gluten-free pasta brand Bontasana, and Skyrunner Foods, a revolutionary baby food company. A longtime animal rights activist, Sebastiano supports several global nonprofits working to end the exploitation of animals. He serves on the boards of Animal Outlook (since 2018) and the Culture & Animals Foundation (since 2018) as well as on the advisory boards of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (since 2008), Animal Equality (since 2019), the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (since 2020), and Project Coyote (since 2020). In 2020, Sebastiano founded the Plant-Based Empowerment Foundation, a nonprofit operating in rural Senegal that is dedicated to providing children and women access to education, healthcare, and nourishing plant-based food. Sebastiano served as advisor to Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi from 2014 to 2016.


John Ritacco, CPA, Chief Financial Officer, Secretary

John is our Chief Financial Officer. Previously, from February 2019 through August 2021, John served as the CFO for investment management clients of Ritacco Consulting LLC. From June 2015 through February 2019, he served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Frontlight Capital LP, a global macro hedge fund manager that he helped launch. Prior to that, John was the Chief Financial Officer for Clough Capital Partners, L.P., a multi-billion-dollar global equity-focused investment management firm, where he served from January 2011 through May 2015. From April 2001 through January 2011, he was a Vice President and Associate at Wellington Management, where he provided operational support for their hedge fund platform. He was a Vice President and Director of Fund Accounting and Administration at PFPC (currently part of BNY Mellon) from August 1998 through March 2001. John began his career as an auditor in the financial services practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, where he provided audit and attestation services for investment management clients from August 1992 through July 1998. John received his BS in Accounting and Economics from Babson College, where he graduated in May 1992. He is a Certified Public Accountant, and a member of both the American Institute of CPAs and the Massachusetts Society of CPAs.

Independent Directors


Max H. Bazerman, Independent Director

Max has been a Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School since 2000. His recent books include Better, Not Perfect (2020), The Power of Experiments (2020, with Michael Luca), The Power of Noticing (2014), Judgment in Managerial Decision Making (2013, with Don Moore), and Blind Spots (2011, with Ann Tenbrunsel) and has published over 250 papers. Max has been at Harvard Business School since 2000, and before that was a Professor at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University (1985-2000), and an Assistant Professor at the Sloan School of Management at MIT (1983-1985), the School of Management at Boston University (1981-1983), and the Business School at the University of Texas (1979-1980). Max received an honorary doctorate from the University of London, the Life Achievement Award from the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program, the Distinguished Educator Award from the Academy of Management, the Academy of Management Career Award for Scholarly Contributions to Management, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Organizational Behavior Division of the Academy of Management. His professional activities include projects with Abbott, Aetna, AIG, Alcar, Alcoa, Allstate, Ameritech, Amgen, Apax Partners, Asian Development Bank, AstraZeneca, AT&T, Aventis, BASF, Bayer, Becton Dickenson, Biogen, Boston Scientific, BP, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Business Week, Celtic Insurance, Chevron, Chicago Tribune, City of Chicago, among others. Max’s consulting, teaching, and lecturing includes work in 30 countries. Dr. Bazerman earned a BS from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, MS and Ph.D. from Carnegie-Mellon University.


Jaspaul Singh, Independent Director, Audit Committee (Chair), Compensation Committee (Chair)

Jaspaul has served as the Chairman and CEO of Interon Laboratories, a pre-clinical biotechnology company focused on novel therapeutics in neurobiology and immunology, since September 2020. Prior to Interon, from 2017 to 2020, Jaspaul was a private investor. From 2013 to 2017, Jaspaul was the Founder, Managing Partner, and Portfolio Manager of Fort Warren Capital Management, a Boston-based hedge fund that invests opportunistically long/short across the capital structure in complex, event-driven, distressed, and special situations. Previously, from 2007 to 2013, Jaspaul was Senior Investment Analyst at Regiment Capital Advisors, a credit hedge fund that was spun out of Harvard Management Company. While at Regiment, Jaspaul led investments in the basic industrials, paper/packaging, business services, specialty finance and selected healthcare and consumer sectors. Prior to Regiment, from 2002 to 2006, Jaspaul was a Senior Analyst at Hammerman Capital Management, a capital structure arbitrage fund. Jaspaul began his career as an Analyst in the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs. Jaspaul is a member of the National Board of Advisors of the Sikh Coalition, a civil rights advocacy group. He is also a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Jaspaul received his MBA from Harvard University, an MPHIL from the University of Cambridge (UK), and a BA with Honors from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a University Scholar.


Jennifer Stojkovic, Independent Director

Jennifer has served as the founder and chief executive officer of Vegan Women Summit (VWS), a global platform focused on empowering women entrepreneurs and professionals in the future of food, since 2020. She is a frequent author for Rolling Stone and her debut book, The Future of Food is Female, which was released on April 5, 2022. In addition, Jennifer has served as the executive director of, a San Francisco-based advocacy firm focused on technology and innovation, since 2016. Prior to VWS and, she served as director of community relations at the United Way from 2012 to 2015. Jennifer has acted as an advisor, board member, and private investor in the food tech industry since 2018. She currently sits on the board of directors of Charlie’s Acres, as well as the advisory board of the Better Food Foundation and Mercy for Animals.