Meet the Team
Co-Founder & Co-CEO
Tyler is the inspiration for Cool Beans. Having gone vegan several years ago, he found that the convenient foods available at the grocery store were not filled with very clean ingredients, over processed, and very little flavor. So he started cooking his own wraps.
Tyler has over 20 years of private equity investing experience including the Co-Manager of the $155 million Advantage Capital Food & Ag Fund. The Fund focuses on investing in growth companies in sustainable agriculture and better for your food. Tyler has been involved with several high growth companies including Boca Burger (before it was sold to Kraft), Simple Mills and Farmhouse Culture. He sits on the Board of a number of companies including Shenandoah Growers, Farmhouse Culture and Snaxsational Brands. Tyler is also a Board Member of Naturally Chicago and ACG Chicago. Brand Experience: Boca Burger, Simple Mills, Farmhouse Culture, SnackPop, Tiesta Tea, Lavva
Co- Founder & Co-CEO
As a co-founder at Cool Beans, Mike is focused on intelligently scale the business A career in high growth operations, Mike knows all the tactics to build a grat company.
Mike is also an advisor/investor for early-stage companies normally in the $10 to $50 million in sales. He works at the intersection of food, technology and last mile He is currently on the board of three companies. And, is an adviser with companies like Farmers Fridge and Farmstead among others. Previously Mike was Senior Vice President and COO at Peapod. For 19 years growing the company from $7 million to nearly $1 billion in sales. He worked across Marketing, Merchandising, Customer Service and Transportation overseeing the consumer offering and go-to market strategy. Prior to joining Peapod, Mike was at the Management Consulting firm A.T. Kearney. He was a Principal focusing on business and marketing strategy. Prior to A.T. Kearney he worked at the Procter and Gamble Company. Mike is a graduate of the University of Illinois and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern. Brand Experience: Peapod, Farmers Fridge, Kiwicampus, Kitchfix, Chowly, and Vosges.
Caryn Rowe Africk
Co-Founder & Sales and Marketing Leader
Caryn is focused on driving Cool Beans’ retail growth along with our the very Cool Beans brand.
Caryn is a multi-disciplined executive with leadership experience in business strategy, marketing, sales, digital transformation, and operations. Industry experience is broad- ecommerce, CPG product development, technology, professional services, and manufacturing; spanning multi-billion dollar to private equity early-stage companies. Caryn has counseled corporate leaders and boards on growth strategies, strategic leverage of technology, and organizational assessments. Recent engagements included product development for high growth meal kit business, grocery ecommerce merchandising, and a new strategic plan for one of Chicago’s largest nonprofits. A yogi at heart feeds a balance and wisdom to find peace and gratitude each and every day. Brand Experience: Peapod, Seeds of Change, Barilla, Wildfire, Big Bowl, Hewitt Associates, YMCA of Metro Chicago. GCI
Eric helped launch Cool Beans with his deep experience as a start-up CEO.
Eric has nearly 20 years of experience in sales, marketing and operations in the Natural Products industry, with diverse experience managing upstart companies and launching new brands and products. Eric is the co-founder of Steaz, which was strategically acquired in 2016, and co-founder of BeyondBrands and Good Catch. Eric is the recipient of the 2007 Sustainable Business of the Year Award, 4-time winner of the BevNET.com Best Product of the Year Award, and a Beverage World Magazine Top 50 Disruptor for 2016. Brand Experience: Steaz, Runa, Good Catch, I AM, Country Life
Plant-based companies need more than sunshine and water to thrive; they need Mark. Mark not only uses his passion for veganism and plants to grow brands, but also his expertise in business operations, project management, and brand development.
For the past 14 years Mark has increased the reach and impact of the plant-based foods movement with his team-first leadership approach, ability to manage projects across complex organizations, and jack-of-all-trades skillset. Mark lives with his plant-based family (he has twins!) in Los Angeles where he is an aspiring minimalist who is always on the lookout for new innovations, plant-based restaurants, and vegan recipes. Brand Experience: Candle Cafe, Candle 79, Matthew Kenney Cuisine, Plant Food + Wine, Double Zero, Make Out, Arata, Oliver’s Montecito, Plant Café Bahrain, Outstanding Foods, Apura Farms.