Rafael de la Cruz
Serial entrepreneur, angel investor and strategic advisor with over two decades of experience in marketing innovation, Rafael has led teams in successfully launching and branding a variety of products, creating new categories and effectively connecting with the most elusive audiences. He serves as a member of the investor selection committee for the Arcview Group and is an executive advisor to the Southern California Cannabis Business & Investment Group. After a period of consulting several tech startups, Rafael joined the team that re-booted Pepsi’s Mountain Dew utilizing action sports, urban music and influencer culture (Do the Dew!), taking it from obscurity to the Number 4 position in the carbonated soft drink category. He was brought on to manage and execute several national client programs including the development of Marlboro’s on-premise strategy for Philip-Morris International, Spanish language field marketing for Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol and nightlife influencer projects for various Diageo and Bacardi brands. Mr. De La Cruz was recruited to be part of the core marketing team at glacéau – makers of vitaminwater & smartwater. Rafael created and executed a series of both sales & marketing initiatives that supported the company’s doubling of revenue year after year, resulting in the largest acquisition of its kind in the beverage category ($4.2 billion) by The Coca-Cola Company (KO – NYSE). Rafael has since then held several executive positions overseeing marketing and operations with early-stage companies. He manages capital, strategy and advisory services thru Universal Brand Ventures for early-stage companies in the cannabis industry.