Jessica Kates is a co-founder and managing partner of Rellevant Partners, a New York-based private equity firm specializing in growth equity investments in early-stage restaurant concepts, restaurant technology, and food & beverage. Armed with almost twenty years of private equity and C-level operating experience an MBA from Harvard, Jessica launched the firm in 2019 with co-founder Janice Meyer with a single mission—to support the next generation of culinary champions.
In an industry where there exist only a handful of restaurant-focused private equity firms, Rellevant Partners is a unique niche within a niche. While most other firms are consumer focused with a restaurant vertical if the idea is “sexy,” Jessica and Janice focus on the entrepreneurs behind the concepts, serving their clients with a combined 35+ years of specialized investment expertise to bring a competitive advantage to their portfolio companies.
“We both come from the restaurant investing space,” Jessica explains. “With Janice’s experience in advising and analyzing restaurant companies and my experience in private equity and operations, our skills and knowledge are very complementary. We know what to look at, and we can see the whole picture to identify often-overlooked opportunities and help businesses grow to dominate their field.”
Born with an entrepreneurial spirit, Jessica’s path to launching a firm that serves her passions for finance and entrepreneurship was forged right out of college. After graduating with Great Distinction on the Dean’s Honor List from McGill University in Montreal with a double concentration in finance and international business, Jessica began her career in private equity in 2000 as an analyst with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Two years later, she joined L Catterton (formerly Catterton Partners) as a senior associate focused on restaurants, consumer products, and retail.
After serving 10 years in senior leadership roles and accumulating specialized skills and knowledge in finance and operations in the restaurant sector, Jessica followed the urging of her entrepreneurial spirit to help otherwise-overlooked entrepreneurs in the restaurant space to thrive. Thus, a rare female-founded private equity firm was born—Rellevant Partners.
“Janice and I both started on Wall Street, a heavily male-dominated industry. As women, our perspective is extremely different and we have a distinctive approach to investments. And because we’ve spent most of our careers in the restaurant investing niche, we also have a unique perspective and a vast network to help our clients build an enduring business,” Jessica shares.
Co-founder & Managing Partner — Rellevant Partners