March 23, 2021

Snacking on Margins

with Amit Pandhi, CEO of Velocity Snack Brands

About this episode

Formed by private equity firm VMG Partners in 2019, Velocity Snack Brands seeks to acquire, develop and grow a portfolio of leading better-for-you snack brands. Following the recent acquisition of PopChips, Velocity Snack Brands has already launched two new product lines under the PopChips brand, including grain free and corn popped chips. In this episode, Velocity’s CEO, Amit Pandhi, shares with us his journey from stocking shelves as a kid at his parents gift shop, to working in investment banking, to spending almost a decade building a low calorie dessert brand called Arctic Zero, to partnering with VMG Partners, where he currently leads Velocity Snack Brands. He talks with us about his leadership style, how to have an effective meeting, why margins matter most, how to think about packaging and how he evaluates companies.

This episode is sponsored by

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • How his parents’ business and his upbringing created the drive to work hard and how Amit’s always been an entrepreneur
  • What he learned in college at Penn, why he went into investment banking upon graduation, and what got him back into being an operator 
  • What valuable business lessons he learned while in private equity working with a variety of companies and processing a lot of what would become a part of his leadership style
  • What he learned from his ten years of building Arctic Zero, self-funded, with a supportive team and why his wife won’t go grocery shopping with him anymore
  • What led to the start of Velocity Snack Brands and why they are able to create incredible opportunities for great brands who serve a niche better-for-you snack market
  • What lessons were learned and difficulties persevered through during COVID and what has changed within the organization because of it
  • How Amit and his team do meetings differently and why they are always striving to make meetings more efficient, more decision oriented, and time sensitive for everyone on the team
  • Why the way interviews are conducted at Velocity helps train the whole team to be more equipped for future leadership and also gives everyone ownership in the process
  • Why Amit believes that vulnerability and transparency are crucial in leading a successful organization and scaling a company for the long term

To Find Out More:



“I feel like this is why representation actually matters so much. You have to be able to see something and see yourself in that position in order to achieve it.”

“Really if I can do your job better than you, you shouldn't work for me. I really shouldn't be able to do anyone's job.” 

“I really believe in the best idea winning regardless of the position or title.”

“I also think there's no job that I won't do. I mean, whether it's wiping counters, taking out the trash, I believe no job is beneath any of us. And we're all rowing on the boat together. So all the efforts help.”

“At some point, you have to understand that there has to be a market and a price fit for your product.”

“I always tell my team, never, never accept the status quo. Never accept no. Or "That's the way it is." Or "That's the way other people do it." 

“I think bringing a data driven approach to both pitching the product, to developing the product, to selling the product is really critical in today's marketplace.”

“You have to have some emotional connectivity to consumers. You have to resonate with them.”

“I think the magic is really in figuring out what consumers love your brand or what consumers to target and what is the true messaging that resonates with them.”

“My belief is that there are a lot of great brands out there who do have that emotional connectivity to their consumer base and do service a niche demographic. And they deserve to be.”

“If you're only in a swirl, you can't think upstream. And it's really as a leader, it's our job to think upstream.”

“Meetings should not just be informational, because then you should just share the info. Send an email. Right? And so just even little things like that free up people's time and energy to focus on strategy.”

“All meetings need to have in the first sentence of the invite, "This meeting is to discuss X in order to decide Y." And so that forces a decision from each meeting. Meetings should be 10 percent informational, 50 percent discussion, 40 percent decision or action oriented.”

“I think that I get the best out of my team when I'm honest with them, when I'm human with them and we make mistakes like the rest of them. And so I think just being able to say that allows you to be human.”

“I can't expect transparency and accountability from my team if I can't be transparent and accountable to them.”

“Hopefully every mistake and everything you want to change, you change. There's always time. There's time now. Let's make that impact and move forward.”

“You have to empower the team to do the work, and you have to empower the team to make the decisions. And part of that is trusting. Part of that is verifying. And part of that is training.”

Read the transcript

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