Natural Foods Merchandiser

Izze Fizzes with $6.35 Million Investment

Boulder, Colo.-based Izze Beverage Co. has closed its first institutional funding round, landing $6.35 million from three venture capital firms.

Sherbrooke Capital of Newton Lower Falls, Mass., led the round, along with two Boulder-based private equity firms, Tango Group and Greenmont Capital Partners. Each of the companies took one seat on Izze's board of directors.

Izze President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Woloson said the proceeds from the financing round will build the sparkling juice's distribution network, consumer marketing and production capacity.

"It got a little bit tight during the warm weather last year," Woloson said. Izze's six flavors are sold through 90 distributors around the country, appearing in Wild Oats, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Target and many naturals stores.

Woloson said the expanded board met for the first time Jan. 17. "There's a great chemistry between the three new partners," who include John Giannuzzi, managing general partner at Sherbrooke; Tango partner Jerome Contro; and Greenmont general partner S.M. "Hass" Hassan, a co-founder of Alfalfa's and Fresh & Wild natural supermarkets.

It's the first investment for Greenmont, formed by a collection of naturals-industry old-timers, including Hassan. "[Izze] definitely is a good fit for our fund," Greemont managing partner David Link said.

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