Three industry veterans with more than 70 years combined experience in the natural products industry recently announced the formation of Boulder Investment Group Reprise (BIGR), an investment fund targeted at the natural products industry.
The group is most interested in supporting early-stage natural food and beverage companies.
In 2013, Bill Weiland, CEO and co-founder of Presence Marketing, and former Boulder Brands executives Carole Buyers and Duane Primozich, launched Boulder Brands Investment Group, an in-house fund that helped fuel wildly successful companies like Suja Juice, acquired by Coca-Cola, and EPIC Bar, acquired by General Mills. Now, the trio will spearhead BIGR, which raised $55 million in capital commitments.
“Because of our background, we can be most helpful for early stage companies,” says Primozich. “Bill allows us to flex the muscle of the largest independent natural foods broker in the U.S.; Carole was a Wall Street analyst for many years and has an astute understand of natural companies. She has a very good finance mind… I have been running and starting and advising natural food companies my whole life. We all get very involved in these businesses to help them scale." Weiland, Buyers and Primozich plan to employ their deep industry expertise to help grow invested brands.
To date, BIGR has invested in three companies pioneering in wholesome ingredients and product usability: Live Beverages, makers of kombucha and low-sugar sparkling drinking vinegars; Hope Foods, makers of HPP organic hummus; and Bonafide Provisions, makers of organic bone broth. But, Primozich says, they aren’t done investing for this year, adding that he, Buyers and Weiland are particularly excited about the grain-free trend and innovation in the beverage category.
While product formulation (taste, ingredients, sourcing, nutrition) is instrumental in choosing which companies to invest in, Primozich says founder ethos plays a large role. “We’re intentional about investing in companies that will propagate the value of the industry. The strongest [brands] are those who have a broadly defined mission woven into their purpose.”
Primozich adds that he and his partners are interested in companies that think about what kind of difference they can make in the world, rather than just scaling in size. “We hold those values dear.”
BIGR will invest the $55 million over five years, likely in seven to ten companies.