Brand New Brands, Inc. Launched to Develop 'Functional' Foods & Beverages; Announces $15 Million in Funding

MILL VALLEY, Calif., Feb 14, 2005 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Function is the future of food. That's the basic proposition behind Brand New Brands, Inc., a new company formed to develop great-tasting food and beverage products that incorporate health-promoting ingredients. Backed by leading investors in the health and wellness sector, Brand New Brands has raised $15 million in venture capital from Burrill & Company, Great Spirit Ventures, Unilever Ventures and Prolog Ventures.

The new company has blossomed from the talents and expertise of three co-founders who combine a wealth of food and nutrition experience and a passion to bring healthier products to market: Greg Horn, former CEO of General Nutrition Centers; Pete Mattson, Chairman of Mattson & Company, a leading food products developer, and William Rosenzweig, co-founder and former CEO of the Republic of Tea and former Executive VP at Odwalla. Rosenzweig will serve as the company's CEO.

"Brand New Brands will bring real function to the emerging market for functional foods and beverages, a $20+ billion category," said Horn, who will lead nutrition and concept development. "And having access to the best food and ingredient companies in the world as investors will provide us with strategic advantages."

"Brand New Brands bridges the gap between advances in nutrition research and the large numbers of people who could reap its benefits," said Rosenzweig. "Our business model takes the nutrition business to the next level by creating values-based, consumer-friendly brands that deliver health benefits in tasty, convenient packages."

Brand New Brands will orchestrate the complex entrepreneurial processes required to develop, test and launch new food products nimbly and efficiently, spreading the risk of innovation across a portfolio of brands. "This is a business model we have been dreaming about for years," said Pete Mattson.

Proven brands will be spun off into stand-alone companies that ultimately will be sold once they reach appropriate size and scale. "This is a model for creating value that could reinvent the way food companies innovate," said Jim Todd, Director of Great Spirit Ventures, the investment arm of A.M. Todd Group, which provided the seed capital for the company in early 2004.

"As investors in the health and wellness space, we have long known that quality science without a creative product concept and effective marketing is doomed to fail in commercialization. We are pleased to work with the best product developers and marketers to develop the Brand New Brands strategy and to see new science-backed products successfully launched into the health and wellness space," said Roger Wyse, Managing Director of Burrill & Company, who led the $15 million investment.

"As we learn more about the linkage between diet and genetics, it is clear that nutrition can play an even more important role in health," said Gregory Benning, Managing Director at Adams, Harkness and Hill in Boston. "Major food and beverage companies are scrambling to make foods healthier in order to fill growing consumer demand. But big companies are geared to large volumes, so they typically innovate through acquisition once nascent brands have established a market and reached a minimum sales threshold."

"We will operate more like a boutique movie studio than a big food company," noted Rosenzweig, who has spent the past year studying the way creative resources and decision making are applied at companies with proven success in innovation. "We're leveraging the talents of extremely capable and creative people with the resources and reach of global strategic partners."

The first Brand New Brands are expected to premier in test markets in late

Brand New Brands' mission is to develop and market innovative functional food and beverage products that combine great taste and convenience with clinically proven health benefits -- products that taste good and are good for you. Founded in 2004 by a trio of nutrition and natural-food industry veterans, Brand New Brands plans to capture a share of the $20 billion functional food market being fueled by aging baby boomers and consumers proactively involved in promoting health and wellness through nutrition. The privately held company is headquartered in Mill Valley, California.

About Burrill & Company

Burrill & Company is a life sciences merchant bank, focused exclusively on companies involved in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, human healthcare and related medical technologies, wellness and nutraceuticals, agricultural technologies, and industrial biotechnology (biomaterials/bioprocesses). Burrill & Company has over $500 Million under management in its family of venture capital funds, and has one of the premier strategic advisory and partnering practices in the life sciences.

About Great Spirit Ventures

Great Spirit Ventures (GSV) is an early-stage venture capital fund committed to enhancing the growth of exceptional companies in the branded consumer products, health care, and biotechnology industries. Launched in 2003, Great Spirit Ventures is the wholly-owned venture development capability of the A.M. Todd Group, a 135 year-old firm specializing in food flavors, ingredients, and specialty agriculture. A.M. Todd's research and development capabilities augment GSV's private equity expertise to provide portfolio companies with the capital, knowledge, network, and services necessary for success.

About Unilever Ventures

Unilever Ventures (UV) provides venture capital for early stage consumer facing and technology companies. Backed by Unilever, one of the largest and most successful consumer goods companies in the world, UV has investments in a number of new businesses, originating from both within and outside of Unilever.

About Prolog Ventures

Prolog Ventures is a venture capital firm emphasizing early-stage investments in life sciences and related information technologies. Its managers have extensive experience with emerging enterprises as both investors and direct participants. Prolog is an active, hands-on investor and works closely with its portfolio companies on refining strategy, sharpening execution and building strong management.

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