"I and love and you", the all-natural total pet care company, announced that it has received a growth capital investment from Chicago-based Winona Capital Management to fuel additional business growth.
"We are excited to back a team of highly experienced professionals in the natural pet care market," said Jason Sowers, principal, Winona Capital Management. "We believe the company is poised to capture significant national market share with its compelling brand story, high quality products, and value proposition."
"I and love and you" is positioning itself as a leader in the ultra-premium pet food and pet care market, capturing more than a third of the total pet category growth in the natural channel in 2013. New product launches are planned and significant retailer partnerships are expected to be announced in summer 2014.
"This strategic investment from Winona Capital Management will enable us to become a defining voice in what optimal nutrition and whole pet health mean for the broader pet market," said Steve Ball, CEO and cofounder of "I and love and you". "What's more, the Winona Capital partnership provides us additional access to a depth of experience in supporting high growth brands."
As part of the "I and love and you" growth strategy, the company recently hired Brett Atkinson as vice president of operations and Zach DeAngelo as director of sales. Atkinson previously served as director of supply chain at The Boston Beer Co. and DeAngelo was previously COO at Little Duck Organics.
The initial investment partner of "I and love and you", Revelry Brands, has supported the company's growth since its launch in 2012. Revelry Brands, an investment group co-founded and led by Brendan Synnott, the cofounder of Bear Naked, EVOL, and "I and love and you" will continue to hold majority ownership in "I and love and you".
"Revelry Brands was the first investor to see the market potential for our all-natural total pet care solution, and they have been instrumental in defining our brand," said Ball. "This partnership with Winona Capital is the next step in achieving the goals and building the brand Revelry helped us to develop."
The natural pet care market has experienced rapid growth in the U.S. in the last several years. This trend is expected to continue as increases in pet ownership and disposable income as well as the humanization of pets drive demand for premium pet products and services. Consumers are paying close attention to pet wellness and are seeking the safest, most nutritious products available.
Winona Capital Management has previously funded companies such as Dragon Alliance, Peter Millar, Johnny's Fine Foods, Petsense and KJUS. Bryan Jaffe of Cascadia Capital, a Seattle based investment bank with expertise in the pet industry, acted as exclusive financial advisor to the company on the transaction.