MetaBrand Capital, a “conscious capital” private equity firm and the investment pillar of MetaBrand—a full-service advisory group providing product formulation, outsourced operations, and sales and marketing services to natural, organic and functional food, beverage and supplement brands—announced its strategy for 2015 in which it will seek to make investments in three companies that meet the fund’s criteria, by the fourth quarter of this year. The company will kick off its search for investment opportunities at the upcoming Natural Products Expo West show in Anaheim, Calif., where it will host the New Hope Pitch-Slam event and will be exhibiting at booth #5668.
The company will provide growth capital to purpose-based, natural channel brands that are beyond proof-of-concept, but are still in the process of scaling. “Securing early-stage funding is often the most complex challenge natural products companies face, particularly when there is a spike in growth that requires working capital to keep pace with expansion,” said MetaBrand founder Eric Schnell. “MetaBrand Capital will provide companies on a steep growth trajectory with access to “smart money” at a stage that is considered early by industry standards. We believe that our differentiation as a value-added consulting firm puts us in a unique position to invest in companies that demonstrate strong growth potential in areas that are trending and in which the company is fulfilling an unmet need.”
MetaBrand Capital’s first investment was made in the fall of 2014 into fellow certified B Corporation, Runa Tea, an organic, fair-trade beverage company that processes and sells a line of products made with the Amazonian super-food ingredient guayusa. This year, the company will extend its reach into other health and wellness categories, such as snacks, supplements and ingredient platforms, with investments in the range of $1 million to $5 million. In addition, MetaBrand Capital is prepared to structure add-on debt financing to support finished goods inventory and receivables, where appropriate.
The company also announced the appointment of three managing partners: Ivan Abrams, Jim Arsenault and Gertrude Allen, who will be responsible for overall management of the new investments. They will be supported by members of the MetaBrand management team and its wide array of industry-leading consultants, the culmination of which make MetaBrand a strong strategic partner to emerging growth companies in need of additional skills, knowledge, and expertise.
The expansion of MetaBrand Capital’s advisory team was also announced, with the appointment of two new advisory partners: Brad Barnhorn, well-respected industry veteran who currently serves as an active board member for ten leading growth-stage companies, including Krave Jerky, KeVita, Health Warrior, Zola, Red Rabbit, and Rhythm SuperFoods, and Jeremiah McElwee, natural products industry leader who has served on all sides of the business and supply chain, from seed to shelf, with seven years as the Executive Global Coordinator for the Beauty, Apparel & Wellness categories at Whole Foods Market. “We are thrilled to have our longtime friends and natural channel colleagues Brad and Jeremiah join our advisory team,” said Schnell. “Their experience cuts across all critical strategic and operational dimensions of successful company-building in the consumer space, and they will be an invaluable resource to our portfolio companies.”