Zico Beverage Brand Founder Buys Company Back From Coca-Cola

Zico Beverage品牌创始人从可口可乐手中买回公司

2021/01/14 20:30  Dow Jones Newswires

DJ Zico Beverage Brand Founder Buys Company Back From Coca-Cola


By Isaac Taylor

Zico Beverages LLC founder Mark Rampolla is bringing his beverage baby back home after seven years apart.

PowerPlant Ventures, a venture-capital firm co-founded by Mr. Rampolla that backs emerging plant-based products and brands, acquired coconut water-based beverage brand Zico from the Coca-Cola Co. and will rename it Zico Rising.

The deal reunites Mr. Rampolla with a beverage brand he created in 2004 after discovering the benefits of coconut water while serving in Central America with the Peace Corps.

He ultimately sold the brand to Coca-Cola in 2013, several years after the beverage giant's corporate venturing arm invested in Zico.

But last year, when Coca-Cola announced it would scrap nearly 200 brands, including Zico, Mr. Rampolla saw an opportunity to rebuild the brand he had created.

"2021 is going to be about making sure we've got the right foundation," Mr. Rampolla said, adding that he plans to re-establish partnerships with retailers and ensure Zico's supply chain is ready to scale.

Although he said he believes Coca-Cola is an amazing organization, he added that he thought the beverage giant's skill set is probably better suited to supporting large, core brands rather than smaller emerging ones.

In the years since he sold Zico, Mr. Rampolla and his firm PowerPlant have gotten plenty of experience nurturing up-and-coming new brands in the plant-based food sector.

"I've had the good fortune over the last seven years to personally invest in [over 40 companies]," Mr. Rampolla said. "We look at about 600 deals a year. What has helped is my pattern recognition...Staying ahead of trends, not only just with products but ways to communicate with consumers."

PowerPlant raised around $42 million for its first fund in 2015 from previous investors in Zico as well as large family offices and institutions. The firm backed 17 companies out of that fund, taking relatively small positions. At least four of those brands have grown into companies valued at more than $1 billion, including plant-based alternative meat brand Beyond Meat Inc., online food retailer Thrive Market and Eat JUST Inc., which produces plant-based egg substitute brand JUST.

The firm's success with its early fund helped it raise a much larger second fund, which closed in 2019.

"Our second fund [closed at] $167 million and that was much more growth capital-like," Mr. Rampolla said. "We're investing out of that fund right now. We'll only make 10 to 12 investments out of that fund."

The firm plans to take more concentrated positions out of its second fund -- typically 20% to 100% stakes -- which is what it has done with Zico, according to Mr. Rampolla.

The fund targets companies with annual revenue ranging from $5 million to $25 million. So far it has backed 10 companies from the second fund, including Zico.

Write to Isaac Taylor at issac.taylor@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 14, 2021 07:30 ET (12:30 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

DJ Zico饮料品牌创始人从可口可乐手中买回公司


艾萨克·泰勒(Isaac Taylor)著

Zico Beverages LLC创始人马克·兰波拉(Mark Rampolla)在分离七年后将他的饮料宝宝带回家。

兰波拉与人共同创立的风险投资公司PowerPlant Ventures从可口可乐公司(Coca-Cola Co.)手中收购了椰子水饮料品牌Zico,并将其更名为Zico Rise。PowerPlant Ventures是一家支持新兴植物性产品和品牌的风险投资公司。

这笔交易让兰波拉与他在2004年创建的一个饮料品牌重聚,当时他在中美洲为和平队服务时发现了椰子水的好处。

2013年,在饮料巨头可口可乐(Coca-Cola)的企业风险投资部门投资Zico几年后,他最终将该品牌出售给了可口可乐(Coca-Cola)。

但去年,当可口可乐(Coca-Cola)宣布将废弃包括Zico在内的近200个品牌时,兰波拉看到了重建自己创建的品牌的机会。

兰波拉说,“2021年将确保我们拥有合适的基础。”他补充说,他计划与零售商重新建立合作伙伴关系,确保Zico的供应链已经做好了扩大的准备。

虽然他说他相信可口可乐是一个令人惊叹的组织,但他补充说,他认为这家饮料巨头的技能可能更适合支持大型核心品牌,而不是规模较小的新兴品牌。

在出售Zico后的几年里,兰波拉和他的公司PowerPlant在植物性食品领域培育后起之秀的新品牌方面积累了丰富的经验。

“在过去的七年里,我有幸亲自投资于[40多家公司]“兰波拉说,”我们一年大约有600笔交易。这得益于我的模式识别能力……不仅在产品上,而且在与消费者沟通的方式上都走在了潮流的前列。“

PowerPlant在2015年从Zico的之前投资者以及大型家族理财室和机构那里为其第一只基金筹集了约4200万美元。该公司从该基金中支持了17家公司,持有相对较小的头寸。其中至少有四个品牌已经成长为估值超过10亿美元的公司,包括植物性替代肉类品牌Beyond Meat Inc.、在线食品零售商Thrive Market和生产植物性鸡蛋替代品品牌Just的Eat Just Inc.。

该公司早期基金的成功帮助它筹集了规模大得多的第二只基金,该基金于2019年关闭。

“我们的第二只基金[关闭时间:]1.67亿美元,这更像是增长资本,“兰波拉说,”我们现在正从这只基金中进行投资。我们只会从这笔基金中进行10到12项投资。“

兰波拉说,该公司计划从其第二只基金中撤出更集中的头寸,通常是20%至100%的股份,这就是它对Zico所做的事情。

该基金的目标客户是年收入在500万美元至2500万美元之间的公司。到目前为止,它已经从第二只基金投资了10家公司,其中包括Zico。

写信给艾萨克·泰勒(Isaac Taylor),电子邮件:isac.taylor@wsj.com

(完)道琼斯通讯社

美国东部时间2021年1月14日07:30(格林尼治标准时间12:30)

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