LOS ANGELES, United States — Plant-based beverage brand Califia Farms has closed a $50m funding round led by investment bank Ambrosia Investments, with participation from actors Jared Leto and Leonardo DiCaprio.
The funding will allow Califia Farms to further pursue its vision of becoming the leading plant-powered food and beverage company of the future, argued CEO and Co-Founder Greg Steltenpohl. As the dairy alternative market edges towards the $34 billion mark, Califia hopes that by strengthening its four brand pillars: sustainability, health and wellness, plant-based innovation and engaging consumer experiences, it can continue to catch the eyes of consumers within this fast-growing category.
Founded in 2010, Califia Farms has become one of the fastest-growing natural beverage companies in the US. Having cemented itself as the leading refrigerated nut milk, non-dairy creamer and ready-to-drink coffee brand in the natural and specialty channels, more recently the brand has added to its offering with a breakthrough line of dairy-free probiotic yogurt drinks.
Noting the company’s remarkable growth during its six years of operation, Serge Schoen, Partner and Chairman of Ambrosia Investments, whose portfolio includes plant-based meat alternative Beyond Meat and flavoured water maker Hint, expressed his excitement to be playing a part in the brand’s next stage of growth. With global experience in optimising plant-based supply chains and supporting the continued rapid growth of entrepreneurial companies, Schoen and Ambrosia are in a strong position to do so.
DiCaprio and Leto’s support is also likely to bolster the brand’s growth – with both actors boasting a positive track record when it comes to investing in ‘better for you’ brands. DiCaprio alone has invested in challenger brands including Beyond Meat, natural energy drink maker Runa, chickpea snack brand Hippeas and beverage maker Suja.
Within the organisation, Sandeep Patel, who has been appointed as Chief Financial Officer, will lead the company’s finance organisation as well as certain operational, legal, technological and strategic areas, in a bid to streamline operations
Patel told BevNET that he and Steltenpohl shared a similar view of looking at the holistic supply chain, and that part of his role would be optimising the pipeline from innovation to commercialisation, as well as managing company priorities.
“Califia is at the intersection of some of the most powerful trends to shape the food system in the last 50 years, commented Patel.
“With its strong lifestyle brand, track record of innovation and cross-category leadership, Califia is uniquely positioned to capitalize on these trends,” he added.