Clearlake Capital Group is partnering with food industry veterans Jason Cohen and Leigh Feuerstein to launch Better For You Holdings, a platform to invest in food and health and wellness opportunities. Cohen and Feuerstein run Halen Brands, which invests in the high-growth segments in the food products sector. The firm didn’t disclose financial details of the partnership.
Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. (together with its affiliates, “Clearlake”) today announced the launch of Better For You Holdings, a new platform focused on investments in emerging food and health & wellness trends. Through its Better For You platform, Clearlake is partnering with food industry veterans Jason Cohen and Leigh Feuerstein of Halen Brands, a recently-formed venture focused on investing in dynamic, high growth segments within the food products sector.
“The Halen Brands management team has a true commitment to innovation and growth in the evolving food and health & wellness sector. We are excited to announce that Clearlake will be making significant investments alongside Jason and Leigh to sponsor brands positioned for rapid growth,” said José E. Feliciano and Behdad Eghbali, Co-Founders and Managing Partners of Clearlake.
Led by Cohen and Feuerstein, the Halen Brands team has an established track record of delivering innovative products to market within the food segment. With over 15 years of experience as an innovative leader, Jason Cohen has co-created and sold five food brands within the specialty and better-for-you spaces, including Mamma Says Biscotti, Sensible Portions Veggie Straws, Rickland Orchards Greek Yogurt Snacks, Dippin’ Chips and Mrs. Thinster’s Cookie Thins. Cohen and Feuerstein also played key roles as investors and partners of SkinnyPop, a ready-to-eat popcorn manufactured with simple ingredients and designed to be healthier and better-for-you, which completed a successful initial public offering (IPO) in 2015.
Halen Brands seeks innovative food based companies by actively partnering with management to drive growth. In addition to partnering with Clearlake to provide sponsorship and capital, Halen Brands provides other services to brands including access to its multi-channel sales team, broker networks, marketing/design, operations/co-packers relations and more.
“As founders of food brands ourselves, we were always looking for a fund that was built to marry an entrepreneurial spirit with a patient, collaborative approach and have founded Halen on those principles,” said Cohen and Feuerstein. They added, “Together with Clearlake, our track record and relationships give us an edge in identifying and supporting high potential brands and concepts, and we pride ourselves on providing the support and historical track record needed to succeed.”
Clearlake previously partnered with Cohen and Feuerstein in their investment in Sensible Portions / World Gourmet, which was successfully sold to Hain Celestial in 2010, as well as their investment in Dippin’ Chips and Mrs. Thinster’s Cookie Thins.
In early 2015, Clearlake partnered with Halen Brands to invest in Chef’s Cut, a leading producer and marketer of high quality, gluten-free jerky. The rapid growth in the protein snack category paired with Halen’s deep rooted customer relationships have already driven tremendous sales growth at Chef’s Cut since the investment. Visit booth #5867 at this week’s Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA and taste Chef’s Cut handcrafted, real premium cuts of steak, chicken, turkey, bacon, and more.
Clearlake and Halen ended 2015 with their acquisition of Rex’s Outrageous, a producer of chocolate-based, gluten-free snacks under the “Road Crew Crunch” brand. Road Crew Crunch is well positioned to capitalize on explosive growth and innovation in the confection category. Visit booth #8045 at Natural Products Expo West and experience the snacking trifecta of salty-sweet-crunch.
“We at Clearlake are excited to devote a focused effort partnering with Halen to pursue on-trend, growth-oriented opportunities in food and other consumer products via our Better For You platform,” said Arta Tabaee, who leads Clearlake’s efforts in the food and other consumer products and services sectors. “With the early investments in Chef’s Cut and Road Crew Crunch, we’re already seeing the value that the Halen Brands platform provides in helping brands accelerate growth. We will continue seeking further investment and partnership opportunities, including at Natural Products Expo West this week,” Tabaee concluded.
José E. Feliciano, Behdad Eghbali, and Arta Tabaee have joined the Board of Directors of Better For You Holdings, and have joined Jason Cohen and Leigh Feuerstein on the Board of Halen Brands.
About Halen Brands
Halen Brands, Inc. is an innovative operating company focused on making investments in healthier products that need experienced partners to help fund growth.
About Clearlake Capital Group
Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. is a private investment firm with a sector-focused approach. The firm seeks to partner with world-class management teams by providing patient, long-term capital to dynamic businesses that can benefit from Clearlake’s operational and strategic expertise. The firm’s core target sectors include industrials, energy and power; technology, communications and business services; and consumer products and services. Clearlake currently has over $3.5 billion of assets under management. More information is available at www.clearlakecapital.com.