California-based natural beverage and food company Califia Farms has secured $50 million in funding. The investor was Stripes Group.
Los Angeles, CA – September 15, 2015 – Califia Farms today announced a minority investment of $50 million to further the Company’s innovation in plant-based beverages and foods. The investment comes from Stripes Group, a New York-based consumer and technology growth equity firm that focuses on partnering with high-growth, innovative and industry disrupting brands.
Co-founded in 2010 by California-based farming group Sun Pacific and beverage visionary Greg Steltenpohl, Califia Farms is one of the fastest growing natural beverage companies in the United States. Stripes Group has invested into the newly established Califia Farms LLC, which while independent, remains majority owned by Sun Pacific.
“We are excited to add Stripes Group as a partner in our ongoing mission to be the plant-based food and beverage Company of the future,” said Steltenpohl. “Stripes Group is perfectly aligned with our culture of rapid innovation and sustainability, and they are deeply supportive of our commitment to provide delicious, mindful nourishment that enables people to live healthier lives with plant-based products. Plus, we love Stripes Group’s excellent track-record of supporting entrepreneurs in their efforts to build unique brands.”
Consumer interest in plant-based diets has expanded well beyond vegan shoppers in recent years, and Califia Farms is playing a key role in the 40% annual growth of almond milk sales with its Almondmilks experiencing 177% growth year-over-year. Califia Farms is also leading the charge in another rapidly growing sector, cold brew coffee and RTD coffee drinks, as the fastest growing brand in the natural products category.
The Company has also successfully launched new categories including Almondmilk Coffee Creamers and Agua Frescas, as well as added unique flavors to its existing product lines such as Vanilla Coconut Almondmilk Horchata and Pumpkin Spice Latte. Califia Farms was named a 2015 “Top 10 Challenger Brand” for its unique bottle that is reshaping today’s dairy case, and was also named one of 2015’s Breakout Brands. Further, Steltenpohl, dubbed an ‘eco-friendly revolutionary,’ has been named one of the Top 50 Disrupters in the beverage industry.
“We spent a long time getting to know Greg, and saw his product development expertise play out with each of Califia Farms’ exceptional new product introductions,” said Dan Marriott, Managing Partner at Stripes Group. “A true product visionary, Greg is assembling an amazing team and has cultivated a culture of rapid innovation focused on delivering premium, healthful products. We look forward to bringing our experiences working with disruptors and inventors to help Greg and his team as he builds upon Califia Farms’ industry-leading plant-based food and beverage platform.”
Stripes Group has partnered with many market leaders and disruptors across food and technology. Through investments in companies like Blue Apron, GrubHub, Stella & Chewy’s, and Refinery29, Stripes Group has helped drive rapid product transformation and digital brand building campaigns. Califia Farms will take advantage of this expertise to help build out its resources and scale its digital brand building efforts.
This investment is the first outside investment received by Califia Farms. Stripes Group team members Dan Marriott and Karen Kenworthy will be welcomed onto Califia Farms’ Board of Directors. The new growth capital will be used primarily to invest in deepening production and distribution capabilities, research and development, new hires, and sales and marketing.
About Califia Farms (pronounced “Cal-lih-FEE-ya,” like California)
Inspired by the bounty of California, Califia Farms’ mission is to innovate delicious plant-powered foods for mindful nourishment. The Company is a leader in the revolution to de-commodify the food and beverage industry by creating innovative, healthy and great-tasting premium beverages that make it easy for consumers to go ‘plant-powered’ and dairy-free without compromise. Founded in 2010 by a farmer’s co-operative based in the San Joaquin Valley and led by beverage visionary Greg Steltenpohl, Califia Farms is a uniquely California company. Its Bakersfield, California manufacturing plant uses artisanal processes to create healthy and delicious plant-based beverages, is eco-friendly and energy efficient and repurposes more than 90 percent of its post-production byproduct. Califia Farms is one of the fastest-growing natural beverage company in the U.S., as well as the leading brand in the natural products coffee drinks category.
About Stripes Group
Based in New York City, Stripes Group is a leading growth equity firm that invests in Branded Consumer Products, Internet, Software and Digital Media businesses around the world. For over a decade, Stripes Group has been partnering with market-leading companies with proven business models that are generating exceptional growth. For more information on Stripes Group, please visit www.stripesgroup.com.