LOS ANGELES, CA, September 27, 2010 – Paddy Spence, a veteran of the natural/organic packaged goods industry, and Northwood Ventures, a leading private equity investor in the branded consumer sector, announced today an investment in Zevia LLC, a leading natural calorie-free soda brand. In only three years, the Zevia line of stevia-sweetened carbonated beverages has become one of the best-selling beverage brands in natural products retail stores, based on its pure ingredients, affordable price points and great taste.
Spence, who founded syndicated market research provider SPINS and previously held leadership positions with Kashi cereal and Levlad, maker of Nature’s Gate personal care items, has assumed the role of Chairman and CEO at Zevia. In addition, he brings a team of seasoned professionals with a long track record of success. Robert Gay, who built Silk soy milk into an industry-leading brand as National Sales Manager at White Wave Foods, was named Zevia’s Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing. Hank Margolis, a supply chain expert and former Senior Director at management consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal, joined the company as Senior Vice President, Operations. And Ken Panitz, who held senior finance positions at market research firm Ipsos OTX and direct marketer Sylmark Group, was named Vice President, Finance and Controller.
“Consumers are seeking alternatives to carbonated beverages laden with sugar and artificial sweeteners, and Zevia offers a true point of difference,” said Spence. “As the first and only soda brand completely focused on stevia-sweetened solutions, we’re providing a healthy option for soda drinkers.”
“Northwood Ventures looks forward to partnering with Paddy Spence and the new Zevia management team, and to accelerating the growth trajectory of this unique brand,” said Hal Wilson, a Managing Director with Northwood. “With the combination of a highly differentiated product line, a ‘best of breed’ management team, and the financial resources necessary to scale the business, we are highly enthusiastic about the company’s future growth prospects.”
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
About Zevia LLC
Zevia’s mission is to “make soda healthy” by providing zero-calorie products free of both sugar and artificial sweeteners. The company currently offers seven flavors, including its best-selling Zevia Cola. In September, O Magazine featured Zevia® on the “O List” of Oprah Winfrey’s favorite products.
About Northwood Ventures
Northwood Ventures, established in 1983, partners with successful management teams to make equity investments in privately held companies. Northwood invests in venture capital and management buyout opportunities in a broad range of industries, with a particular interest in the communications, retail/consumer, manufacturing, and financial services sectors. Northwood’s flexible and opportunistic investing philosophy allows the firm to creatively evaluate and structure investments to meet the needs of each situation. Since the firm’s inception, Northwood has invested in approximately 160 companies.