The funding came from a mix of sources: Emil Capital Partners supplied institutional cash, while famed investor Thomas H. Lee, the founder of Thomas H. Lee partners, put in money as an individual investor, as did Australian actor Hugh Jackman. Jackman had been an angel investor along with Antoine Firmenrich, a member of the family that owns the eponymous European flavor and scent company.
“Once we started to see same store sales grow steadily, we know we had a sustainable business model,” Chalk said.
The company hired Silverwood Partners to help it shop for investors. Part of the attraction for investors was the company’s growing international profile: Balance started in Australia and recently added an office in Cologne, Germany. The company owns its own supply chain to provide the floral extracts needed to create its Travel, Relax, and Mind varieties, as it started an Australian company called Wandarra to source plants from the tropical zone of northern Australia.
While Balance started in Australia, it has grown in the U.S. with a largely Northeast- and New York-focused distribution strategy. For the past three years it has gone to market through a mix of companies like broadline natural foods broker UNFI and also DSD house Exclusive. Cascadia Managing Brands has been advising Balance on route-to-market decisions.
Chalk said that the money would go toward supporting DSD operations with sales professionals.
This is the second beverage investment this a year for Emil Capital Partners, which also invested in CherryPharm, the maker of Cheribundi, in February.