Celsius Holdings has landed a $15.95 million investment from a high-profile group of investors, including hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, his ex-wife and fashion industry veteran Kimora Lee Simmons, and Asia’s long-running richest man, Li Ka Shing. The company, a manufacturer of weight loss-focused functional drinks and powders, announced the news in a press release Tuesday, with Celsius CEO Gerry David saying the strategic partnership “will broaden our reach across consumers and will further strengthen our position in both domestic and global markets.”
David further discussed the investment in a call to BevNET, revealing the deal had been in the works since January, when the company was approached by the group of investors looking to further their involvement in “disruptive technologies in the food and beverage space.” That same month, Forbes identified “fat-burning drinks” as the number four-ranked emerging food and beverage trend, naming Celsius, which touts itself as “the world’s first negative calorie and fat-burning beverage”, as the leader in the space and referencing food giant Nestle as having an interest in the category.
Chinese billionaire Li Ka Shing, ranked by Forbes as the 17th richest man in the world, is investing in Celsius by way of his Hong Kong-based private investment firm Horizons Ventures, which at the end of 2014 took part in a $90 million capital raise from San Francisco-based food technology company Hampton Creek.
“This is an interesting time in tech-centric food and beverage products as more consumers are striving towards healthier lifestyles,” Horizon Ventures’ Chris Lai in a statement. “We are excited to support the Celsius team, who is meeting this growing demand with a revolutionary formula that keeps you energized while burning calories.”
As for the Simmons’, David noted that Russell and Kimora aren’t coming aboard simply for their famous faces.
“They’re not here as celebrity endorsers nor as as passive investors,” told BevNET. “Russell and Kimora are both already playing a strong role in leading marketing and branding ideas. With these partnerships, what we’re going to see is brand building on steroids.”
The company’s full press release can be found below:
Boca Raton, FL (April 21, 2015) – Celsius Holdings, Inc., (Other OTC: CELH) is the creator and marketer of Celsius®, the world’s first Negative Calorie and Fat Burning beverage with significant benefits to consumers focused on accelerating weight loss, fitness and a healthier lifestyle. Celsius provides clean energy and is backed by clinical science, and today announces an investment of $15.95 million led by Hong Kong based Horizons Ventures, a private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-Shing, Mr. Russell Simmons and Ms. Kimora Lee Simmons.
“Celsius is thrilled to announce this strategic partnership led by Horizons Ventures, Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons. On the cusp of our positive fourth quarter, we are excited for these business icons to join our team,” said Gerry David, CEO of Celsius Holdings, Inc. “This strategic partnership will broaden our reach across consumers and will further strengthen our position in both domestic and global markets.”
The investment led by Horizons Ventures, Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons confirms the vision of long time Celsius investor Carl DeSantis, who founded Rexall Sundown and grew it into the world’s leading Vitamin Company. Mr. DeSantis sold Rexall Sundown for $1.8 billion in 2000 and made a strategic investment in Celsius in 2007.
“We always saw Celsius as a brand of the future with all its proven benefits” said Mr. DeSantis. “We were creating a new category and that is always quite a challenge. But it’s those types of challenges that are the most rewarding if you work hard and stick with it. It takes time and strategic investment. We have always believed that Celsius was a winner with the potential to become a global brand. We are thrilled to welcome our new partners. They are visionaries with a proven track record. Together along with our existing management team, we will do great things.”
“This is an interesting time in tech-centric food and beverages products as more consumers are striving towards healthier lifestyle,” said Chris Lai of Horizons Ventures. “We are excited to support the Celsius team, who is meeting this growing demand with a revolutionary formula that keeps you energized while burning calories.”
“As a practicing yogi and vegan, I’m always cognizant of my health and what I put into my body. I found Celsius at a local market, fell in love with the drink’s clean energy and called Kimora immediately. It was clear we needed to learn more about the company,” said Mr. Russell Simmons.
“I am proud to announce my new partnership with Celsius as a strategic brand builder and innovator,” said Ms. Kimora Lee Simmons. “Energy has always been a key force in both my life and career and I’m excited about the potential this brand has to help people push themselves further towards their goals, be they related to fitness, family or fun. I also look forward to this unique opportunity to directly impact Celsius’ creative direction moving forward”
- Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-Shing, is a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and disruptive technologies, including Facebook, Waze, Spotify, Impossible Foods and Hampton Creek. With a strong global presence, Horizons Ventures will support Celsius’ future development in the global markets.
- Russell Simmons is a business icon who is a visionary that has created industries throughout his career. Mr. Simmons business successes have spanned music, film, television, fashion, video games, online and financial services. Mr. Simmons has moved into the world of digital marketing through the formation of three companies and will prove to be a significant strategic partner in the growth of Celsius.
- Kimora Lee Simmons – “Designer and entrepreneur Kimora Lee Simmons began her career as a top model and has since evolved into a fashion icon, brand visionary and media personality, having served as President and Creative Director of Baby Phat and JustFab and creating such award-winning TV shows as Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane.” Currently, she serves as CEO and Creative Director of KLS Kimora Lee Simmons – a high-end designer fashion line – in addition to directing a portfolio of new innovative businesses in the fields of fashion, entertainment, technology and consumer goods including Codage – an advanced technical skin care line.
Disclosures can be found on the Company’s online disclosure portal at:
About Celsius Holdings, Inc.
Celsius Holdings Inc. (OTC: CELH) is a science-based functional beverage company, founded in April 2004. Celsius is the world’s first and only negative calorie and fat burning drink. Backed by multiple clinical studies, drinking Celsius before activity has been proven to help burn up to 93% more body fat, burn 100 calories and more per serving, boost metabolism, provide clean energy and accelerate results of any weight-loss program. It comes in five delicious flavors, carbonated and non-carbonated, and also in powder stick packets that can be mixed with water. Celsius contains no sugar, no high-fructose corn syrup, no aspartame, no preservatives, no artificial flavors or colors, and is low in sodium. The first clinical study was conducted in 2005. Six additional studies, including five from the University of Oklahoma, were conducted over the next five years. The studies validated the unique benefits Celsius provides to the consumer. For more information, please visit www.celsius.com.