Christmas came early for REBBL last month, albeit just by a few hours. On Dec. 24, the San Francisco-based brand of adaptogen-powered herbal elixirs and tonics closed its first capital raise beyond friends and family. Led by Powerplant Ventures – an investment fund co-founded by ZICO founder Mark Rampolla – the round also included investments from Arif Fazal’s Blueberry Ventures, equity crowdfunding platform CircleUp and personal investments from former Boulder Brands executives Duane Primozich and Carole Buyers. REBBL did not disclose the amount of the raise.
“This company has so much potential and we wanted the crème de la crème of a team to be with us and help us on this ride,” said REBBL CEO Sheryl O’Loughlin. “We knew we couldn’t do it alone.”
Rampolla, who, along with Primozich, joined REBBL’s board of directors, told BevNET he’d had his eyes on the company for quite some time, stemming from a longstanding relationship with its co-founder Palo Hawken, who played a role in developing ZICO’s chocolate-flavored variety.
“For a while I’d been intrigued by the concept of super herbs as the next superfood wave,” said Rampolla. “Then they developed this line of coconut milk-based elixirs and I was all over it. I’ve always believed there was a lot of opportunity for coconut milk and I didn’t think anyone had done a grab-and-go version that was delicious, and this was.”
O’Loughlin reiterated earlier statements she’d made about ramping up REBBL’s marketing efforts through in-store sampling and social media with the new funding and also discussed allocating the new resources towards strengthening the brand’s distribution footprint. Currently, REBBL is available in 1,400 retailers primarily in the natural channel, where O’Loughlin says the brand will continue to dedicate its focus.
“We’ve just started to scratch surface in terms of distribution potential,” O’Loughlin added. “We’re being careful about making sure that as we expand the distribution we have the velocity to support it. We’re doing so in a way that’s sustainable.”
Prior to joining REBBL’s board of directors in January, 2015, O’Loughlin spent ten years at Clif Bar, the final three of which she served as CEO. Last October she was named CEO of Rebbl, with Hawken shifting to the role of chief innovation officer.