KeVita co-founder and former CEO Bill Moses is teaming with private investment firm Clearlake Capital Group L.P. to launch Disruptive Brands, a new platform aimed at investing in and supporting innovative emerging brands across the consumer packaged goods spectrum.
Since his departure from KeVita following its acquisition by PepsiCo last year, Moses has been actively seeking new investment and management opportunities in better-for-you beverages brands such as Iconic Protein, where he also serves as executive chairman, and plant-based protein drink Koia. Speaking with BevNET at the NOSH Live Winter 2017 conference in Santa Monica, Calif., Moses said Disruptive Brands represented the next evolution in his career as a brand builder.
“I think partnering with an established private equity company that has deep resources as it relates to financial analysis, strategic thinking, and, of course, capital, is really the reason I partnered up,” he said.
Santa Monica-based Clearlake Capital, which has investments in brands such as jerky maker Chef’s Cut and protein drink OWYN, has access to $3.5 billion in funding.
“We are excited about teaming with an experienced executive like Bill and leveraging our collective expertise in the food and beverage space,” said José E. Feliciano and Behdad Eghbali, co-founders and managing partners of Clearlake, in a press release. “This platform will enhance and broaden our capabilities in the consumer products industry and continue Clearlake’s track record of partnering with successful entrepreneurs in the better-for-you segment of the market.”
With Clearlake involved, Moses said Disruptive Brands will be able to make investments within a much broader financial range, averaging $10 million to $50 million.
“For younger brands, part of requirement would be to partner with them early and continue to finance them to matriculation,” he said. On the higher end, Moses said Disruptive Brands could make investments as high as $100 to $200 million, or enough to provide an exit.
Potential partners will not be limited to food or beverage, as Moses noted that Disruptive Brands is open to supporting beauty products, personal care brands and any CPG company “that has innovation and something that’s on-trend.”
Moses also emphasized that the respective brand portfolios of Disruptive Brands, Clearlake Capital and himself will remain independent of each other and not seek to compete.
“There’s mutual respect around the different brands — both legacy brands that Clearlake has as well as the brands that I’m involved with,” he said. “There’s gonna be real thoughtfulness around where we go so we don’t create any conflict of interest.”
Moses gave some indications of the potential categories the fund may look to explore in the months ahead. He said that investments in beverage would be “very selective,” while food has more opportunities. He also emphasized the the importance that scientifically verified health claims will have for the functional beverage category going forward.
“It’s not going to be enough to say this particular functional benefit or attribute in a particular product really is better for you unless it can be substantiated,” he said. “The winners [in the category] will be the ones that can deliver on that substantiation.”
On a personal level, Moses noted that, between his own investments and now with Disruptive Brands, he’s busier now than when he began scaling KeVita.
“Coming out of KeVita and having all this momentum, I think it’s a great opportunity for me to really reach out and stretch,” he said. “I’m not the kind of guy that likes to go to the beach and hang out and kind of retire. I’m going to stretch myself and stretch the opportunities I have so I can maximize everything I touch.”