Danone Manifesto Ventures Leads $30M Investment in Harmless Harvest

Organic coconut beverage brand Harmless Harvest today announced it has raised $30 million in growth capital in an investment round led by Danone Manifesto Ventures, the venture arm of French multinational food and beverage corporation Danone.

The San Francisco-based company, which markets refrigerated coconut water and probiotic drinks, will use the the investment to enhance sustainable production capacity in Thailand, increase brand awareness and widen distribution, according to a press release.

“If Douglas and I were to imagine a company that would specifically create an organization whose sole purpose is to metabolize the values of pioneering progressive companies into a global scale, it would be Danone Manifesto Ventures,” wrote Harmless Harvest co-founder Justin Guilbert in an email to BevNET. “We couldn’t be more enthusiastic than to have reached this agreement and position Harmless Harvest to achieve long term success.”

Danone Manifesto Ventures, which most recently led a $5.5 million funding round for Hawaiian deep ocean water brand Kona Deep in November, joined existing Harmless Harvest shareholders, including Mousse Partners, and new investors like AccelFoods in the round.

This marks the sixth investment for Danone Manifesto Ventures. Launched in 2016 with the goal of supporting innovative and healthy food and beverage companies, Danone Manifesto Ventures is also a investor in AccelFoods.

Former Group Danone CEO Frank Riboud, who led the global conglomerate from 1996 to 2014, is also the uncle of Harmless Harvest co-founder Douglas Riboud. It is believed that Danone has long held a minority stake in the company.

“We are enthusiastic about this investment in Harmless Harvest, a unique brand with a strong consumer base and great growth potential in the attractive plant-based category,” Laurent Marcel, Managing Director of Danone Manifesto Ventures, said in the press release. “Harmless Harvest and Danone have highly aligned values combining business growth ambitions with a commitment to healthier nutrition and sustainable business practices.”

In an email to BevNET, Lauren Jupiter, managing partner at AccelFoods, wrote: “We could not be more excited to partner with Harmless Harvest, a brand that is synonymous with social and environmental responsibility in beverages. We look forward to partnering with Danone Manifesto Venture to continue to build and scale the groundbreaking platform created by Douglas and Justin — two true visionaries in our field.”

Last week, Harmless Harvest confirmed the departure of CEO Gianella Alvarez, who had been with the company since 2015. Guilbert told BevNET that the company has appointed Marcel as the company’s interim CEO while it initiates a search for a new permanent fit for the top management position. “We are grateful to have someone of Laurent’s caliber and benefit from his operational expertise and experience managing and growing global businesses,” he wrote.

Looking ahead to 2018, Guilbert said that the company will continue to build service levels, retail support and distribution partnerships.

“This investment will support our ability to raise brand awareness and expand distribution, which we believe represents a significant growth opportunity for Harmless Harvest,” he wrote.