By Shay Castle
Daily Camera, Boulder, Colo.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) This article takes a look at the booming investment industry surrounding the natural food market in Boulder. If you are one of the millions of women in business focused on creating healthy bites, Colorado may be the place to be!
Food is the new tech, and Boulder is its Silicon Valley.
Long considered a hub of the growing natural and organic food scene, the Boulder Valley is home not only to some of the country’s premier brands but, increasingly, the industry’s most innovative investment groups.
Locally controlled capital has grown tenfold in the past decade. One $20 million fund has morphed into half a dozen established and upcoming funds.
Together, they will funnel more than $200 million to emerging brands in hopes of growing them into multi-million dollar companies within the next two to five years, according to estimates provided by five local funds.
New industry born out of need
One of the first firms to specialize in natural foods locally was Greenmont Capital, founded by industry insiders in 2004.
Greenmont started with a single $20 million fund, and Boulder’s Eco Products was its first investment.
“Companies were doing deals together” back then to get needed capital, said David Haynes, a managing director with Greenmont Capital. “They decided to leverage each other and create an investment firm.”
Greenmont’s portfolio includes Door to Door Organics in Boulder and Longmont’s Madhava Sweeteners. The fund is preparing to raise another round of funding with which to start hunting for new investment opportunities.
Greenmont is joined by a handful of other funds focusing in part or whole on natural foods — including new ventures from industry veterans.
Tom Spier, co-founder of EVOL Foods and chief operations officer for Bear Naked during its rapid expansion, formally launched his fund last month after more than a year of fundraising.