REBBL lands $20M to expand its portfolio & the impact of its mission to end human trafficking

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

REBBL lands $20M to expand its portfolio & the impact of its mission to end human trafficking
The already fast-growing coconut milk-based beverage manufacturer REBBL is primed for exponential growth this year thanks in part to a $20 million investment led by CAVU Venture Partners that will allow it to expand distribution, launch new products and ultimately advance its mission to end human trafficking.

“REBBL is made with the best of Plant Queendom and Palo Hawken, our co-founder and chief innovation officer is a culinary artist. He crafts REBBL to be so creamy and indulgent, people fall in love when they try it, including flavors like Reishi Chocolate, Macha Mocha and Cold Brew Protein,”​  Sheryl O’Loughlin, CEO of REBBL, told FoodNavigator-USA.

As a result, she said, even though the brand’s current household penetration is “small – we are just getting started,”​ and “our velocity is very strong.” ​This is reflected in REBBL’s triple digit growth since it launched in 2011, annual sales of $20 million to $50 million and a projected growth rate of 70% by the end of the year.

O’Loughlin plans to increase household penetration and annual sales by using part of the $20 million investment to “share REBBL with new consumers throughout the country with field marketing and demos,”​ and continue the brand’s “very strong engagement with consumers through social media.”

A pipeline for good

As distribution expands, so too will the brand’s portfolio with part of the funding going to product development, which in turn will support the brand’s larger mission to leverage its supply chain to help create a future without human trafficking.

“For example, we are introducing a new flavor in July called Banana Nut Protein. We are working to buy the Brazil nuts from Madre de Dios, a community in the Peruvian rainforest, in the hopes that this will lead to a sustainable solution to trafficking,”​ O’Loughlin said.

She explained that the community has become slaves to middlemen, and the anti-human-trafficking organization Not For Sale, which also co-founded REBBL, “donated a boat to help the community sell their nuts directly to processors in Lima, which increased their income and improved their living conditions. In addition, Not For Sale, helped them to become fair-trade and organically certified, which allows them to command premium prices for the nuts they harvest.”

Ultimately, O’Loughlin said, by helping the growers prosper they are less likely to be exploited.

REBBL also donates 2.5% of its net sales to Not For Sale to support its other “innovative efforts around the world, including providing survivors long-term care, housing, vocational training, education and counseling,”​ O’Loughlin said.

The company will apply this same “supplier ethos”​ to source the ingredients for its other two new products launching this summer, including Schizandra Berries & Crème, which include domestically-sourced Schizandra berries, and 3 Roots Mango Spice, which “puts universally adored Ayrvedic herbs, ashwagandha, turmeric and ginger, front and center to support whole-body wellness.”

Looking forward, O’Loughlin added, “We have many ideas in our pipeline to develop over the next few years and are so excited to bring those to market.”

She said she also is excited to share with consumers through expanded marketing made possible by the $20 million investment the good that REBBL is doing to improve the livelihoods of its suppliers and to end human trafficking. This also will give the company a competitive edge over other functional beverage manufacturers, she added.

“Consumers want to use their dollars to ‘vote’ for brands that are making a positive impact,”​ she said. “To share the story of REBBL, it’s imperative for us to share the story of our efforts with Nor For Sale.”

CAVU’s Christopher joins REBBL’s board

CAVU’s investment in REBBL is not purely financial – it also will play a pivotal role in the company’s trajectory by adding its co-founder Clayton Christopher to the company’s board of directors.  

“The decision to take outside funds was not something we took lightly,”​ O’Loughlin said, explaining, “It is critical to us to have investors and board members who share our values and embrace our mission. We have been so lucky with our institutional investors that have supported us on our REBBL adventure, including PowerPlant and BIGR.”

O’Loughlin said she feared adding someone new might “ruin”​ the existing “magic on our board with Mark Rampolla, founder of Zico coconut water, Duane Primozich, who has run multiple beverage businesses, as well as Kim Perdikou, our board chair and Dave Bastone, the founder of Not for Sale.”

But, she added, as she spent more time with Christopher she realized she had nothing to worry about because “he has the beverage expertise, from being the founder of Sweet Leaf Tea and Deep Eddy vodka, and the values that will make him a phenomenal addition to our board. … I am beyond excited about the future with this incredible team.”

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