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VMG and TerraVia building algae platform TerraBrands

April 5, 2016
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

popchips' founder Keith Belling has been chosen to build brands and teams for the new algae-based food platform at TerraBrands.

popchips’ founder Keith Belling has been chosen to build brands and teams for the new algae-based food platform at TerraBrands. Photo: Lance Iversen, The Chronicle / SFGate.com

VMG Partners, a private equity fund focused exclusively on partnering with emerging branded consumer product companies, and TerraVia™ (formerly known as Solazyme), a leader in algae-based food, nutrition and specialty ingredients, have announced the launch of TerraBrands™.

The new venture combines VMG’s expertise, investment capital and success investing in leading consumer brands such as KIND, Vega, Pretzel Crisps, Justin’s, Health Warrior and Solid Gold Holistic Pet Food, with TerraVia’s innovative algae-based food and nutrition platform.

Over more than a decade, TerraVia’s predecessor Solazyme invested in developing a unique understanding and expertise around algae, resulting in an innovative suite of algae-based food, nutrition and specialty ingredients. By deploying VMG’s brand-building expertise and investment capital, TerraBrands™ will target investing in or acquiring established “lower middle-market” companies in the food, pet and nutrition segments.

“Algae (are) the mother of all plants and earth’s original superfood. Given the accelerating demand for plant-based nutrition, we are excited to be at the forefront of this next generation of foods and ingredients,” said Michael Mauze, Managing Director of VMG Partners.

Kara Cissell-Roell, Managing Director of VMG Partners, added, “We see a compelling opportunity to marry products and brands with TerraVia’s innovative, nutrient-rich ingredients in response to a rapidly growing consumer demand for healthy, environmentally sustainable food products that don’t sacrifice on taste.”

“We’re excited to work with VMG, one of the world’s most successful private equity firms in building cutting-edge food and nutrition brands,” said Jonathan Wolfson, co-founder of Solazyme and founder and CEO of TerraVia.

Keith Belling, the founder and former CEO of popchips, will be joining the team, bringing an expertise in building brands and teams to the partnership. “I am also thrilled that Keith has agreed to take a key role in this venture, as he is not only a brilliant marketer but also a proven category creator,” added Mr. Wolfson.

“By bringing together VMG, TerraVia and Keith,” he said, “we will help drive a new movement, recognizing algae as a critical solution for plant-based eating and nutrition.”

“Working with TerraVia and VMG to build TerraBrands™ represents a unique opportunity to help drive the creation of an exciting new category in food that truly delivers on nutrition, taste and sustainability,” said Mr. Belling, who in his tenure with popchips helped lead the next generation in “better-for-you” snacking.

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