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US: Danone CVC acquires majority stake in coconut water brand

Dairy behemoth’s VC arm to support Harmless Harvest’s continued growth as company forecasts over $100 million in sales in 2021
Harmless Harvest
Danone’s VC arm has acquired a majority stake in coconut-water company Harmless Harvest

Danone’s venture capital arm Danone Manifesto Ventures (DMV) has acquired a majority stake in producer of organic coconut-based products Harmless Harvest.

DMV will provide the company with financial, strategic and operational support to further scale the business and grow its sustainability initiatives.

However, Harmless Harvest will continue to operate independently.

The acquisition marks DMV’s second majority-stake investment, although the CVC has over 20 total investments and one exit since it was established in 2016.

A statement released by Danone said the acquisition supported the dairy behemoth’s efforts to grow its plant-based business and portfolio of products, and its overarching goal to increase plant-based sales worldwide to €5 billion by 2025.

DMV led a $30 million fundraising round for Harmless Harvest in 2017, alongside Mousse Partners and other investors.

Harmless Harvest was founded in 2009, and has since become a market leader in coconut water across the US.

The company is forecast to generate over $100 million in sales in 2021, doubling its revenue from 2017.

Speaking to NutritionInvestor DMV CEO Laurent Marcel said: “In the case of Harmless Harvest, together with the company and our co-investors, that stepping up from a minority stake to majority or full ownership was the best way to amplify operational collaborations and accelerate growth

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with Ben and his talented leadership team, and supporting their inspiring ambitions.

“After five years at DMV, having deployed more than $200 million of capital in more than 20 companies and taken majority ownership of two of those companies, both very innovative in their own territories, our experience is that corporate venture can be a great source of growth, innovation and inspiration,” Marcel said.

Ben Mand, Harmless Harvest CEO, said: “We appreciate the support and guidance we have received from DMV and Danone over the past few years and look forward to continuing to benefit from their expertise and resources as we join forces with our shared mission of driving a sustainable future.”

Last year, Danone established a plant-based business accelerator to help meet its target of increasing plant-based sales by 2025.

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