Posted on August 31, 2018

Sunrise invests in ‘woman-led’ premium ice cream brand

Coolhaus co-founder restructures business as a profits interest LLC

Investment group Sunrise Strategic Partners LLC said Thursday it has acquired a minority stake in super-premium ice cream brand Coolhaus.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Culver City, Calif.-based Coolhaus was founded in 2009 by Natasha Case and Freya Estreller, who incorporated the company as Farchitecture BB, LLC.

CEO Case created Farchitecture BB Profits Interest Member 1 LLC in December soon after Estreller left the company. A profits interest represents an ownership interest in future growth of an LLC rather than an interest based on its current value, as such, appreciation in the value of the LLC is taxed as long-term capital gains rather than as ordinary income.

The ingredients that Coolhaus uses to make its ice cream sandwiches and pints include organic cane sugar, cage-free eggs, organic cocoa powder, and organic chocolate liquor and organic chocolate chips.

The brand sells its 30 SKUs at more than 6,000 stores ranging from specialty to conventional, including Whole Foods, Safeway, Publix, Fairway, and ShopRite, among others.

"Coolhaus has seen strong growth and impressive brand loyalty since launching in 2009. We’re a brand that stays true to who we are, creating high quality ice cream in inventive flavors that appeal to a younger generation," said Case. "With our continued innovation in super premium flavors, our new vegan line, and a brand new novelty concept, we have lots on the dashboard to propel our growth."

Coolhaus said it will use the investment from Sunrise to expand grocery distribution, make additional marketing and sales investments, and launch new products.

Boulder, Colo.-based Sunrise, a $200 million investment fund, is led by Steve Hughes, the former CEO of Boulder Brands, owner of the EVOL Foods and Udi’s Gluten Free brands. Hughes launched Sunrise in 2016 after his company was sold to Pinnacle Foods Inc. for $975 million. Pinnacle announced in June it will be acquired by Conagra Brands for $8.1 billion.

"Natasha’s story of starting Coolhaus is one of the most creative entrepreneurial feats I have encountered in my career," said Hughes. "Sunrise is proud to partner with a woman-led business, and we are excited to work with Natasha and her team to continue growing the Coolhaus business in the years ahead."

Hughes formed Sunrise in partnership with Boulder-based private equity firm, Trilantic Capital Management L.P., which joined in on the Coolhaus investment. Sunrise invests in businesses in the "healthy, active and sustainable living space that resonate with millennials" and generate between $10-$20 million in annual revenue.

Coolhaus is the 10th investment for Sunrise, whose portfolio includes: Kill Cliff, Kodiak Cakes, Little Secrets, Maple Hill Creamery, Pact Organic, Perky Jerky, Teton Waters Ranch, Vital Farms and the new Coolhaus.

VIDEO: Watch how Coolhaus markets its premium ice cream products

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