Episode 49 – Mindful Investors Helps Grow Healthful Companies
February 15, 2012
In Episode 49 of The Wendel Forum(originally aired on February 2, 2012, on 960 KNEW AM radio), show host Dick Lyons welcomes Stuart Rudick of Mindful Investors, LLC, a San Francisco Bay Area-based private equity fund focused on investments in natural food and product companies and technology that supports healthy lifestyles.
Stuart has been committed to investing in these types of companies for more than 30 years. His interest in companies with a focus on sustainability and healthy lifestyles emerged from his personal development as a yoga practitioner and vegetarian. As healthy living became more important to him, he also moved toward investing in sustainably-minded companies.
In the early days, he found himself involved in companies in areas ranging from wind power to rice growers who had developed a closed-loop system that used the stalks for rice paper, rather than burning them.
Dick and Stuart discuss the investing trends they have observed during the past couple of decades and the rise of the natural food and organic products marketplace. Stuart had a front row seat to the evolution of some of today’s well-known companies, such as Whole Foods Market, Seventh Generation and Odwalla.
Mindful Investors’ current interests focus on consumer facing companies in areas such as food and beverage, healthcare and technology platforms that support healthy lifestyles. Not surprising, there is a lot of activity in web and mobile development that supports functionality for applications such as bar codes to track the carbon footprint of a product, rich media like video to promote products, and platforms for distributing coupons and discounts.
Stuart shares the Mindful Investors approach to investing, including insights into time horizons and exit expectations related to investments in their portfolio. He also acknowledges some of the challenges and strategies related to ensuring that when a company is sold, the parent company keeps the integrity of the product post-sale.
As one of the early B Corps, he’s also a fan of the recently enacted legislation in California for Benefit Corporations (AB 361 – Huffman), which Wendel Rosen attorney Donald Simon had a hand in drafting.
So what is Stuart’s advice for young businesses?
- Realize from the start that you will need to raise capital, and a lot more than you think you’ll need.
- Bring in like-minded investors who are connected to your values in order to build trust.
- Bring in experienced senior level people to advise and guide you through your growth to better avoid errors and accelerate the growth of your company.
Listen to the interview with Stuart Rudick: Episode 49 of The Wendel Forum(27:37 mins; mp3)
Mindful Investors website: www.mindfulinvestors.com
960 KNEW AM Radio website: http://www.960KNEW.com
Dick Lyons’ online profile: http://www.wendel.com/rlyons