Episode 95 – White Road Investments, Creative Capital and Lifestyle Companies
June 14, 2013
In Episode 95 of The Wendel Forum (originally aired on April 13, 2013, on 960 KNEW AM radio), show moderator Dick Lyons, co-founder of Wendel Rosen’s sustainable business practice group, welcomes Deven Clemens and Gregg Bagni, directors of White Road Investments.
Founded in 2008, White Road Investments is venture capital firm backed by several current and former executives of Clif Bar. (Clemens is senior director of corporate finance at Clif Bar. Bagni is president of Alien Truth Communications and former marketing vice president at Schwinn Cycling & Fitness.) The company invests in health and active lifestyle businesses, including consumer products and outdoor companies.
Clif Bar is motivated not just by financial return but by a five-pronged philosophy, which is to promote the sustainability of its planet, community, people, business and brands. That same philosophy applies to White Road Investments. Clemens and Bagni are specifically looking to fund companies that are mission-driven and that will have a positive impact on the environment and community. The directors want to work alongside entrepreneurs who are eager to learn, grow and do more good. In particular, they’re interested in investing in new categories and new products. For example, they’ve funded a dehydrated pet food company. Currently popular categories in the health space include gluten-free products, plant-based proteins, raw foods, minimal-ingredient foods and bike businesses in urban markets.
In particular, White Road Investments funds with companies with $1 million to $25 million in revenue, with a particular focus on those in the $2 million to 7 million range. An investment can range from $750,000 to $2 million with $1 million being the sweet spot.
The company’s directors want to get deeply involved in the companies in which they invest, beyond simply a quarterly check-in. Realizing that great businesses may take awhile to succeed, the focus of White Road Investments is longer term than most VC firms. In addition to funds, White Road Investments offers companies its expertise, including marketing, operations, strategy, finance, branding and sales advice, as well as “connective capital,” the ability to provide connections from its directors’ longstanding business relationships. White Road Investments also offers the resources of Clif Bar, including the ability to test new products with Clif Bar consumers, who are usually the perfect target demographic.
What new healthy products do you predict to emerge?
Listen to the interview with Clemens and Bagni: Episode 95 of The Wendel Forum (27:30 mins; mp3)
White Road Investments Website: http://www.whiteroadinvestments.com
960 KNEW AM Radio website: http://www.960KNEW.com
Dick Lyons’ online profile: http://www.wendel.com/rlyons