On my podcast, The Irresistible Factor, I recently spoke with Alison Minter, managing partner at North Castle Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in brands in the health and wellness space, and Brandon Fishman, the CEO of Vita Cups. We talked about just how critical the relationship between investor and brand is for a brand’s success.
Here are some of the most interesting bits I learned about their partnership and what factors come into play when a new brand partners with a private equity firm. Listen to the full episode here.
1. How perseverance can lead you to the right partner
Vita Cups CEO, Brandon, first reached out to Alison in 2017. He had done his research and was very impressed with the companies North Castle had worked with in the past. Due to Vita Cups’ size, the two did not partner at that time. But Brandon continued to build the relationship and was determined to work with them. This stuck with Alison, “We tend to invest in businesses where we’ve met the founder or entrepreneur long before that first phone call”. One year later, North Castle re-connected with Vita Cup’s and invested in a large round of funding.
2. How North Castle helped Vita Cups overcome challenges and build on their success
Partnering with Alison allowed Vita Cups to look at their financials from an outside perspective, improve the overall brand image, and get profitable quicker. Vita Cups has managed to stay innovative and the majority of their products are the first of their kind, which gave them an attractive competitive advantage. Alison attributes a lot of their success to the uniqueness of the brand and their ability to be nimble in an ever-changing digital environment.
3. How Vita Cups stood out
Brandon began his career in digital marketing, so with this background, he knew how to market to consumers, and wanted to create a product that people had to have everyday, like coffee. He was thinking of repeat purchases from day 1! And Brandon’s digital background allowed him to come to North Castle with a fully developed capability on their own ecomm platform and on Amazon.
4. Why analyzing data is important for private equity firms as well as their partners
When North Castle considers investing in a brand, it involves a lot of analytics such as thinking about what future potential return looks like and what the business looks like today and what the projections look like in the future. To develop that, a lot of data has to come into play. And Vita Cups was ready to do that from the get go.
Similar advice from both ends of the spectrum
From Brandon, Vita Cups CEO: “Create a high-quality product then get your financial metrics to work. Start with a good product and put the right people behind it.”
From Alison at North Castle:: “Get to know investors before you need capital. Try to get as far as you can with other sources, because the more proof of concept you have, the greater the universe of people you will have to talk to.”
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