Taste Radio Episode 34

Investors Love Brands Focused on Systematic Change


These days Zico founder Mark Rampolla spends most of his time thinking about transformative technology and better-for-you sweets.

Three years removed from the sale of his coconut water brand to the Coca-Cola Co., Rampolla is now the managing partner and a co-founder of Powerplant Ventures, a private equity firm that invests in “visionary companies that are re-architecting” the food system via plant-based nutrition. He’s also the interim CEO of Hail Merry, a maker of plant-based snack foods, which counts Powerplant as an investor.

We caught up with Rampolla last week in Los Angeles at the Project NOSH L.A. conference where we recorded this edition of the BevNET podcast. As part of a broad-ranging discussion, Rampolla explains why food and beverage investors, including Powerplant, are embracing ideas that meld idealism and technology and what’s driving systematic changes in the food industry. Rampolla also offers up some investment advice for Coca-Cola’s Venturing and Emerging Brands unit and talks about why he decided to get back into the food and beverage business after selling Zico.