Ancient Nutrition Announces $103 Million Strategic Minority Investment Led by VMG Partners, with Significant Investment from Hillhouse Capital and Participation by ICONIQ Capital

VMG Partners, Hillhouse Capital, ICONIQ Capital, and 100+ Industry Veterans, Influencers, and Individual Investors Join to Form Powerhouse Co-Investor Network to Propel the Future of Real Food Nutrition

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--()--Ancient Nutrition, the breakthrough pioneer in Bone Broth Protein supplementation that delivers the benefits of homemade bone broth in a convenient, easy-to-mix form, announces today its $103 million strategic minority investment from VMG Partners, Hillhouse Capital, ICONIQ Capital, and over 100 members of a co-investor network. The backing from this esteemed group of industry leaders, influencers, and individual investors is a testament to the future of Ancient Nutrition’s movement towards providing history’s healthiest, real food nutrients to the modern world. This announcement marks the brand’s first investment, which is poised to elevate the current team’s resources and company growth.

“I am thrilled to support Ancient Nutrition as they bring their mission of real food nutrition to more people.”

Ancient Nutrition was co-founded in 2016 by Jordan Rubin and Dr. Josh Axe. Rubin also founded Garden of Life (recently acquired by Nestlé) and is the New York Times best-selling author of “The Maker’s Diet.” Dr. Axe is also the founder of DrAxe.com, the #1 natural health website in the world with over 17 million unique visitors per month, and Axe Wellness, #35 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list. Ancient Nutrition believes the human body was built for high performance and that in the modern world consumers are often disconnected from the traditions and nutritional principles that were honored and celebrated throughout history.

Ancient Nutrition has quickly become the #2 ranking protein supplement and meal replacement brand in the natural health channel, as defined by SPINS, through its groundbreaking line of Bone Broth Protein, Multi Collagen Protein, Essential Oils, and Keto products. Ancient Nutrition is driving key paleo, collagen, and grass-fed supplement trends across all channels. The company is also one of the fastest growing brands in protein, collagen, and gut health with a 266 percent growth CAGR from 2013-2017, and is the largest dollar growth contributor to the category, contributing $10 million, which represents in excess of 40 percent of the total category growth.

“Our mission at Ancient Nutrition is to deliver real food and nutritional products that are formulated to provide ancient nutrients in a modern, convenient form,” said Dr. Josh Axe, Co-Founder of Ancient Nutrition. “The resulting products fuel the body and mind, restoring us to the health, strength, and vitality of our ancestors by delivering wholesome, clean ingredients.”

Ancient Nutrition’s strategic, minority investment is led by VMG Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in investing in and building iconic branded consumer product companies within the food, beverage, pet food, personal care, and wellness categories, including KIND, Quest, Vega, and more.

“VMG Partners is thrilled to partner with Jordan, Dr. Axe, and the phenomenal team they have built to deliver on a shared vision for the future of real food nutrition led by Ancient Nutrition,” said Jon Marshall, Vice President at VMG Partners. “The brand resonates so strongly with consumers who are actively seeking food that powers, as well as heals our bodies and overall well-being, and we are honored to be involved in the brand's continued growth and success.”

“We are completely blown away by the caliber of the Ancient Pioneers co-investor network and the expertise and enthusiasm that this group brings to the table,” said Wayne Wu, Managing Director and Partner at VMG Partners. “At VMG, we are passionate about building community and driving thought leadership in the emerging brand space. This truly remarkable group of more than 100 incredible individual co-investors joining together to support Ancient Nutrition is a testament to this community we are building that supports entrepreneurs and the emerging brand ecosystem as a whole."

Hillhouse Capital, a global firm and e-commerce thought leader throughout Asia focused on building and investing in successful brands, contributed significantly to this investment.

“We are excited to partner with Ancient Nutrition and are impressed by the vision of the co-founders,” said Lei Zhang, Founder of Hillhouse Capital. “We believe Ancient Nutrition will have great potential in Asia and look forward to working with the company to grow its business.”

Alongside VMG, Hillhouse Capital, ICONIQ Capital, and more than 100 individual investors form the co-investor network. This impressive network offers Ancient Nutrition’s current team the ability to accelerate growth and offers the unprecedented support of elite food and beverage founders, CEOs, investors, influencers, and industry professionals.

“The investment team cumulatively offers such rich and diverse expertise within the industry and we feel honored that they want to play a part in the next chapter of Ancient Nutrition,” said Jordan Rubin, Co-Founder of Ancient Nutrition. “We are so excited to partner with the best of the best to truly create the most impactful wellness brand in history.”

“The Ancient Pioneers network brings together industry veterans and leaders to support Ancient Nutrition and the brand’s exponential growth,” said John Foraker, Former CEO of Annie's Homegrown, Co-Founder and CEO of Once Upon a Farm. “I am proud to be involved and am excited to see what the next chapter holds for Ancient Nutrition as the brand continues to develop and expand.”

Ancient Nutrition’s products deliver ancient nutrients to a modern world,” said Gary Hirshberg, Co-Founder and Chairman of Stonyfield Farm. “I am thrilled to support Ancient Nutrition as they bring their mission of real food nutrition to more people.”

“Our bodies were designed and intended for high performance and thus require proper food to power this performance,” said Jillian Michaels, Personal Trainer, Fitness Expert, and Founder of Empowered Media. “People are increasingly recognizing the need for real food nutrition to nourish their bodies and this is what I envision for the future of the food landscape. I am so excited to see brands like Ancient Nutrition paving the way towards convenient, nutritionally rich foods that refresh and fuel our bodies.”

Ancient Nutrition products contain ingredients that are GMO-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, grain-free, and nut-free. Key products are available at Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, specialty retailers nationwide, and available online, shipping directly to consumers. The brand will exhibit at Natural Products Expo West on March 9-11 at the Anaheim Convention Center, located at 800 West Katella Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92802, where attendees will be able to sample the full product roster at booth #4575. For more details on the trade show, please visit www.expowest.com. For more information about Ancient Nutrition, please visit www.ancientnutrition.com.

About Ancient Nutrition:

At Ancient Nutrition, we believe the human body was built for high performance. In the modern world, we are disconnected from the traditions and nutritional principles that were honored and celebrated throughout history. Our real food nutritional products are designed to provide Ancient Nutrients in a modern, convenient form to power the body and mind, restoring us to the health, strength, and vitality of our ancestors. For more information, please visit www.ancientnutrition.com.

About Jordan Rubin:

Jordan Rubin, Co-Founder and CEO of Ancient Nutrition, is the founder and former CEO of Garden of Life and the New York Times best-selling author of “The Maker’s Diet” and 25 additional titles, including “Planet Heal Thyself” and “Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine.” Jordan owns and operates the nearly 4,000-acre Beyond Organic Ranch and Heal The Planet Farm, a regenerative Permaculture Retreat.

About Dr. Axe:

Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, Co-Founder of Ancient Nutrition, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist, chiropractic physician, and author with a passion to help people achieve radiant health. He is the best-selling author of “Eat Dirt” and “Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine,” and he operates one of the world’s largest natural health websites, visited by more than 17 million people every month looking for healthy recipes, herbal remedies, nutrition and fitness advice, and information on essential oils and natural supplements. Dr. Axe is an expert in functional medicine, digestive health, and herbal remedies. For more information, please visit www.draxe.com.

About VMG Partners:

VMG Partners is focused solely on partnering with entrepreneurs and managers to support the growth and strategic development of branded consumer products companies in the lower middle market. Since its inception in 2005, VMG has provided financial resources and strategic guidance to drive growth and value creation in more than 25 companies. VMG’s defined set of target investment categories includes food, beverage, personal care, pet products, and wellness. Representative past and present partner companies include babyganics®, Daily Harvest, Drunk Elephant, Justin's, KIND Healthy Snacks, Lantana Foods, Natural Balance, Nature’s Bakery, Perfect Bar, Pirate’s Booty, Pretzel Crisps®, Quest, Spindrift, Stone Brewing, Sun Bum, and Vega. VMG Partners is headquartered in San Francisco. For more information about the fund, please visit www.vmgpartners.com.

About Hillhouse Capital:

Founded in 2005, Hillhouse Capital is a global firm of investment professionals and operating executives who are focused on building and investing in high quality business franchises that achieve sustainable growth. Independent proprietary research and industry expertise, in conjunction with world-class operating and management capabilities, are key to Hillhouse Capital’s investment approach. Hillhouse Capital partners with exceptional entrepreneurs and management teams to create value, often with a focus on enacting innovation and technological transformation. Hillhouse Capital invests in the healthcare, consumer, TMT, advanced manufacturing, financials, and business services sectors in companies across all equity stages, with a particular focus on Asia. Hillhouse Capital and its group members manage over US$35 billion in assets on behalf of institutional clients such as university endowments, foundations, sovereign wealth funds, and family offices. For more information, please visit www.hillhousecap.com.

About ICONIQ Capital:

ICONIQ Capital is a global multi-family office and merchant bank representing a group of influential families and strategic investors.

About Ancient Pioneers:

The co-investor group is formed of the below industry leaders, influencers, and professionals who are honoring the past and leading the future of health. For more information on the Ancient Pioneers, please visit www.ancientnutrition.com/ancient-pioneers.

  • Andrew Abraham – Founder and CEO, Orgain
  • Suleman Ali – Founder, Ali Capital; Board Member, Native Co.
  • Moiz Ali – Founder and CEO, Native Co.; Founder, Ali Capital
  • Rakesh Amin – Partner, Amin Talati Upadhye
  • Meghan Asha – CEO, FounderMade Fund
  • Brad Barnhorn – Leading Board Member in the Food/Beverage Space (Krave, Kevita, Chameleon Cold-Brew, Simple Mills, Health Warrior, and Fishpeople, among others)
  • Keith Belling – Co-Founder, Chairman, and Former CEO, Pop Chips
  • Lonna Borden – Former CFO, Justin’s and IZZE Beverage Company
  • Justin Brown – Vice President of Business Development, Infinity Worlds, Inc.
  • Chad Bugos – Founder and President, Infinity Worlds, Inc.
  • Tara Burkley – Strategic Business Development Director, New Hope
  • Dave Burwick – Former CEO, Peets Coffee & Tea; CEO, The Boston Beer Company
  • Ryan Caldbeck – Founder and CEO, CircleUp
  • Casey Carl – Former Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, Target
  • Giancarlo Chersich – CEO, Lucky Jack Cold Brew Coffee
  • Joel Clark – CEO, Kodiak Cakes
  • Bob Daub – Senior Vice President, The Moscoe Group
  • Joe DiSalvo – Managing Partner, The DiSalvo Group PLLC
  • Shawn Edwards – Managing Director, Mindsight
  • David Eisenman – Co-Founder and CEO, Madwell
  • Joe Ennen – CEO, Columbus Foods
  • Karen Farrel – Natural Director of Brand Management-NBC, Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence
  • Chris Fenster – Founder and CEO, Propeller Industries
  • Bob Ferraro – Co-Founder, Lantana Foods
  • Michelle Finizio – Chief Revenue Officer and Head of Partnerships, FounderMade
  • Kelly Flatley – Founder, Bear Naked Granola
  • John Foraker – Former CEO, Annie’s Homegrown; Co-Founder and CEO, Once Upon a Farm
  • Adam Francis – CEO, Sun Bum
  • Ari Friedland – Angel Investor; Former Head of Business Development, Uber; Former Head of Strategic Partnerships, Dropbox
  • Andrew Friedman – Founder, Amplify Snack Brands/SkinnyPop Popcorn
  • Nilam Ganenthiran – Chief Business Officer, Instacart
  • Matt Gase – CEO, Lantana Foods; Former CEO, Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q Sauce
  • Sabina Gault – CEO, Konnect Agency
  • Anubhav Goel – Executive Vice President of Client Growth Solutions, SPINS
  • Justin Gold – Founder, Justin’s
  • Joey Gonzalez – CEO, Barry’s Bootcamp
  • Leah Gootkind – National Brand Manager, Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence
  • Ben Greenfield – CEO, Kion; Human Performance and Nutrition Consultant
  • Ryan Gutzmer – Partner and CEO, The Creative Partners Group
  • Taylor Hamilton – Owner, Tunies
  • Hass Hassan – Founder and CEO, Alfalfa’s Markets; Founder and Chairman, Fresh and Wild Markets; Former President, Wild Oats; Former Board Member, Whole Foods Market
  • Lewis Hershkowitz – President and CEO, Big Geyser, Inc.
  • Gary Hirshberg – Co-Founder and Chairman, Stonyfield Farm
  • William Hood – Founder and Managing Director, William Hood & Company
  • Jim Hornthal – Parallel Entrepreneur; Angel Investor; Former Board Member, KIND Snacks
  • Brian Howard – Partner, The DiSalvo Group PLLC
  • Bryan Jaffe – Managing Director and Head of Consumer Investment Banking, Cascadia Capital
  • Erica Jones, MHS – Co-Founder, Elevays.com
  • Dr. Isaac Jones – Co-Founder, Elevays.com
  • Bill Keith – Founder and CEO, Perfect Bar
  • Michael Kirban – Co-Founder and CEO, Vita Coco
  • Dan Klock – CEO, Bridgetown Natural Foods
  • Greg Koch – Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Stone Brewing
  • Ruth Kreiger – Managing Director and Co-Founder, Black Bamboo
  • Janica Lane, – Managing Director, Piper Jaffray & Co.
  • Chris Lansing – CEO, Nature’s Bakery; Former General Manager of Premium Nutrition & Venturing, PepsiCo
  • Ben Lee – Managing Director, CircleUp Growth Partners
  • Brian Lee – Co-Founder and Former CEO, The Honest Company
  • Carl Lee – Former President and CEO, Snyder’s Lance, Inc.; Managing Partner and CEO, Arbel Growth Partners
  • Mark Leets – CFO, LBI Entertainment
  • Ido Leffler – Co-Founder, Yoobi, Yes To and Brandless.com
  • Michelle Lobo – Vice President of Nutrition Body Care, Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence
  • William Madden, III – Co-Founder, Whole Brain Consulting
  • Meena Mansharamani – CEO, Maya Kaimal Fine Indian Foods; Former Managing Director, North America Go-Go SqueeZ
  • Monica McGurk – Former Chief Growth Officer, Tyson
  • Jillian Michaels – Personal Trainer and Fitness Expert; Founder, Empowered Media
  • Tracy Miedema – Vice President of Innovation and Brand Development, Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence
  • Jane Miller – Former CEO, Rudi’s Organic Bakery
  • Spencer Millerberg – Managing Partner, One Click Retail
  • Blake Mitchell – Principal, Interact Boulder
  • Shaun Neff – Founder, NEFF; Partner, Beach House Group; Investor and Board Member, Sun Bum
  • Pam Netzky – Co-Founder, Amplify Snack Brands/SkinnyPop Popcorn
  • Brad Oberwager – Founder and CEO, Jyve; Chairman and Founder, Sundia; Former CEO and Owner, Bare Snacks
  • Michael Olguin – President and CEO, Havas Formula
  • Tony Olson – Owner and CEO, SPINS
  • Gil Oren – Co-Founder, Lantana Foods
  • Santosh Padki – CEO, Bare Snacks
  • Christine Perich – President, Perich Advisors; Former CEO, WTRMLN WTR and New Belgium Brewing Company
  • John B. Phillips – Managing Director, Sankaty Associates
  • Justin Prochnow – Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig
  • Mark Rampolla – Founder, ZICO; CEO, Beanfields
  • Courtney Reum – Co-Founder, M13; Co-Founder and Former CEO, VEEV Spirits
  • Carter Reum – Co-Founder, M13; Co-Founder and Former CEO, VEEV Spirits
  • Tyler Ricks – President, Noah’s New York Bagels; Former CMO and VP of Sales, Plum Organics
  • Bob Rubin – President and CEO, Solid Gold Pet; Former Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Nature’s Variety
  • Alison Ryu – Managing Director, CircleUp Growth Partners
  • Kenneth Sadowsky – Beverage Industry Expert with Advisory and Directorial positions at brands including Glaceau Vitaminwater, Vita Coco, Hint Water, Bai Brands, and more
  • Katy Saeger – CEO, Harmonica
  • Kristina Schneider – Key Account Executive, Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence
  • Jon Sebastiani – Founder and CEO, Sonoma Brands; Founder of KRAVE, SMASHMALLOW, and ZÜPA NOMA
  • Scott Semel – Founder and Former CEO, BarkTHINS
  • Joe Serventi – General Manager, Hippeas; Former EVP of Corporate Development, BarkTHINS and Pirate Brands
  • Greg Shearson – CEO, Merrick Pet
  • Mo Siegel – Founder and Former Chairman, President, and CEO, Celestial Seasonings; Former Board Member, Whole Foods Market, Annie's, Breathe Right, NorthWest Nutritionals (Lil Critters), and others; Current Board Member, Chocolove, Wholesome Sweeteners, Colorado Impact Fund, Himalayan Cataract Project, and more
  • Jeremy Smith – Founder and CEO, Launchpad
  • Steven Spinner – Chairman and CEO, UNFI
  • Jill Staib – Director, William Hood & Company; Former VP of Strategic Initiatives, The Nature’s Bounty Co.
  • Sheila Stanziale – Former CEO, Mighty Leaf Tea; Former President, US Infant/Toddler Feeding, The Hain-Celestial Group; Former President and General Manager, Diageo-Guinness USA
  • Dr. Dan Sullivan – Founder, Chiropractic Advocate; Co-Founder, Full Potential Family
  • Jeff Sunberg, Founder, The Creative Partners Group
  • Brian Swette – President, Sweet Earth Enlightened Foods
  • Kelly Swette – Co-Founder and CEO, Sweet Earth Enlightened Foods
  • Brian Taylor – Founder, Kernel Seasons
  • Ben Telling – Managing Partner, AssessIT
  • Koel Thomae – Co-Founder, Noosa Yoghurt
  • Terry Tierney – CEO, Daiya
  • Jesse Tomalty – Owner, Tunies
  • John Tucker – CEO and President, Farmhouse Culture; Former CEO, Dave’s Killer Bread and So Delicious
  • John Van Spyk – Partner, AssessIT
  • TJ Varecka – Emerging Brand Advisor and Director, KMG Group
  • Adel Villalobos – President, Owner and CEO, Lief Labs
  • William Wadman – Senior Partner, Synergetics Worldwide
  • Brandon Warren – Senior Vice President, Infinity Worlds, Inc.
  • Ivan Wasserman – Partner, Amin Talati Upadhye
  • Bill Weiland – Founder, President and CEO, Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence
  • Jack Whigham – Co-Head of Movie Picture Talent Group, Creative Artists Agency
  • Rick Yorn – Founder and CEO, LBI Entertainment
  • John Zabrodsky – Managing Director, Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Inc.
  • Dr. Chris Zaino – Founder, Abundant Life Chiropractic, Chiro Thought Leaders, and IAmHero Project
  • Eric Zeitoun – Managing Director and Co-Founder, Black Bamboo

Contacts

Media Contact for Ancient Nutrition:
Rebecca Campbell
rcampbell@konnectagency.com