NEW YORK and LOS ANGELES, October 3, 2019 – NexPhase Capital, LP (“NexPhase” or the “Firm”), an operationally-focused, independent private equity firm, today announced its investment in Popcornopolis, LLC (“Popcornopolis,” “PCO” or the “Company”), a leading manufacturer of premium- quality, ready-to-eat popcorn. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 2003 by veteran entrepreneurs Wally and Kathy Arnold, Popcornopolis manufactures and markets a diverse portfolio of indulgent flavors such as “Zebra,” a best-selling dark and white chocolate- drizzled caramel corn, as well as better-for-you varieties that are exceptionally tender and offer a crispy crunch with every bite such as “Nearly Naked,” which is popped in coconut oil to enhance its natural buttery flavor. The Company has created an experiential and easily recognized brand through its iconic cone packaging and omni-channel distribution strategy, which consists of direct-to-consumer mediums and entertainment venues in addition to traditional club, convenience, food, drug and mass retailers.
Popcornopolis has always manufactured all of its products in its own facilities, ensuring industry leading quality and positioning the Company as one of the most innovative and collaborative partners for retailers. The Company recently opened a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Vernon, California to support future developments and its commitment to producing exceptional and creative products. By leveraging NexPhase’s deep-rooted knowledge in scaling consumer packaged goods (“CPG”) brands, the partnership with the Firm is expected to propel Popcornopolis’ continued growth.
“NexPhase is the ideal partner for Popcornopolis and this investment comes at an exciting time for our Company,” said Wally Arnold, CEO of Popcornopolis. “As NexPhase brings a wealth of experience in growing consumer brands, we are eager to leverage the Firm’s expertise in CPG to expand our Company’s footprint while maintaining Popcornopolis’ uncompromising commitment to product quality and the consumer experience.”
“We are honored to work with the Popcornopolis team to accelerate the Company’s impressive growth and further establish the brand as the leading gourmet player in the ready-to-eat popcorn category,” said Jamie Kaufman, a Partner at NexPhase. “At a time when consumers are snacking significantly more, Popcornopolis delivers what consumers are increasingly seeking: a delicious and indulgent snacking experience built upon clean ingredients and a responsible company culture.”
Popcornopolis sources 100% of its corn from American farmers and uses only top-quality ingredients. In addition, Popcornopolis is committed to supporting non-profits through its fundraising program, which has raised over $25 million for schools and other community programs nationwide.
“Popcornopolis is a beloved brand and we are confident in our ability to help introduce its fun and innovative delicacies to more snack-lovers across the country,” said Doug Corbett, an Operating Partner at NexPhase. “We look forward to working with Wally, Kathy and the Company’s strong team to execute on the shared vision we have for Popcornopolis.”
Jamie Kaufman will join Popcornopolis’ Board of Directors alongside Doug Corbett who will join as Executive Chairman. Kaufman leads the Firm’s consumer investing practice and Corbett brings nearly 30 years of consumer operating experience growing and optimizing branded businesses in the U.S., Western Europe and Canada.
The NexPhase consumer team focuses on investing in branded CPG companies, including Zing Zang, the fastest growing and leading non-alcoholic cocktail mix brand in the U.S., which offers a complete line of premium quality mixers in 200,000 retail and on-premise locations nationwide.
Jefferies, LLC served as exclusive financial advisor to Popcornopolis. Lowenstein Sandler LLP and Arnold Porter Kaye Scholer provided legal counsel to NexPhase on the transaction.
About NexPhase Capital
NexPhase Capital (“NPC”) is a thematic and operationally-focused private equity firm that invests in lower middle market growth-oriented companies within three distinct sectors: consumer, healthcare, and software & services. The firm partners with founder-owned companies that have reached a growth inflection point and are seeking a value-add partner to help navigate the company’s “next phase.” The NPC team has extensive industry and operational experience and NPC’s partners have invested together for nearly a decade. The firm targets control equity investments between $25 million and $75 million. NexPhase was formed in 2016 by the former principals of Moelis Capital Partners and advises $1.2 billion of private equity capital. For more information, please visit www.NexPhase.com.
“Made the way it oughta be,” Popcornopolis gourmet popcorn offers 20 mouthwatering recipes and is made from 100% American-grown, non-GMO popcorn. Crafted with big time flavor, the company’s gourmet popcorns are also certified gluten-free with no high fructose corn syrup, or added preservatives, and only the finest ingredients. Popcornopolis products can be found nationwide in grocery, club, mass convenience and drug stores as well as professional sport venues, movie theatres and on popcornopolis.com. The Company was founded in 2003 and is based in Vernon, California. For more information and a full list of Popcornopolis products visit www.popcornopolis.com.