Butterfly Emerges as the Largest Food-Focused Private Equity Firm Spanning the Entire Food Value Chain, Investing in Category Leaders and Industry Disruptors to Drive Transformation and Accelerate Growth
Seed to fork fund Butterfly Equity recently announced the closing of its sophomore fund. Nearly doubling in size from the previous vintage, the fund closed with commitments of $1 billion from a wide range of partners including institutional investors, family offices, entrepreneurs, and food investors. Together with its previous fund and co-investments, Butterfly has nearly $4 billion of assets under management.
This California private firm also just signed a definitive agreement to acquire QDOBA from Apollo Global Management and merge it with its existing brands to form a leading fast casual restaurant platform in North America with nearly 800 restaurants. In addition, Butterfly and Bolthouse Farms (the No. 1 super premium refrigerated beverage brand and largest carrot supplier to North American retailers) announced the acquisition of Evolution Fresh from Starbucks earlier this month, accelerating Bolthouse’s leadership in the premium juice and refrigerated beverage categories in retail. Butterfly also sold a majority interest in Orgain, the U.S.’ leading plant-based functional nutrition platform, to Nestlé Health Science earlier this year.
Launched in 2016 by Adam Waglay, a former KKR executive, and Dustin Beck, a former Vista Equity Partners and Riot Games executive, Butterfly invests in vital and innovative food companies spanning the entire value chain. Butterfly believes this opportunity set is massive and is supported by strong secular tailwinds which remain recession resilient. Butterfly partners with founders and management teams to transform businesses and accelerate growth with highly specialized operational resources led by former KKR executive Derick Prelle, Partner and Head of Portfolio Operations at Butterfly. Other Butterfly investments include category leaders in the food sector, such as Chosen Foods (an industry leader and pioneer of avocado oil and creator of avocado-based kitchen staples), MaryRuth Organics (a leading and rapidly growing health and wellness brand operating in the vitamins, minerals, and supplements industry), Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs (the nation’s leading producer of organic, free-range and pasture-raised eggs), and Pacifico Aquaculture (the world’s only producer of ocean-raised striped bass).
“We are beyond excited to announce the closing of this sophomore fund and are overwhelmed by and thankful for the receptivity and support we have received from our investors and their confidence in our team,” said Adam Waglay, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Butterfly. “When we launched Butterfly, we knew the opportunity for a specialized focus in the food sector across the seed to fork spectrum was significant, but it has far surpassed what we expected in many ways, and this is just the beginning. Through these uncertain times, the food sector has emerged as one of the most important sectors for investing and we are humbled to be at the edge of this new frontier as a partner of choice working with such incredible food industry leaders, innovators and disruptors to drive transformational change and growth where it matters the most.”
Dustin Beck, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Butterfly, said, “We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to partner with founders and management teams on their journey to create strong businesses, particularly in such a fun, exciting and disruptive space within the food ecosystem. We’ve been able to bring a set of intangibles to the table beyond traditional capital partners, particularly around our operational and technological capabilities, to help our underlying companies realize their full potential. Consumers around the globe care more today than ever before about doing business the right way. Across our portfolio, we have a vigorous focus on leading by example in the food system, both with our philanthropic efforts and our commitment to making a positive impact, which is passionately embraced by Butterfly and its partners as demonstrated by our commitment to B-Corp certify our investments and our firm itself.”
Passionate about making a positive impact through food, the Butterfly Equity Foundation was launched simultaneously with the founding of the firm with the goal of improving the health and well-being of all people by supporting greater access to nutritious food. Food justice is the core of the Foundation’s giving, as Butterfly believes that it is fundamental to physical and mental health, cultural identity, the environment, and so much more. The Foundation seeks to fulfill this mission by furthering the work of nonprofits that provide nutrition security and promote healthy, affordable food retail in neighborhoods with low access. The Butterfly Equity Foundation is supported by Butterfly’s general partners, who have made an ongoing pledge to contribute 10% of their net profits in addition to outside funds from individual and corporate donors.