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Exclusive: Semcap pays $68M for minority stake in protein brand Aloha

Mar 26, 2024
an illustration of a granola bar with a 100 dollar bill on its wrapper

Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

Growth equity firm Semcap Food & Nutrition invested $68 million to take a minority stake in plant-based protein brand Aloha, Brad Charron, Aloha's CEO, tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: The brand sits at the nexus of consumer and investor appetite for better-for-you snacks.

Zoom in: Semcap is buying out early angel investors, says Charron, who called the deal "serendipitous."

  • The company has been profitable on an EBITDA basis for two years and is cash-flow positive.

What's next: Aloha is targeting "the largest food manufacturers" and the "largest American retail accounts" in its expansion, Charron says.

  • The company is committed to its existing categories including snack bars, protein powders, and ready-to-drink protein beverages.

Between the lines: Aloha employees and management will retain a significant stake in the company and Charron will keep his role as chairman and CEO.

  • Semcap's John Haugen and Ryan Newcom will join Aloha's board.
  • "We knew we could add a lot of value to Brad and his team as they think about winning digitally, but then continuing to expand the business in more traditional retail outlets," Newcom says.

Also joining the board is seasoned food and beverage exec Paul Kenny, formerly at Kind Snacks and Yasso.

  • He says Aloha is at the forefront of some of the important snack trends, such as "better for you" and being sustainable.
  • "Consumers are willing to pay a premium today for really good products so they don't have to pay for premium down the line with poor health," Kenny says.

The bottom line: "I want to be at eye level at every place that the consumer goes to look for our category," Charron says.

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