BOULDER — The Colorado Impact Fund is investing $3 million in Boulder-based Bhakti Chai, a manufacturer of craft-brewed chai tea.
A portion of the investment will be used to help Bhakti Chai build a larger manufacturing facility in Longmont, support the company’s sales and marketing efforts, and expand distribution nationwide.
As a part of the transaction, John Foraker, president of Annie’s Inc. and a prior angel investor in Bhakti Chai, will be joining the company’s board.
The Colorado Impact Fund, a private-equity firm based in Denver, was founded last year by Jim Kelley and Ryan Heckman. Kelley is a co-founder of Vestar Capital Partners, through which the Colorado Impact Fund is operated. The CIF invests in local companies that generate investment returns in addition to positive community impact in Colorado, according to a statement.
Bhakti was founded in 2007 by Brook Eddy, a female entrepreneur who, after traveling to India, developed her own chai recipe —which she began bottling and selling throughout Boulder. Bhakti has grown in recent years to become a national brand by rolling out new products and increasing distribution channels. Bhakti Chai concentrates, and ready-to-drink and Artisan teas are available at Whole Foods Markets, natural and independent markets, Costco, Kroger, Target and cafés around the country.
The Colorado Impact Fund selected Bhakti Chai as its first investment because of the company’s commitment to fresh, sustainably sourced ingredients — certified organic, Fair Trade and non-GMO. Bhakti is a certified B-Corp, which reflects its commitment to community impact and its environmental standards, including zero-waste manufacturing practices and use of sustainable packaging.
“Eddy is a talented and mission-driven entrepreneur who has built an authentic brand for consumers in the rapidly growing category of craft brewed chai, teas and coffees,” Kelley said.
The Colorado Impact Fund targets investments of $2 million to $6 million in the areas of community health, natural resource conservation, education and workforce development and economic development.