Banking & Finance  July 29, 2021

Sunrise Strategic Partners gains new investment, brings on a managing partner

BOULDER — Sunrise Strategic Partners, a Boulder-based accelerator of emerging brands in the healthy, active and sustainable living space, has added additional funding from Trilantic North America. 

The new funding solidifies Sunrise, founded in 2016, as the largest food and beverage investor on the Front Range.

Steve Hughes and Vincent Love co-founded Sunrise Strategic Partners. Courtesy Sunrise Strategic Partners.

The accelerator would not disclose the amount of the funding, or how much New York-based Trilantic committed previously, but Sunrise’s co-founder Steve Hughes said “it represents hundreds of millions of dollars” and is the majority of the money that will be invested in scale-up companies.


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“Our partnership with Trilantic North America has created a new model for value creation for emerging brands in our sector,” Hughes, managing partner of Sunrise, said in a written statement.

“The capital, and more importantly growth expertise, we provide is empowering brands to disrupt their categories. We are excited to continue this rewarding partnership with Jamie Manges and the entire Trilantic North America team.”

“We’re looking for a big idea on top of a big category that resonates with Millennials,” Hughes told BizWest. Attractive companies will be those that offer “big themes that will be megatrends over the next 10 years.” Those companies will not be startups but will be those that are already generating more than $10 million in revenue.

Sunrise Strategic Partners has recently completed two successful exits. Sunrise invested in Kodiak Cakes in 2016, helping drive revenue from $15 million to more than $200 million and a successful sale to L Catterton. Sunrise remains a minority shareholder in Kodiak Cakes alongside Kodiak’s founders and management team. 

Sunrise was also an investor in Vital Farms, which completed its IPO in 2020. Other brands in the Sunrise portfolio include Cali’flour Foods, Coolhaus, Kill Cliff, Little Secrets, Maple Hill Creamery, Pact, and Teton Waters Ranch.

“With two successful exits and a portfolio of world-class brands, Sunrise Strategic Partners remains well-positioned to continue identifying and accelerating brands in the better-for-you food and beverage space,” said Jamie Manges, partner at Trilantic North America. “We look forward to the next phase of our partnership, supporting the next generation of extraordinary founders and scaling their businesses to become category leaders.”

The additional funding from Trilantic has enabled Sunrise to bring in food and beverage executive Peter Burns as a managing partner. Most recently, as CEO of ONE Brands, Burns led the sale of the company to Hershey in late 2019. Prior to that he also led Justin’s to a successful sale to Hormel. Burns will join Hughes and Vincent Love as managing partner of Sunrise’s new investment vehicle funded by Trilantic North America’s Fund VI North America.

Burns said societal shifts are causing increased interest in natural food brands. “Millennial consumers are driving a massive shift from legacy brands to emerging brands that are better aligned with their values. I’m excited to join Sunrise because we are uniquely positioned to partner with these disruptive brands and provide the tools and expertise needed to capitalize on this shift in the industry.”

Sunrise has also promoted Nick Mole to principal. Mole joined Sunrise in 2016 and will continue his role originating, performing due diligence on and structuring Sunrise Strategic Partners’ investments.

© 2021 BizWest Media LLC

Ken Amundson
Ken Amundson is managing editor of BizWest. He has lived in Loveland and reported on issues in the region since 1987. Prior to Colorado, he reported and edited for news organizations in Minnesota and Iowa. He's a parent of two and grandparent of four, all of whom make their homes on the Front Range. A news junkie at heart, he also enjoys competitive sports, especially the Rapids.
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