PowerPlant Ventures announced that the fund has acquired ZICO coconut water from The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta. PowerPlant Ventures, a growth equity investor, was co-founded and is co-led by Mark Rampolla, who is the brand visionary behind ZICO, which he founded in 2004 and sold to The Coca-Cola Co. in 2013. Terms were not disclosed.
Rampolla first discovered coconut water and its natural replenishing properties as a Peace Corps volunteer in Central America. Later, as a corporate executive traveling across Latin America and Asia, he realized there was a well-developed infrastructure for coconut meat and oil, but coconut water was mostly discarded as a waste product.
Rampolla set out to create not just a new brand but an entire new health beverage category that would be environmentally sustainable and create economic opportunities in developing countries across the world. He quit his corporate career, moving with his young family from El Salvador to New York to launch ZICO in 2004. Under Mark’s leadership, ZICO delivered nine years of explosive growth, becoming one of the fastest-growing beverage brands in the world, the company says.
“We are incredibly proud of the results we achieved growing ZICO when it was a part of the Coca-Cola family of brands and wish PowerPlant Ventures continued success as they take the ZICO brand on a new journey,” said Manolo Arroyo, global chief marketing officer of The Coca-Cola Co., in a statement.
The new company, named ZICO Rising, Long Beach, Calif., will be a homecoming for ZICO under the PowerPlant Ventures portfolio, as well as a new beginning for the beverage brand. Powerplant has enlisted industry veterans Thomas Hicks and Alan George to lead the brand as chief executive officer and chief financial officer, respectively. Hicks and George have long-standing, impressive track records, with the pair having worked together to advance both Naked Juice and Monster Energy’s Natural Division.
“I respect the decision of Coca-Cola to focus on other elements of their beverage business,” Rampolla said. “I still have a lot of love for ZICO, and I know consumers do too. We are thrilled to acquire the company and thankful for the support from Coca-Cola.”