Sunday, May 16, 2021

Exclusive: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex debuts as startup investor

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Throughout her half-decade on the world stage, Meghan Markle has made gender equality one of her main causes. The Duchess of Sussex is now expanding this mission to the private sector as she begins to build a portfolio of seed money investments.

The Duchess is investing in Clevr Blends, a startup that makes instant oat milk lattes. In a statement announcing her investment in the brand, led by co-founder and CEO Hannah Mendoza, Meghan underscored her interest in supporting women-founded businesses, which received only 2.7% of venture capital funding in 2019. The personal investment is Meghan’s first to go public.

“This investment is intended to support a passionate entrepreneur who prioritizes building a community alongside her business,” the Duchess said in a statement to Fortune. “I am proud to invest in Hannah’s commitment to finding ethical ingredients and to creating a product that I personally love and that has a holistic approach to wellness. I believe in her and I believe in her company.

Well-being has long been Meghan’s interest; she often wrote about the wellness area when she ran a now-closed lifestyle blog called The Tig. Meghan reached out to the Clevr team after trying the company’s oat milk latte product, which debuted at a pop-up cafe in Santa Barbara, Calif., In 2017. The southern-based company California is based near Montecito, Calif., where she and Meghan her husband, Prince Harry, moved earlier this year.

A representative for the Duchess declined to disclose the size of her investment, which was not part of any larger funding round. The brand, which has six employees, was until now self-financed. Clevr plans to use this investment to grow his business, which currently sells four different types of instant lattes for $ 28, as well as a milk frother and travel mug. The brand has also pledged to donate 1% of its revenue to organizations that fight for food justice in the United States, money which currently goes to El Centro SB de Santa Barbara, a self-help and community organization.

“Entrepreneurs need financing, but they also need advisors who care deeply about what they are building. I am grateful to have found both at the Duchess of Sussex, “Mendoza said in a statement. “His passion for what we create is palpable, and I couldn’t imagine a more aligned partnership. We are delighted with the road ahead. “

From the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped down as senior royals in early 2020, the couple have developed platforms to continue supporting their charitable causes, which also include mental health, the end of online harassmentand supporting veterans – as public figures largely based in the United States. Archewell Foundation, where Meghan continues to work on the issue of gender equality across the nonprofit space, is taking off. The Duchess joined the Fortune Summit of the most powerful women and MPW Next Gen Summit this fall to discuss these issues.

During their complicated exit from their official roles in the royal family, the couple pledged to achieve “Financial independence”, Which means they would no longer depend on funding from UK taxpayers; as active members of the royal family, they were prohibited from earning any form of “professional income”.

In addition to Meghan’s interest in investing in startups, the Duke and Duchess, who is a former actor, entered the private sector via an agreement to produce content for Netflix.

Learn more about the most powerful women in business of Fortune:

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