Duchess Meghan invested in Clevr Blends, an oat-milk latte start-up business

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend an event at Millennium Point to celebrate International Women's Day in Birmingham on 8th March 2018

One of the coolest things about Serena Williams – who is already a very cool person – is that she decided to start a venture capital firm called Serena Ventures, where she (obvs) invests in start-ups and new businesses, with a priority on female-led start-ups and investing in women of color and their small businesses. Serena, as we know, is good friends with the Duchess of Sussex. So I kind of wonder if Serena and Meghan have talked about how to best invest Meghan’s Netflix largesse, and Serena perhaps encouraged Meghan to begin investing in start-ups. Because here we go:

Throughout her near half-decade on the global stage, Meghan Markle has made gender equality one of her core causes. The Duchess of Sussex is now extending that mission to the private sector as she begins to build a portfolio of startup 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—which is led by cofounder and CEO Hannah Mendoza—Meghan emphasized her interest in supporting female-founded companies, which received only 2.7% of venture capital funding in 2019. The personal investment is Meghan’s first to be made public.

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

Wellness has long been an interest of Meghan’s; she often wrote about the wellness space when she ran a now-shuttered lifestyle blog called The Tig. Meghan reached out to the Clevr team after trying the company’s oat-milk latte product, which debuted through a Santa Barbara, California pop-up coffee shop in 2017. The Southern California-based business is headquartered near Montecito, California, where Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, moved earlier this year.

A representative for the duchess declined to disclose the size of her investment, which wasn’t part of any kind of larger funding round. The brand, which has six staff members, has until now been self-funded. Clevr plans to use the investment to scale its business, which currently sells four different kinds of instant lattes retailing for $28, as well as a milk frother and travel mug. The brand has also committed donating 1% of revenue to organizations fighting for food justice in the U.S., money that is currently going to Santa Barbara’s El Centro SB, a mutual aid and community organization.

“Entrepreneurs need funding, but they also need advisers who care deeply about what they are building. I’m grateful to have found both in the Duchess of Sussex,” Mendoza said in a statement. “Her passion for what we’re creating is palpable, and I couldn’t imagine a more aligned partnership. We’re excited for the road ahead.”

[From Fortune]

I’m starting to put it all together – these were the latte mixes Meghan likely sent Oprah by way of a Christmas present. And then Oprah of course used her enormous platform to post a social media video where she’s drinking the latte. I imagine Meghan sent those same gifts to all of her big-name friends (probably Serena too). There is going to be a HUGE demand for Clevr products now, I hope the ladies at the business know that. Amazon/Whole Foods will probably be calling. Meghan is going to double her money in about a week.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instagram.

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76 Responses to “Duchess Meghan invested in Clevr Blends, an oat-milk latte start-up business”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    This is amazing. I was confused by the Oprah video at first but then it all clicked. Oprah doesn’t showcase every gift she receives – she and Meghan probably discussed it first and Oprah was excited about the company and product and agreed to the IG video – what a promotion for the company!

    • Nic919 says:

      I was confused with her doing this but thought it was just supporting how thoughtful Meghan was as a neighbour. I was a bit surprised that she had said M and then was more obvious about it in the comments, but this makes total sense.

      • Becks1 says:

        Also, you know KP has to be spitting mad about this. Oprah referred to Meghan as her neighbor and just called her M. Granted she put the little crown icon there, so it was clear who she meant, but I’m laughing bc the british press is so obsessed with whether the Sussexes have HRH or their titles and meanwhile Meghan is now known as Oprah’s neighbor M (“yes that M”) and everyone knows who she means. These are the circles the Cambridges want to be in and they aren’t.

      • Nic919 says:

        Oprah is a powerful friend to have and Meghan was smart to cultivate that friendship on many levels. To become one of the richest women in the world when she grew up in the south as a African American women prior to the end of segregation tells you her strength.

  2. Amy Bee says:

    I think this just so cool.

  3. AnnaKist says:

    I’m just watching our food channel, where the guys from Living on the Veg made a faux French toast, using oat milk. I’ve never tried any of these milks, but then, I only ever use milk in my tea, and then only a spit. The Sussexes seem to be getting on with things, without a public mention of the “family” in England, who could take a cue.

    • cc says:

      My sister clued me in to Oat milk, I find it taste much better than Almond Milk

      • TeamAwesome says:

        Yes, SO much better than almond milk!!

      • L4frimaire says:

        My neighbor gave me a carton of Oatly that I haven’t tried yet. Now I’m curious. Generally only do almond milk, but only in cereal and turmeric or matcha drinks.

    • JanetDR says:

      I am always looking for alternatives (vegetarian who dabbles in becoming vegan here) and I love oat milk! I find it is especially good in iced coffee, but I’m warming up to it with hot drinks too. It is the best thing so far for me.

      • Original Jenns of says:

        Lactose intolerant here and I love hearing about new products that are good and made from ethical ingredients and female founded and I can have it! What a great investment choice, both for her wallet and for her philanthropic side.

    • heygingersnaps says:

      my son is allergic to dairy ( & eggs), he had a really terrible reaction when he was just 5 months old and we had to rush him to a&e. He’s growing up drinking oat milk (oatly or califia are my preferred brands, my son will only drink oatly whole milk though). I’ve tried other plant based milk but we’re happy to stick with oat milk.

    • Alexandria says:

      I’ve tried all plant based milk except rice milk and oat is the closest to dairy creaminess.

  4. Snuffles says:

    I wasn’t going to buy it because it’s pricey but as soon as I found out she invested in it, I bought a bag!

    I am SO excited and proud of Meghan! And I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she started her own little venture capital firm like Serena. It’s an absolutely GENIUS idea considering her platform and reach. I wonder who else she sent a special gift basket to. I love seeing celebrities get gift baskets from business women like Beyonce, Chrissy Teigen or Cardi B. Mainly because I’m curious who they would choose. It gives me a sense of they think their potential audience would be and who they are close with and/or support.

    Here’s hoping she also brings back The Tig!

  5. MsIam says:

    Very interesting and I hope it’s successful. I haven’t jumped on the milk alternative train yet but I know a lot of people are into it.

  6. Snuffles says:

    I just wanted to add I’m so envious that Meghan is probably getting killer financial and investment advice from people like Oprah and Serena.

    Also, I predict RRs seething and already writing up articles about how she’s not investing in BRITISH brands. But I bet you anything she already has.

    • Nyro says:

      If she invests in any British brands it’ll likely be with young women of color. I’d love to see her invest in and make millionaires out of some Black and Asian women in Britain. The establishment would lose their minds.

  7. S808 says:

    When I saw the video yesterday I had a feeling it was either her brand or something she invested in. This is right up her alley (female owned and health & wellness) so I’m not surprised she’s invested. I’m definitely interested in the matcha latte and may purchase a bag if it isn’t sold out!

    • VS says:

      I bought the Matcha and Golden…….I can’t wait to try them and if I like, I will most likely subscribe………..also my family is not going to know what hit them for their Christmas gift; especially my mother and grandma LOL

  8. tee says:

    i looooove oat milk lattes and have been on the hunt for a good matcha one. i can’t justify that price to myself however ha

  9. Ginger says:

    I am so excited to see what these two will do! This is amazing!

  10. Sofia says:

    “ The personal investment is Meghan’s first to be made public.”

    So there are more potentially coming down the line? I’m excited

  11. WintryMix says:

    LOL all right so I first went to the website to check this product out feeling quite skeptical and dismissive, because I’m usually not into the whole “holistic wellness” mumbo-jumbo, and…I ended up buying the starter kit. What can I say? I’ve been feeling dissatisfied with my coffee routine and wanting to experiment and, well, they got me.

  12. Jumpingthesnark says:

    I love my coffee drinks and have been curious about oat milk. Off to look it up…..

  13. Digital Unicorn says:

    I think the doggie in the background wanted a cup too!!

  14. OriginalLala says:

    oat milk is my plant milk of choice – I make my own, it’s so delicious and inexpensive!

    • Millennial says:

      It’s our household favorite too, and it requires less water to make than almond and dairy milks. Win!

  15. The Duchess says:

    Adore this! I’m so excited to see what Meghan & Harry have in store for 2021. The future is theirs for the taking. Also thought it was really cute for Oprah to give Clevr Blends a shoutout on her Instagram.

  16. Lemons says:

    Andrew must be seething!! Only he can “invest” in startups with Pitch@Palace!!! 😂

    • Amy Bee says:

      The problem was as a working royal he was illegally profiting from this scheme. There shouldn’t be a problem with him doing it now given he is apparently no longer a working royal. There will still be people in the British establishment who would work with him.

      • TheAnonymousPimpernel says:

        Andrew wasn’t making investments. He was taking a percentage from budding entrepreneurs who met investors at Pitch@Palace.

      • SomeChick says:

        It’s still illegally profiting. “Palace” is right there in the name!

    • anotherlily says:

      I don’t think it was illegal. There is no law against it that I know of. It is probably against ‘protocol’ but that seems to be a rather elastic concept. Edward and Sophie combined working for money alongside royal duties for a few years. If they’d been successful there would have been no problem. At the time the Queen was reportedly very much in favour. She agreed with Charles’ ideas for a smaller group with a full-time royal role and others combining paid work with a supporting role in official duties.

      The main reason for the outrage supposedly emanating from the Palace is that Meghan is successful. She and Harry have achieved financial independence along with a growing influential public platform. Meanwhile the Cambridges haven’t lived up to the hype.

  17. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Is there coffee in it?

    • WintryMix says:

      There are 4 different flavors: Coffee, Matcha, Chai, and Golden (turmeric-based). The Coffee one of course has coffee and thus caffeine, and the Matcha and Chai have no coffee but lower amounts of caffeine. The Golden is caffeine-free.

  18. ThatsNotOkay says:

    Just bought some, in honor of both the Duchess and the great, environmentally-conscious mission of the company. If you want some, hurry, they’re running out of stuff! (I’ve missed out on the mug, for now.)

  19. Bravo Meghan, you go girl! And, may I just say, that Oprah looks wonderful in this clip. Informal, relaxed…..love her hair ……love Oprah. She’s had her missteps—- who hasn’t —- but she has this wonderfully enormous heart and is such a force for good. [ Plus, I have always envied and loved her ongoing friendship/sisterhood with Gayle King. These are two women who have done the hard work to have a really good, long term friendship and it shows. ] I’ve been watching Oprah’s one-on-one interviews lately with people like Dolly Parton and Obama. She is such a terrific interviewer.

  20. Busyann says:

    I dont like latte’s they hurt my tummy….but I kind of want to try this.

    • Harla says:

      Could it be the milk that hurts your tummy? Oat milk might be a better choice for you.

    • Nic919 says:

      I discovered that I was lactose intolerant in my 20s and switched off regular milk. Now I can enjoy lattes with soy, oat or almond milk. The lactose free option at Starbucks works too. I can eat cheese, yoghurt and ice cream, but it was just milk that gave me cramps.

  21. GreenQueen says:

    I went to check it out and boom decided to get a starter kit because it fits my needs exactly! I don’t have a coffee or espresso machine at home, have been wanting to quit my Starbucks addiction and have recently fallen in love with oatmilk lattes. I’m super excited to give this a try and feel good about this company and her investment in it!

  22. Lauren says:

    She is just money, money, money since leaving the firm. You go girl!!

  23. fluffy_bunny says:

    I looked it up and it’s got mushrooms in it which I just can’t get past so I passed on it but good for Meghan investing in women led start ups and having Oprah pimp it out.

  24. What’s eating you says:

    I think that it’s great that she’s investing in brands. Also Charles has his duchy originals and Peter sells Royal milk in China so people can’t complain. The only people that will feel salty is keen and peen.

    • BnLurkN4eva says:

      Both those are using royal connection, this is not. This has nothing to do with the royals of Britain, except that she is a ex-royal something she can’t ever escape. Peter used his heritage to literally sell that product and Charles is literally utilizing his being the Prince of Wales to promote his wares.

    • Ginger says:

      Richard Palmer is already having a meltdown over this. He said this was why they wanted to leave the RF, etc etc. Typical British media.

      They really thought they would fail.

      • Nic919 says:

        His Twitter is full of crazy megxits. Of course they are all hypocrites and ignore what other royals, part time or full time, have sold in their name. This isn’t even Meghan using her name, simply confirming her involvement. But of course they are bitter bitter trolls.

      • L4frimaire says:

        The way this guy goes on is so laughable. Bitter bitch. The way he sounds, you’d think they’d invested in a Saudi oil field or a Brazilian logging company, and raking in loads of cash and busting unions. In the grand scheme of things, this is a small, local company with a boutique product that appeals to a sliver of the marketplace. It’s not going to make Meghan a millionaire, and it’s not their main source of income. It’s a passion project and not that big a deal. It’s the Oprah endorsement that’s got them riled up, they had no clue, and the fact that they will be investing in businesses and start ups, which won’t always be transparent. Once again it’s about losing control of the narrative and are doing more things outside the royal sphere.

  25. Neners says:

    What I love most about this is that it’s Meghan putting her own money where her mouth is instead of simply asking other people to do it in her stead. How wonderful that she is helping this small brand get off with a bang!

  26. Bren says:

    After watching that video last night I went to Amazon to order a frother.

    Good for Meghan. I love how consistent she is with supporting women.

  27. Amelie says:

    I don’t drink coffee so I know very little about how it works. If you asked me to make a cup of coffee I wouldn’t know how. Isn’t $28 for a packet of coffee blend super expensive?? Like I said I know nothing about coffee and so I wouldn’t buy this anyways but just really surprised at how much it is!

    Apart from my OMG-ness at the price, I internally giggled when I saw Meghan invested in an oat-milk latte startup business. You have to admit, this headline almost reads as a caricature about Meghan (without knowing anything about the business’s background, that it’s female-owned, ethical ingredients, commitment to charity which are all great). And oat-milk is a huge fad right now in wellness. I really can’t wait to see what the show The Windsors does with this if it comes back. All members of the BRF are parodied and the Meghan character on that show is often spouting daily affirmations and inspirational quotes, going on about her show Suits, and avocados. (I think my faves though are the characters of Camilla, Beatrice, and Eugenie).

    • Snuffles says:

      Im not sure how many servings are in a bag but I’m pretty sure making it at home will be a fraction of the cost of getting it at Starbucks. There are a LOT of people that have a daily Starbucks or coffee shop habit. This would definitely be more affordable if you are one of those people.

      ETA: The bag says 14 servings. So that’s $2 a latte. Definitely cheaper than a Starbucks latte.

    • Sofia says:

      Disclaimer: I know your intention was not to insult Meghan or something but I still want to say this

      Alternative milk sources are a genuine need for people who are lactose intolerant, allergic to cow’s milk, their bodies cannot handle milk etc etc. It’s not some new fangled Hollywood™ thing that’s been invented by Instagram influencers. Yes they popularized and maybe added a negative connotation to it but this is something useful and a need for a lot of people.

      The word itself and the concept of wellness, isn’t bad but it’s been unfortunately co-opted by people pushing pseudoscience and essential oils as an alternative to medicine so once again, it’s brought a negative connotation to it.

  28. Nyro says:

    I can’t wait to purchase this! Go Meghan! This is so her, wellness and female empowerment. And a cosign from Oprah? Priceless. This must be a dream for the woman who created this brand.

  29. TeamAwesome says:

    There’s a little note at the top of their webpage that says due to high demand (!) orders will arrive in January. I wonder if that was there before the info release and Oprah video?

  30. BnLurkN4eva says:

    I am looking forward to getting this and trying it out. So continually proud of Meghan and her moves forward despite all she has been through with the royals and her paternal family. She is an example of keeping it moving as they say and making opportunities for oneself. Meghan was doing wonderful things and creating a portfolio for herself before meeting Harry and now I bet they are doing just that together. It’s great to hear from her again, it seems she has been away from us for ages and ages though in fact it has not been very long.

  31. Mia says:

    Good for Meghan!! Love to see it 💚 You know keen is gonna start doing business cosplay even harder now tho 😆 these fandoms really encapsulate privilege vs. excellence.

  32. L4frimaire says:

    I’m kind of neutral about this but would like to try the product. I do like almond milk matcha lattes but not running out right now to buy this ( my Christmas cart overflows already). It’s great she’s investing and a small woman owned business is very much her niche. Of course, the royal reporters are pissed as usual saying they’re using their name, but they say that about everything they do. If they sat on the board of Tesla, NorthFace or Starbucks, it would be the same reaction tenfold. It’s not like every one is going to wipe their memory now of who they are now that they are no longer working royals. Also, on a podcast, a commentator said they should do whatever they want and stop taking it upon themselves to uphold the standards of the royal family more than the senior royals themselves, especially since that seems to be a burden placed upon them by the press over there, in a manner way beyond the Sussexes pay grade and rank. Hope they also invest in green energy, or tech oriented ventures as well, especially if it benefits developing or underfunded communities.

  33. L84Tea says:

    I so want to try it, but me and Chai do not get along. I still think this is so cool and I’m so happy to see her killing it–I won’t say since leaving the RF because she really already was–but man, she is just killing it!! Also I’m stoked for the company owners. How exciting for them to get such a shout out.

  34. Zantasia says:

    I want that now, and also—Oprah has really pretty hands.

  35. Watson says:

    Megs is really just killing it on the business and PR front. I approve!!

  36. Juniper says:

    I wish they had a sampler pack with smaller packages of all four varieties. I did buy chai and matcha. I’ve been looking for a milk alternative latte for a while.

    You know PWT and Keen are seething. Oh well.

  37. Bohemian Angel says:

    Well done Meg! Live your life and forget about the twerps over here (the ‘royals’ , British Media and a segment of the British public).
    So happy they are just getting on with their lives and ignoring the nonsense here!

  38. paddingtonjr says:

    Great for Meghan! This is really on-brand for her and gives this company some great buzz. Meghan and Harry are just living their lives, letting the RR and BRF fall all over themselves to comment on things they know nothing about. Can’t wait to see what 2021 brings for H&M!

  39. Poppy says:

    Interesting. Oat milk has been around for awhile. A Swedish company, Oatly, helped it gain popularity with good marketing and then seemingly exclusivity. Compared with all other plant based milks, it has higher calories and carbs.

    • heygingersnaps says:

      Oatly is the only oat milk that my son will drink. He’s allergic to dairy and has grown to drinking plant based milk drinks since I stopped breastfeeding. I get the oatly whole oat drink for him as that’s what he will only drink. I don’t know how he became a brand snob as I also buy from several other brands, I’m partial to Califia’s barista oat milk and Jörd nordic oat drink at the moment.

  40. Meghan is again being unreasonably bashed by DM for making money out of her title. DM and its readers are, as usual, jealous and furious. So what’s new ?

    • L4frimaire says:

      Their pissed they found out about this the same time as us, after it was released in US. They bash everything they do. Either it’s too political, too woke, too commercial or too celebrity. The reaction is way out of scale with the actual news. She’s an investor, doubt she’s the only one, not the founder or CEO. In some ways they are overreacting to this more than the Netflix deal. I guess the idea of Meghan investing her own money in a progressive, woman owned company that sells oat milk lattes with a social conscience is just too out there for them and totally blows their mind. Guess this will replace the vegan sausage rolls in the food these types love to hate. It’s not even available in the UK, lol.