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.”
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.