PowerPlant Ventures announced that the fund has acquired ZICO coconut water from The Coca-Cola Company. 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 Company 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. ZICO was acquired by The Coca-Cola Company in 2013.
The new company, named ZICO Rising, 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 CEO and CFO, 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.