Market investment

California frozen snack brand Coolhaus gets cash injection to take it to the next level

By Douglas Yu contact

- Last updated on GMT

Natasha Case is the founder of Coolhaus. Pic: Coolhaus
Natasha Case is the founder of Coolhaus. Pic: Coolhaus
Venture capital firm Sunrise Strategic Partners has invested in the frozen snacks maker Coolhaus for undisclosed sum with a goal of making it a $100m brand in the next three years.

The announcement follows Sunrise’s recent investment in Little Secrets​, a snacks company that focuses on reinventing classic treats such as M&M’s and KitKat with a healthy twist.

Steve Hughes, CEO of Sunrise, said his company is always on the hunt for “big ideas on top of big categories that resonate with millennials.”

“Premium ice cream is growing 25% [in sales year-on-year], and we see manufacturers reinventing the traditional items, including ice cream sandwiches.

“Sunrise will likely focus on helping [Coolhaus with its] customer development strategy and overall optimization of supply chain and co-worker network. We believe Coolhaus could be Ben & Jerry’s 2.0.”

Coolhaus’s history according to founder Natasha Case

“After I received my Masters in Architecture from UCLA [in 2008], I was working as an architectural intern at Walt Disney Imagineering in Hotel and Master Planning. During this time, my now wife Freya and I started baking cookies and making ice cream, and naming the ice cream sandwich combinations after famous architects and architectural movements.

“A few months later, we bought a beat up postal van on Craigslist, officially called the ice cream sandwich line Coolhaus after architect Rem Koolhaas and Bauhaus – the minimalist design and lifestyle movement of the 1920’s and 1930’s in Germany because the ice cream sandwiches looked like tiny cold houses and were ready to hit the road.

“The first event we participated in was Coachella Valley Music Festival in 2009, where we towed the van to the concert grounds and served an audience of 100,000. The brand went viral, and the rest is history.”

Shaking up the frozen category

Case believes her snacks are going to shake up the frozen space as she claims most of the products in the category have been “basic with minimal innovation and very little super premium players.

“Frozen novelties have included sandwiches and sticks, but no one has done bit sized and no one has truly elevated novelties the way we are doing,” ​she said, adding that Coolhaus will launch vegan flavors in 2019 and bite-sized snacks the year after that.

She noted her sandwiches and pints are made with quality ingredients and standards, like hormone-free dairy products, cage-free eggs, organic sugar, real mint leaves in Dirty Mint Chip variant.

Additionally, she said Coolhaus’ packaging stands out because of its “fun and unique”​ designs.

‘The household brand of our generation’

Commenting on Sunrise’s recent investment, Case told BakeryandSnacks: “We realized it was time when our aim grew to becoming the household brand of our generation.

“What's so special about this partnership is how complementary their skillset is to ours and how strategic the dollars are for us based on the backgrounds they bring and their ability to understand our culture.

“We plan to rapidly accelerate in grocery. We want to be as strategic as possible in the process by making sure that all retailers are best set up to sell Coolhaus and then drive sales.”

She added the Los Angeles-based company is expected to create $14m in sales by the end of 2018.

Coolhaus’ products are available through the grocery channel in the US.

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