Hemp pioneers turn an unknown commodity into a consumer success
Long before the wider public got on the superfoods train, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods’ founders were leading the charge to legalize industrial hemp production. The team not only had tenacity, but foresight that appealed to the Avrio team. Avrio spent three years convincing CEO Mike Fata to take his business to the next level with financial help. Manitoba Harvest was already the national leader in hemp foods, but there was clearly potential to take the market on a global scale.
Avrio invested in sales and marketing efforts that pushed Manitoba Harvest to the top of their industry. Meanwhile Avrio was also integral in developing the senior management team, creating a governance structure and finally, in guiding a sale that was named CVCA Deal of the Year in 2015.
“Avrio believed in a long haired guy with a hemp story, when nobody else would.”
“Not all VCs appreciate and understand a vertically integrated business the way Avrio does. Their broad industry knowledge (from field to final product) and collaborative approach to partnership was what attracted us to them – and I think what made the partnership so successful.
“It enabled us to brand hemp seeds as a consumer product – Hemp Hearts – which meant expansion into mass market with retailers like Costco.”
“When you bring in a new partner, you might fear losing control and influence over your company, but the Avrio team were just open and respectful. They trusted our expertise in our industry and were there to guide and encourage.” –Mike Fata, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods co-founder and CEO
“The team was passionate and knowledgeable. They were world-class.”