Hip-hop’s first billionaire, Jay-Z, is putting his fortune to good use with a recent $1 million investment in a Black-owned vegan company called Partake Foods, reports Black Enterprise.
Former Coca-Cola sales director, Denise Woodard, started the company in 2016 after her daughter was diagnosed with a variety of food allergies. She states on the company’s website that after leaving several grocery stores frustrated and mystified because there were no allergy-friendly snacks on the shelves, she decided to do something about it and create her own.
“In my research, I quickly learned what so many parents out there already know,” she says. “Food allergies are a serious and growing concern for today’s families. Eight allergens (wheat, tree nuts, peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, fish and shellfish) are implicated in 90% of food allergies, which currently affects 1 in 13 kids and are expected to impact up to 1 in 10 kids by 2020.”
In 2017, Woodard left her corporate job to focus on Partake Foods full-time. Since then, she's gone from selling health-conscious cookies out of the trunk of her car, to now having her products in more than 300 stores across the country, including select Whole Foods and Wegmans.
She says she hopes the recent investment from Jay-Z’s venture capital firm, Marcy Venture Partners, as well as the investments she’s received from other firms including The Factory, Backstage Capital, SoFi Venture and executive Chuck Muth, will help her to continue to grow her brand and scale her business.
“Partake has the ingredients to build a mass market brand: compelling values, a great tasting product, and a tenacious and experienced operator,” Marcy Venture Partners co-founder and managing director Larry Marcus said. “We are honored to back Denise and the team and help grow their business.”