Sunday 26 January 2020

Blair 'to invest in fast-growing Cool Beans'


Entrepreneur Rosaleen Blair
Entrepreneur Rosaleen Blair

Fearghal O'Connor

High-profile entrepreneur Rosaleen Blair is to invest in up-and-coming food company Cool Beans, it is understood.

Blair, from Dublin, heads up the London-based high-end recruitment firm Alexander Mann Solutions, which she founded and subsequently sold for €315m in 2013.

Her initial investment in Cool Beans, which is understood to be relatively small, comes at a time when the trendy health food company is looking to expand across Europe.

Interest from such a high-profile investor is a coup for Cool Beans, which was founded in 2014 and is already one of Ireland's most promising food industry start-ups.

Cool Beans founders Sarah O'Connor and Isolde Johnson met while working for accounting firm EY and both previously worked on that company's Entrepreneur of the Year awards, which was won previously by Blair. Blair has since led her own company through a ­management buyout, three private-equity ­relationships and was also previously named Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year.

When Blair sold Alexander Mann Solutions in 2013, she retained a 15pc stake worth an estimated €50m.

Cool Beans sells pots of beans that come in three flavours and are aimed at the rapidly-growing healthy convenience food market.

A deal to sell the products in more than 200 SuperValu stores across the country provided the initial breakthrough for Cool Beans. The company has since moved into the market in Britain, where it sells in Waitrose stores.

O'Connor and Johnson, who have also ­benefited from mentoring from food industry veteran Michael Carey, have said recently that they have ambitions to break into other European markets, which is a growing trend among Irish food companies threatened by the upheaval of Brexit.

Sunday Indo Business

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