Why are sports stars investing in food & drink and how can you sign one up?

Major sporting heroes are increasingly investing in food and drink brands, giving these products star power and health credibility. Joe Seager-Dupuy, Director of VC Investment at True, shares insights in The Grocer's recent article on how brands can cut through the noise and stand out by leveraging the influence of famous athletes. Learn how these high-profile deals begin and the impact they can have on your brand.

Why are sports stars investing in food and drink and how can you sign one up?

Insight / 12 Jun 2024

Originally published by The Grocer.

Major sporting heroes are increasingly investing in food and drink brands, lending products star power and health credibility. Insane Grain’s public wooing of football superstar Harry Kane last year is a prime example. The courtship, which included several TikTok stunts, culminated in Kane becoming an investor in the healthier snacking brand. Since its launch in 2020, Insane Grain has raised about £1m and secured Kane’s endorsement, boosting its profile significantly.

Kane, now a prolific investor, has backed multiple FMCG brands, including gut health cereal brand Bio&Me and non-HFSS doughnut brand Urban Legend. He is not alone in this trend. Footballers like Lucy Bronze, who has invested in Soccer Supplement, and Reece James, who backed Mighty Slice, are also putting their money into the food and drink sector. Even Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton and former heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua have made notable investments, further highlighting the growing interest among athletes. The appeal of sports stars investing lies in the combination of PR endorsement, industry contacts, and financial support.

Joe Seager-Dupuy, Director of VC investment at True, advises:

reaching out to other founders or investors that have raised money from sports stars to learn about their approach and see if there’s a way to get a warm introduction. There are also several VC funds emerging that are actively marketing the fact that athletes are part of their limited partner base. Leveraging the platform, credibility, and following of famous figures offers an important route to cut through the noise and stand out.

Beyond financial backing, these investments bring added value through active involvement. For instance, Reece James’s investment in Mighty Slice extends beyond financial support. James is actively involved in product development, flavour selection, and marketing efforts, making the partnership authentic and beneficial for both parties.

Similarly, Harry Kane’s involvement with Insane Grain is more than just a financial relationship. Kane has been deeply engaged in the brand’s mission and has participated in packaging design, flavour naming, and even writing the back-of-pack copy. His engagement has helped Insane Grain secure listings in major retailers like Tesco, Waitrose, and Co-op.

To read more about how sports stars are making significant impacts on emerging brands and how you can sign one up, click here.

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