Meghan Markle Debuts as a Startup Investor
The Duchess of Sussex has announced her first investment in a six-person latte startup based in California.
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, has become a private investor and is looking to build a portfolio of startup investments.
In her first investment to be made public, Markle is backing Clevr Blends, a startup of only six employees that makes instant oat milk lattes. The company is led by co-founder and CEO Hannah Mendoza and has until now been self-funded.
“This investment is in support of a passionate female entrepreneur who prioritises building community alongside her business,” Markle said in a statement to Fortune. “I’m proud to invest in Hannah’s commitment to sourcing ethical ingredients and creating a product that I personally love and [that] has a holistic approach to wellness. I believe in her, and I believe in her company.”
Markle emphasised her aim of supporting female-founded companies that are in line with her values. In 2019, female-founded companies received only 2.7% of all venture capital funding in 2019, which was in itself an all-time high.
Markle also sent neighbour Oprah Winfrey a Christmas basket of Clevr Blends products, which Winfrey then promoted to her 19.2 million Instagram followers.
Clevr Blends was founded in 2017 and describes itself as a “woman-led, mission driven wellness company”. It is based in Montecito, an unincorporated community in California where Markle and Winfrey both live, and sells four varieties of “instant SuperLatte blends” through an online storefront, priced at $2 a drink to $28 a bag.
A representative for Markle declined to disclose the details of her investment in Clevr Blends, which was not part of any kind of larger funding round.
While this is the first private investment the Duchess of Sussex has made, it follows a long line of business deals. Last year, Markle collaborated with Smart Works to launch a clothing collection, and earlier this year she and Prince Harry revealed that they had signed a multi-year production deal with Netflix to create content that “informs but also gives hope”.