LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Strand Equity, a leading growth equity firm investing in the next generation of iconic consumer brands, is joining forces with Van Leeuwen Ice Cream (“Van Leeuwen” or the “Company”), purveyors of made-from-scratch ice cream and vegan ice cream. Van Leeuwen produces its own dairy-based and vegan ice cream products in its Greenpoint, Brooklyn facility and currently operates 13 scoop shops and 6 trucks in New York and Los Angeles. The Company also sells its dairy and vegan ice cream pints in over 700 retailers nationwide, including Whole Foods Market, Fairway Market and Erewhon. This announcement marks Van Leeuwen’s first equity investment and positions the Company for continued growth. Blue Scorpion previously led a convertible note investment in Van Leeuwen.
Strand Equity partners with emerging brands to scale their businesses through its marketing and operational expertise, as well as its extensive network of industry relationships. Current and realized investments include Bai Brands, Hippeas, Hum Nutrition, Vita Coco, Dos Toros, Chopt, Youth To The People and Wander Beauty, among others.
“Van Leeuwen is an iconic Brooklyn brand with a cult-like following of loyal consumers who enjoy its innovative-yet-accessible ice cream,” said Strand Equity Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Seth Rodsky. “We are thrilled to partner with Van Leeuwen and are excited to help the Company execute on its mission of serving the highest-quality ice cream to customers everywhere.”
Founded by Ben Van Leeuwen, Laura O’Neill and Pete Van Leeuwen in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Van Leeuwen launched in 2008 with a single yellow ice cream truck. Inspired by Ben and Pete’s experience growing up driving Good Humor® trucks as a summertime job, the co-founders set out to revamp the quintessential American ice cream truck by using only the highest-quality and natural ingredients in its handcrafted ice cream. In 2010, Van Leeuwen opened its first scoop shop in Greenpoint and in 2014, the Company launched its innovative vegan product line to critical acclaim. In the coming weeks, Van Leeuwen will also open scoop shop locations in Soho, Prospect Park and Silver Lake, bringing its total scoop shop footprint to 16 stores.
“We created Van Leeuwen because people deserve to eat ice cream made with extraordinary ingredients and no unnecessary ones,” said Ben Van Leeuwen, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Van Leeuwen Ice Cream. “Every Piedmont hazelnut we caramelize, every Askinosie chocolate chip we mix in, every raw cashew we soak and blend into milk, is done to achieve that pivotal moment of serving our customer and witnessing the pure happiness that an extraordinary food experience provides. This partnership with our community is why we do what we do.”
“We are immensely proud and fiercely protective of the business we have built,” said Laura O'Neill, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Van Leeuwen Ice Cream. “We have grown Van Leeuwen by being scrappy, lean and always in pursuit of perfection, never compromising the integrity of our products or brand DNA. Until now, we have done so without outside funding and took our time to find a partnership that felt just right. We found that in the team at Strand Equity, as their values and approach to supporting founders deeply resonate with our own.”
“After a decade building our brand, obsessing over our product and holding true to our vision, it is equal parts amazing and encouraging to know that our hard work is appreciated by our wonderful new partners at Strand Equity,” said Pete Van Leeuwen, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Van Leeuwen Ice Cream. “We are excited for them to join our team and look forward to sharing the common culture and Van Leeuwen spirit that we have cultivated over the years.”
ABOUT STRAND EQUITY: Strand Equity is a Los Angeles-based growth equity firm investing in the next generation of iconic consumer brands. Strand Equity is led by a team of experienced and successful investors and entrepreneurs. With a permanent capital base, Strand Equity maintains a flexible approach to structure and partnership, enabling dynamic entrepreneurs and management teams to accelerate growth and build durable businesses. For more information on Strand Equity, please visit www.strandequity.com.
ABOUT VAN LEEUWEN ICE CREAM: Van Leeuwen Ice Cream was launched out of a buttery yellow ice cream truck in 2008 by Laura O’Neill and brothers Ben and Pete Van Leeuwen. The trio set out to revive the classic American ice cream truck, using exceptional ingredients and techniques. In just a decade, the beloved Brooklyn-based company has grown to include scoop shops and trucks across NYC and LA and sells pints in over 700 stores across 25 states. Van Leeuwen makes ice cream from scratch using fresh milk and cream, lots of organic eggs yolks and pure cane sugar. Their unwavering dedication to quality extends to every ingredient for each flavor; add-ins are made in-house, and fruits, nuts and chocolates are carefully sourced from purveyors like Michel Cluizel Chocolate, Askinosie Chocolate, Kettl Matcha, and others whose standard for exceptional quality meets their own. In addition to classic ice cream, Van Leeuwen makes an acclaimed vegan ice cream using a proprietary blend of cashews, coconuts and cocoa butter, which is every bit as delicious as their classic ice cream. Favorites in their lineup include Vegan Choc Chip Cookie Dough, made with a touch of Tahitian vanilla, a pinch of sea salt, chunks of cookie dough made from locally milled flour and generous amounts of single origin chocolate chips, and Honeycomb, with a crispy, chewy house-made candy folded into a sweet cream base with ribbons of caramel.