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WWD Best Original Brands

Stage 1 Financial has always prided itself on working with impressive brands that are out to make a big impact in their industry. That’s why it brings us immense joy to share that Women’s Wear Daily recently published their list of Best Original Brands, and an incredible four brands that are either current or previous that are Stage 1 financial partners were featured on the cover. And three of these brands are Stage 1 Fund investments.

We’re so proud of each of these rock stars. They each have done an incredible job founding unique, empowering brands that bring something new and needed to the beauty sector.

Lila Sharifian, a CFO here at Stage 1, had this to say about their awards, “We at Stage 1 Financial are proud to have four former and current clients honored by WWD Beauty Inc as 2023 Power Brands – Saie, Dieux, Ellis Brooklyn, Scotch Porter. We are grateful to play a role in these talented entrepreneurs journeys as they change the beauty landscape with their extraordinary brands.”

The role we have been able to play in their growth and success has been rewarding, and we are happy to see that others are noticing how amazing they are.

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Olaplex creator has launched a new business, epres

Stage 1 Finance is excited to share that our client epres is officially launching! They show strong promise of becoming the next evolution in high-performance haircare. Epres is starting off with two haircare treatments, one for at-home use and another for professional use at salons.

Epres founder Eric Pressly is already an established miracle worker in the industry being the accredited inventor of Olaplex. Olaplex was founded in 2014 by Dean and Darcy Christal, with the formula developed by Dr. Eric Pressly and Dr. Craig Hawker. His science-based approach to haircare solutions has proven to be a game-changing, commercial success. To see his new product line and learn more about the brand visit

We’ve been working with them for a year now getting them ready for this day. It’s an honor that they trusted us with helping them get set up even before launching. It just goes to show that it’s never too early to get accounting and finance assistance.


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Stage 1 Fund Contributes to G.O.A.T. Fuel Raise

Dallas, May 22, 2023/ — G.O.A.T. Fuel, the amazing new energy drink, has completed raising a $5 million Seed round of funding led by Stage 1 Fund. Stage 1 Fund is dedicated to strengthening consumer-driven brands like G.O.A.T. Fuel and it is Stage 1 Fund’s honor to be a part of this raise.

G.O.A.T. Fuel is co-founded by the NFL Legend & Hall of Famer Jerry Rice along with his daughter, CEO Jaqui Rice Gold, and his son-in-law, CMO Trevion J. Gold. Jerry Rice is considered by most NFL fans to be the Greatest Of All Time wide receiver. His drive for excellence continues off the football field and into the business arena. It’s why they call it G.O.A.T. Fuel.

G.O.A.T. Fuel was born from the lack of a healthy option in the energy and sports drink market. Jerry Rice decided he could find a better solution and that determination lead to the birth of G.O.A.T. Fuel. An energy drink crafted from the very mushrooms that Hymilain goats consume to get more oxygen to their bloodstream. He succeeded in bringing something better to beverage enthusiasts everywhere.

Stage 1 Fund’s partner David Bartholomew had this to say about G.O.A.T. Fuel’s deal, “Stage 1 Fund is pleased to announce our 2nd investment in the emerging beverage silo with our closing of G.O.A.T. Fuel.  In particular, The U.S. energy drink market continues on an explosive path and is projected to be $30 Billion by 2027.  G.O.A.T. Fuel has differentiated itself from the competition by formulating clean energy derived from plant-based adaptogens and has already demonstrated strong growth and velocities via a large distribution network.  We are excited to be partnered with Co-Founders Jaqui Rice Gold & T.J. Gold, as well as the Greatest Of All Time, NFL Hall of Famer, Jerry Rice said Stage 1 Fund Managing Partner, David Bartholomew.”

Katy Triefenbach, CEO at Stage 1 Financial added, “Over the past several months Stage 1 Financial tracked a significant decrease in the amount of invested capital in the beverage silo. However, Stage 1 Fund saw a unique market opportunity for G.O.A.T.  Fuel to take a leadership position in the growing segment of adaptogen Energy Drinks. Similar to what we saw in Lemon Perfect three years ago, G.O.A.T Fuel’s strong leadership team and unique flavor profile allow them to stand out among competitor brands entering the market. We are thrilled to partner with G.O.A.T. Fuel and project significant near-term achievements for the brand.” 

This round of funding will be their first infusion of institutional growth capital and marks a significant shift in success for G.O.A.T. Fuel.

Greatest of All Time. The Energy Drink that Fuels Your Greatness. Tap into the Frequency. Tap into the Mindset. Tap into YOUR Greatness. No sugar, no preservatives, no aspartame, NO EXCUSES. To learn more about their brand or to find their products please visit

Stage 1 Fund has built a robust and proprietary pipeline of deal flow through its affiliate Stage 1 Financial, which provides outsourced corporate services to consumer companies that are potential investment candidates. This unique and advantageous model applies quantitative and qualitative protocols via the core business of Stage 1 Financial, thereby heavily vetting potential investment opportunities prior to deploying capital. Stage 1 Fund is also focused on consumer brands that are driven by sustainability, environmental concerns, female and minority-founded companies. Learn more at

For more information, contact David Bartholomew –

SOURCE Stage 1 Fund
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Hero Cosmetics is Acquired by Church & Dwight for $630 Million

Stage 1 Financial congratulates alumni client, Hero Cosmetics!

Church & Dwight Co is officially acquiring Hero Cosmetics for $630 million, with a combination of restricted stock and cash. Hero is the second largest acne brand in the US and the largest acne patch brand. This deal should be closing in the last quarter of 2022.

Initially engaging in 2019, Stage 1 Financial assisted Hero on their journey to becoming the powerhouse they are now. Headed by CFO Lila Sharifian, the Stage 1 Financial team not only improved and managed Hero’s accounting and finance infrastructure, but assisted in securing capital during the pandemic, launching a new ERP, and expanding wholesale distribution.

Hero Cosmetics has seen substantial market share growth during these past three years, with sales between June 2021 and June 2022 totaling around $115 million, putting Hero Cosmetics in the top 1% in terms of growth rate of the 600 brands Stage 1 Financial has partnered with in the past nine years.

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Bond Pet Foods Fetches New Funding

Our partners at Bond Pet Foods deserve a lot of praise as they secure their Series A round of funding for $17.5 million. They have a new facility that will have its production expanded and new product lines that will be added thanks to this new infusion of cash. 

Bond Pet Foods is “Reimagining pet nutrition so people, pets, farm animals, and the planet all win. We are an Ally For All Animals.”  Check out their products and learn more at

Stage 1 Financial began with Bond during their early R&D days and could not be more excited about their growth and our continued partnership. 

Read Bond Pet Food’s full press release here.


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Munk Pack lands new funding

The powerhouse snack bar brand and our close partners Munk Pack have landed a new round of funding, $5 million! 

Michelle and Tobias Glienke are the wife-and-husband team that created the delicious Munk Pack brand and products. They began this venture because of the lack of healthy snacks that were low in sugar but high in taste. Theirs was the first Keto Granola Bar as well as the first Keto Nut & Seed Bar. 

“We are pleased to see our products resonating with such a broad consumer base, and we believe that our simultaneous distribution and velocity increases attest to that,” says Tobias (originally shared in their press release through Business Wire).

With strong sales and distribution, they are primed to continue growing with this new investment. You can find their products in 11,000 locations nationwide. Check out their products and learn more at

Read Munk Pack’s full press release here.


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Lemon Perfect has juiced more Funding

When you give Lemon Perfect some lemons, they make a big pitcher of funding out of it.

Equally as impressive as the funding is where some of the funding came from—Beyoncé!  In Lemon Perfect’s press release, they shared this quote from her: “I don’t typically enjoy drinks without added sugar, but Lemon Perfect is delicious,” said Knowles-Carter. “It was an easy decision to invest in something that not only tastes great and is healthy, but also, and most importantly, allows choosing a healthier lifestyle to be affordable and accessible to everyone.”

Lemon Perfect has just closed its Series A round of funding for $31 million. This new infusion of cash will allow Lemon Perfect to scale the brand’s distribution to exceed 40,000 points before the close of 2022.

“Stage 1 Fund initially invested in the Seed Round of Lemon Perfect, and it has been incredible to assist in the explosive growth that Yanni and the Lemon Perfect Team have executed thus far.  This is especially impressive considering how tough it is to succeed in the beverage category.  These early milestones are a reflection of Yanni’s tenacity and his willingness to surround himself with experts early on in the process.  Stage 1 Financial & Stage 1 Fund are proud to have provided outsourced support and capital for the brand, and we look forward to Lemon Perfect’s continued success and growth moving forward within the beverage marketplace.  The Company is now well-positioned and capitalized to continue execution on its explosive path,” shared David Bartholomew, a Partner at Stage 1 Fund.

Stage 1 Financial has been a key partner of Lemon Perfect since the very early days. Their commitment to a healthy hydrating solution free of sugar has led them to create a truely delicious beverage.  Check out their products and learn more at

Read Lemon Perfect’s full press release here.


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Scotch Porter comes up big with another investment

There’s no slowing down our good friends at Scotch Porter. Calvin has once again secured a big round of funding that will see Scotch Porter continue their growth in the men’s grooming sector.  This is their Series B round and nets them $11 million in new funding led by Pendulum! Our sister company Stage 1 Fund also contributed to this raise for Scotch Porter.

The Transaction Services team here at Stage 1 Financial played a critical role in securing this funding assisting Scotch Porter in prepping, finding, and vetting the deal. Our Transaction Services team brings the skills and experience that small consumer businesses need to raise capital. 

Scotch Porter aims to use this new capital to scale its operations, which will help to level the playing field for them with the big players in the market. They will also seek to expand their product line as well, so keep an eye out for more fantastic products from them in the future. 

The founder of Scotch Porter, Calvin Quallis, began this enterprise by quitting his job and opening his own barbershop. He wanted to follow his passion for making people feel their best, and this led him to experiment at home to create new, better products. Flash forward to today and Scotch Porter is a fast-growing men’s personal care brand that stays true to its roots. Check out their products at

Read Scotch Porter’s full press release here.


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