It's nice to see someone we wrote about early on succeed in this competitive food business world.
Baby food company Happy Family, launched on Mother’s Day 2006, announced on Mother's Day 2013 that Groupe Danone acquired 92 percent ownership of the company "for hundreds of millions of dollars," as the Wall Street Journal put it.
Every day operations will remain unchanged, with the original two moms - Shazi Visram, founder and CEO, and Jessica Rolph, founding partner and COO - continuing to oversee the business. Visram will be CEO and chairman. A new board of directors will oversee Happy Family, which is owned by Nurture Inc.
The Wall Street Journal reported Danone reached out to Visram in 2012 after they connected through a third party, and that Visram, in her business plan 10 years ago while a student at Columbia Business School, wrote that Danone was an ideal corporate partner for the exit strategy of her company.
"Groupe Danone will assume the role of parent company providing additional resources allowing Happy Family to pioneer even more new products that deliver positive nutrition to babies and toddlers," read a company statement.
Happy Family (often known as Happy Baby, after its first product line) was a tiny company when profiled as one of our R&D Teams of the Year in our June 2011 issue. It was a pioneer in the relatively new category of frozen organic baby food. Visram and her company also gained fame by being in American Express Small Business TV commercials.
"I started Happy Family because I wanted to change the way children were fed and nourished," said Visram. "For the past seven years, we have put our heart and soul into introducing new and innovative organic options to children and families that provide them with optimal nutrition. Working with Groupe Danone will give us the opportunity to continue on our journey and even help propel it to the next level."
Happy Family will now have access to the most sophisticated infant nutrition research and development facilities in the world, amplifying its efforts to innovate and improve children’s health. Danone's distribution network will allow for existing products to be more widely available. The combination will help Happy Family to make more of an impact, while not compromising on its dedication to doing what’s best for the environment.