HashTag One $20m Venture Capital Fund Expected To Boost ViSalus Equity Share Value

The company that pioneered challenge marketing and mobile technologies in direct selling is positioning itself to become a technological powerhouse with innovation at the forefront of its strategy.

In addition to completing a $143 million buyback of the company they founded, ViSalus Co-Founders Ryan Blair, Blake Mallen, Nick Sarnicola, and Chief Strategy Officer Todd Goergen are actively seeking investments for their $20 million venture capital fund.

The fund, called Hashtag One, focuses on early-stage and seed funding companies. It is a vehicle for the group to put their personal money toward acquisitions that can be an accretive to ViSalus or toward investments in companies from which they can learn, including those outside consumer products and direct sales.

Hashtag One has made several investments since its 2011 start, including a digital content company, a mobile
technology company called Fragmob, and a Silicon Valley company that facilitates transactions in the health and beauty space.

The highest level leaders in ViSalus (National Directors and above) are invited to participate in each investment.

The goal: keep the team on the cutting-edge of innovation.

ViSalus, too, is on the prowl. It acquired Florida-based GoBites in January 2014 after Ryan Blair read about the healthy snack subscription service in the November 2012 issue of O magazine.

gobites

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it involved moving GoBite’s talent and intellectual property into ViSalus.

GoBites became the basis for the September launch of Vi Bites, a line of single-serving snacks designed to complement the company’s weight loss and weight management programs.

Vi Bites

In fact, the snacks have been so successful that the company sold through its first inventory run faster than anticipated. Fruit Frenzy Vi Bites will be available again mid-November 2016.

“I’m on the hunt for consumer product companies right now,” said Blair, who also serves as CEO. “We have a pretty big war chest as the result of the way we structured our agreement with Blyth as well as the wealth that we’ve been able to create.”

In September, Blair, Mallen and Sarnicola, along with a few other shareholders, bought ViSalus back from Connecticut-based Blyth Inc., which had acquired the business in 2008.

Blyth remains a minority owner, but ViSalus is once again a privately owned business. The goal: bring growth back to the company by reenergizing its domestic business, continuing to expand globally and adding new products.

“We have a long runway,” Blair said. “We’re going to build this company for the rest of our lives. We’re going to apply what we’ve learned over the past few years, and we’re going to become the company that our mission dictates and our vision dictates. We’re excited by that, and whether it takes us three years to get there or 30 years to get there, we’re going to get there.”

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