December 20, 2005
Boulder Specialty Brands
Posted by Victor Fleischer

I've been in Boulder for the last couple of weeks, and I've had at least a half dozen conversations with VCs, entrepreneurs and academics about the crunchy lifestyle sector (Wild Oats, Horizon Dairy, Whole Foods, Crocs, etc.).  This morning I read that Boulder Specialty Brands went public in a blank-check offering and raised $100 million with nothing more than a plan to buy promising companies.  As the S-1 says, "We are a newly formed, development stage company with no operating history, and you have no basis on which to evaluate our ability to achieve our business objective."

Actually, it's not quite as crazy as it sounds.  The company is much like a publicly traded venture fund.  It's headed up by Steven Hughes, the former CEO of Celestial Seasonings.  A bet on Boulder Specialty is a bet on Hughes.  It sort of reminds me of the days of the e-incubator (remember CMGI?).  I'm skeptical of any publicly-traded venture model.  Still, I'm bullish on the sector, so I'll be interested to see how this turns out. 

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