Listen to this article 2 min
Billionaire Kim Kardashian is investing in Austin.
Kardashian, a businesswoman and an influencer best known for reality TV, recently opened a brick-and-mortar retail store in the Domain area — often called Austin’s second downtown — and her private equity firm SKKY Partners has acquired a “significant minority stake” in Truff, a company that makes truffle-infused sauces, according to a Nov. 21 announcement.
Truff, legal name Sauce Ventures LLC, said it is co-headquartered in Orange County, California, where operations are handled, and in Austin, which is home to its marketing and sales base. Truff co-founders and co-CEOs Nick Ajluni and Nick Guillen moved to Austin about two years ago because of the strong consumer packaged goods community here.
The co-founders told ABJ that they reached out to SKKY as soon as they heard that the private equity firm launched.
“We approached SKKY knowing the firm’s vision of partnering with disruptive, growing brands,” Ajluni said in an email. “We knew they would understand what we’re trying to build, the importance of the connection we have with our community and the uniqueness of our brand.”
The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal and is expected to close next year. The deal marks SKKY Partners’ first investment since its inception — Kardashian and Jay Sammons launched SKKY Partners in late 2022.
Ajluni and Guillen will remain in their roles at Truff and as significant investors in the company. As part of the transaction, Mark Ramadan, the co-founder and former CEO of Sir Kensington’s condiment business, and former CEO of premium chocolate brand Hu, will join Truff’s board as an independent director, alongside David Brisske, managing director of SKKY Partners.
“Jay, David, Kim and their team know the industry inside and out and are uniquely attuned to modern consumer platforms, channels and brands at the forefront of cultural relevance,” Guillen said.
Truff, founded in 2017, makes sauces such as hot sauce, pasta sauce, mayonnaise and oil, whichare available in 20,000 retail stores including Whole Foods Market Inc., The Kroger Co., Publix Super Markets Inc and more.
The founders declined to disclose revenue but Forbes predicted the company would reach $25 million in revenue in 2020. Earlier this year, Ajluni confirmed with the ABJ that Truff’s revenue is now “well beyond that.”
Aside from its unique flavor, Truff’s marketing has landed it in collaborations with NBC Universal for The Super Mario Brothers movie, another collaboration with Taco Bell and most recently adding its sauce to Popeyes sandwiches.
Outside of private equity, Kardashian has also introduced her shape wear brand, Skims, to the Austin market.
Skims, valued at $4 billion, opened at 11700 Domain Blvd. in Domain Northside earlier this month, taking over a storefront previously held by The RealReal, a luxury consignment store. The storefront, which is up the street from Nordstrom, is one of the brand’s first retail locations in the world as the company charts a brick-and-mortar expansion.
A Domain Northside media representative declined to confirm if this store will be a pop-up or if it has secured a lease, but Domain Northside lists this store as a work shop.
A Domain Northside media representative declined to confirm if this store will be a pop-up or if it has secured a lease. According to the Domain Northside’s website, it is called “Skims Work Shop.”
Skims, which was also co-founded and co-owned by Jens and Emma Grede, has grand plans for its retail future. The company is looking to open a flagship in Los Angeles next year, followed by a New York opening and adding at least four stores in the upcoming year exploring locations in domestic markets with regional tourism including cities like Dallas, Atlanta and Miami, reported Retail Bum.
Williamson County Growth Summit 2023
Join ABJ at the Williamson County Growth Summit!