As colorful as they are unique, Fuze drinks are meant to evoke feelings of healthfulness and well-being. It turns out they also evoke passion among investors.
Twice, in 2002 and 2004, wealthy private investors contacted Fuze Beverage LLC after falling in love with their product. One investor, an executive in Europe, first saw the product when he was entertain-ing an American on his yacht. The other found the drinks in a local grocery store. As a result of these chance encounters, the Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, business raised approximately $20 million to fund growth. Sales in 2006 are pegged at $100 million-plus.
Fuze co-founders Lance Collins, 48, and Paula Grant, 36, are not surprised that investors share their passion for the company. "When you start a new beverage brand, you have a 3 percent chance of success," says Collins. "That's a 97 percent chance of failure, so you have to believe in what you're doing and be passionate about it."