Source: Webloom

Robert Jakobi is a serial fmcg investor who led Metcalfe’s from 2010 to 2016

The former CEO and co-owner of Metcalfe’s has launched a new specialist investment firm for UK fmcg brands looking to grow in the US.

Robert Jakobi, a serial fmcg investor who led Metcalfe’s from 2010 to 2016, has launched Webloom, which plans to acquire a string of healthier fmcg brands in the UK and scale them across the Atlantic.

Jakobi, who also founded bouillon, gravy and miso brand Bou in 2017 and sold a major stake to its manufacturer Major Food Company in 2021, told The Grocer Webloom had identified two potential acquisitions, the first of which it expected to make over the next three to six months.

Misfits, the protein bar brand in which Jakobi was a founding investor, has also been brought under the Webloom umbrella.

Jakobi led the brand’s first Series A fundraise in late 2021, pulling in £3m for investors to grow it.

Michael Kelly, formerly chief innovation officer at PVH, which owns fashion brands such as Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, is also a founding partner.

Jakobi said he launched Webloom “on the premise that too many promising companies fail due to lack of strategic guidance and operational expertise during critical stages of development. I believe we can make a significant difference compared to other investors (venture funds, PE funds and family offices).”

There was a major opportunity for UK brands to grow in the US, he told The Grocer. “If you take the plant-based market for instance, it is huge here, much bigger than the UK. But the quality of the products is not as high. There are many other businesses in the UK that would do very well because the categories are so big but the quality of the offering is not as strong.”

He said he wanted to grow Webloom into a business with $1bn enterprise value over the next five years with a minimum of five brands “within the consumer products world”. It will target acquisitions with a “ballpark” enterprise value of around £20m. 

With acquisitions under its belt, Webloom would focus on building online and DTC trade rather than traditional retail, he said. ”If you go into retail on day one you have to deal with brokers, listing fees, distributors – it is a very expensive investment. 

“The first thing we’d do is dive into the business and do a lot of research to generate data-driven consumer insight, then build out a strategy accordingly to build a really strong DTC business and maximise the success of the brand on various platforms.”