Meghan Markle turns mentor following start-up investment – ‘Such a good heart’

Meghan and Harry ‘have to decide’ what they want says expert

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In late 2020 it emerged Meghan had invested an undisclosed sum in Clevr Blends, a start-up born in Santa Barbara in 2019 from Hannah Mendoza and Roger Coppola. The Duchess’ first known investment marked a turning point for the grassroots company, which reached new audiences and temporarily struggled to keep up with the new demands, as revealed by Ms Mendoza.

She told Fortune: “We knew this was going to be a big moment for us, but we didn’t predict it was going to be as big as it was.”

Meghan doesn’t appear to be an absent investor, with the CEO of the instant oat-milk latte firm saying the Duchess has become an important mentor.

Ms Mendoza told Fortune: “Having the Duchess as a mentor and an adviser has been amazing.

“She’s so smart, she’s so passionate, and she has such a good heart. 

“Having her as an adviser has been one of the most incredible things to come out of all of this.”

Meghan was the first-ever person to invest in Clevr Blends, which sells £20.25 ($28) bags of powdered instant lattes, Ms Mendoza said.

With her support, the firm can now plan for new flavours, international growth and a retail launch, as its bags of powdered instant lattes are currently sold only online and at California’s Erewhon Market.

The brand has also been able to set up a giveback programme, which sees Clevr donating 1 percent of revenue to food-justice causes, which fight food insecurity and promotes access to healthy, nutritious and culturally appropriate foods. 

Ms Mendoza said: “As a young and somewhat utopian founder, I wanted to do all these things.

“From the very moment we launched, I wanted to have the most transparent sourcing, have an incredible giveback programme.

“Sometimes, patience is necessary. And we were finally at a point where it could start to make a difference.”

This will surely resonate with Meghan, who upon confirming she had invested in the company stressed her interest in the lattes as well as in backing female-led businesses. 

She said: “This investment is in support of a passionate female entrepreneur who prioritises building community alongside her business.

“I’m proud to invest in Hannah’s commitment to sourcing ethical ingredients and creating a product that I personally love and has a holistic approach to wellness.

“I believe in her, and I believe in her company.”

Meghan fell in love with the product and the company after trying a bag of golden latte, which is turmeric-flavoured. 

Ms Mendoza said: “There was a genuine connection with the brand and with the product, and that’s always how the best relationships start.”

Meghan started showing a keen interest in wellness and food in 2014, when she founded her lifestyle blog The Tig, which often included recipes, beauty and fashion tips.

Meghan’s venture with Clevr Blends marked the first known contact between the Sussexes and Californian start-ups.

Last month, it was announced the Duke of Sussex had been appointed Chief Impact Officer at BetterUp, a mental health and coaching firm. 

While CEO Alexi Robichaux confirmed he will be paid for this role, he declined to speak about his hours and wage.

In his statement, Prince Harry said his goal in his new function at BetterUp would be to “lift up critical dialogues around mental health, build supportive and compassionate communities, and foster an environment for honest and vulnerable conversations”.

Since late 2020, Meghan and Harry have also been working with Netflix and Spotify as producers of TV programmes, documentaries and podcasts.

Moreover, they are leading the Archewell Foundation, which has so far partnered up with a series of organisations to work on projects ranging from accessible mental health resources to building a more humane online space.   

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