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on Giles Brook

Investor Spotlight

on Giles Brook

At JD&Co, we’re uniquely positioned within the startup and scaleup ecosystem, so we’re in the know about what’s trending in the world of investment. In the latest edition of our new Investor Spotlight series, we’re sharing exclusive insights and learnings from one of the UK’s most influential investors, Giles Brook, founder of investment firm Whitespace Ventures and finalist of the GBEA Investor of the Year 2023.

With his impressive roster of brands and prolific investing career, it’s no surprise that Giles was shortlisted for the GBEA award, crowned the first-ever winner of the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award at The Grocer Gold Awards, and sits as the highest-ranked individual in The Grocer’s Food & Drink Power List, barring global and multinational CEOs.

As a trailblazing disruptor in F&B and wider consumer goods investing space, Giles is responsible for growing companies like Innocent Drinks into a £170 million business and Vita Coco into one of Europe’s leading nonalcoholic drink brands, as CEO of EMEA. Known for his F&B investing prowess, Giles has also been behind several startup success stories including Pip & Nut, Mindful Chef, and Neat (sustainable household cleaning).

More recently, Giles has invested in quality jam B-Corp Fearne & Rosie and gut-friendly, granola brand Bio&Me, bringing in footballer Harry Kane alongside him. As an ex-operator himself, Giles is passionate about sustainability, social responsibility and the founders behind the business, as he understands the entrepreneurship journey. We sat down with Giles to find out how he got his start in investing, why he thinks gut health will eclipse protein as a mass market trend, and what’s hot in the world of investment right now.

Over his career, Giles’s portfolio has evolved from a focus on the hottest areas in food and drink, expanding to a global reach across the sustainability and FemTech sectors. After his impressive work at Vita Coco, where the business went public with an IPO on the NASDAQ in the US, he helped the founders at Urban Fruit to become the go-to packed lunch item in the UK with BEAR - which became the number one lunchbox snack in the UK.

“Nobody was doing what I was doing back then. Very few people with my type of background, nor any of the institutional firms were going in at inception or early seed stage and backing founders. I knew how difficult it was to raise money at an early stage. I also knew I had experience of scaling challenger brands which would hopefully be invaluable.”

“But fundamentally, the main reason I do this is for enjoyment, not for the financial reward. I love being a thorn in the corporate side. I love proving people wrong. I hate it when you see a category where there isn't enough change or positive movement in a certain area, and I can influence that. In my mind, every category needs a challenger brand. So I've built a portfolio of 15 businesses and the ‘why’ is, I love doing what I'm doing.”

Giles considers his most successful investment exit to be children’s snack brand Bear (which was sold to Lotus Bakeries in 2015).

“That was successful not just because financially it was a very sound business, but also because we only ever wanted to sell that business to somebody we believed would be the right home for BEAR for the next chapter of its journey, which Lotus truly became.”

We asked Giles what sectors he’s most excited about investing in over the next year – founders, take note.

“Gut health is going to be massive. Right now, that’s the biggest macro trend that is going to scale and the most exciting for both founders and investors.”

“Seaweed is a very interesting area of growth – as a commodity, as an animal feed, as an energy resource and also as a food alternative. It has huge potential to grow.

“Outside of these, the likes of collagen, nootropics, bamboo – especially as a paper alternative – and personalisation, will be key strategic growth areas too.”

In terms of his portfolio, 80% of companies are B-Corp certified (the other 20% will soon gain certification), and 60% are female-founded, including Moody Month, and Obu, a female-focused investment platform.

Throughout Giles’s luminary career, from his start as a marketing manager to becoming one of F&B’s most renowned voices, the most thrilling venture is perhaps what’s next to come.

Interested in being featured in our next investor spotlight? Get in touch at

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