Brooklyn Bridge Ventures led the funding for the #1-rated ice cream company, with LererHippeau, Red Sea Ventures, and Seamless founders among top investors
Funds will allow Ample Hills to continue growth, starting with the building of a larger production facility that will include a retail shop and interactive experience
Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna, the husband-and-wife co-owners of Brooklyn’s Ample Hills Creamery, announce a $4 million round of equity funding. The funding was led by Charlie O’Donnell of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, and among the largest investors are Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Red Sea Ventures, the founders of Seamless, and a CircleUp syndicate led by Tom Potter, co-founder of Brooklyn Brewery.
Ample Hills launched on a quiet corner of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, in 2011; after four days of lines around the block, the nascent ice cream shop ran out of ice cream and had to close for nine days before reopening with a lot more ice cream. And the lines of fans returned immediately—and in even greater volume.
Since then, Ample Hills has opened additional year-round and seasonal shops (they operate five locations total); published the Ample Hills Creamery cookbook; and received numerous accolades, including being rated #1 ice cream in NYC by Zagat, named “Best Ice Cream in America” by Food Network, and featured in the August 2015 edition of O: The Oprah Magazine’s as one of “Oprah’s Favorite Things.”
The funds raised today will allow Ample Hills—whose recent expansion has included a flagship store in Gowanus, Brooklyn, and a kiosk in Manhattan’s Gotham West Market—to continue to grow in several key ways. Ample Hills plans to:
Open a larger production facility in 2016 that will include an experiential component and self-guided tours; Open more locations in New York City and beyond; And begin to expand the reach of its wholesale pint distribution.Several other exciting initiatives are also in development and will be announced in the coming months.
“This is a really exciting time for Ample Hills,” said co-owner Brian Smith. “We are looking forward to continuing to grow over the next few years and share our ice cream with more fans, while still maintaining the core ethos of our brand. We’re all about making delicious ice cream that captures a piece of childhood—served by a warm staff that’s as passionate about each scoop as we are. We feel lucky to have found the perfect partner in Charlie and Brooklyn Bridge Ventures to make these new developments possible.”
“I am thrilled to be working on this unique opportunity with such great founders and investment partners,” said Charlie O’Donnell, Partner and Founder at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures. “Brian and Jackie have created a business that optimizes for sheer human joy per square foot, and I can't imagine a better metric for any company to move up and to the right on. Ample Hills has mass appeal and national, even global potential, but we have lots of hard work to do in order to get there. I'll be working hard as a board member to help them find the best food and retail talent and support them with the most effective systems and practices. As the first venture capital fund to be located in Brooklyn, it's particularly special to get involved in a business that has meant so much to the local community. While I will continue to focus on tech startups, opportunistic plays like Ample Hills will certainly be an important part of my portfolio.”