Food Entrepreneur NEW YORK — Sound has been acquired by operating partner Next In Natural, a boutique private equity studio that invests and helps operate and scale emerging, organic, and better-for-you focused consumer packaged goods companies.

Sound, a maker of organic sparkling botanicals and teas, was co-founded by Tommy Kelly and Salim Najjar, who worked together as engineers.

The engineers-turned-entrepreneurs wanted to offer consumers a refreshing beverage that was not sweetened.

Sound’s product line, which is sparkling water formulated with organic tea, botanicals and fruit extracts, features flavors of lemon thyme and white tea, rose lime and hibiscus tea, blueberry cinnamon and hibiscus tea, grapefruit lavender and ginger tea, and blood orange vanilla and black tea.

“The better-for-you beverage category continues to grow strong, and Sound is well positioned to capitalize on this surging segment with its unique offering that eliminates the use of ‘natural flavors,’ alternative sweeteners and added sugar,” Kelly said. “Sound’s use of organic tea and other botanicals like hibiscus and ginger, provide refreshing, crisp and complex flavors in addition to clean energy and antioxidants to support a healthy lifestyle. Sound gets its name from our commitment to using only ‘sound’ ingredients — no sugar, no sweeteners and no artificial flavors or preservatives — and we’re proud of our commitment to the cleanest and most pure ingredients available.” 

Jeff Lichtenstein, who founded and led Gourmet Guru that was later acquired by UNFI, has been named chairman of the board to assist with strategic guidance.

Lichtenstein has worked with such companies as Chobani, Stumptown Cold Brew and Hu.

“Sound epitomizes what’s next in natural — delicious, organic, clean, functional ingredients, and no sugar are aligned with consumer demand for just that, in a convenient format,” Lichtenstein said. “Salim and Tommy have an amazing story having met as nuclear engineers that decided to make the mother of all pivots, into organics. They are very talented executives, and the Next In Natural shared services platform is designed to help them thrive with the cross-functional comprehensive support team and resources that NeNa surrounds them with.”

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