Palladin Consumer Retail Partners Invests In Leapfrog Brands


Palladin Consumer Retail Partners, LLC ( announced today an investment in Leapfrog Brands, LLC ( in partnership with the current owners and senior management team of Kurt Sward, CEO, Rick Ellison, President & COO, Jill Pearson, VP of Sales and Marketing, Glen Gilmore, Director of Design, Austen He, Director of Sourcing and Steve Pinelli, Director of Engineering. The partnership will provide Leapfrog with additional resources to build infrastructure to support its tremendous growth. Management and operations of the Company will not change.

Leapfrog was founded by the management team in 2009 to design, develop and distribute new and innovative products that bring meaningful delight and value to their customers. Today, the Company is a leading designer and provider of beverageware, including portable water bottles and coffee mugs, food storage containers, bakeware and a variety of other pioneering products that "leapfrog" what already exists in the market for home, office and travel use. Leapfrog's products are distributed under three well-known brands– Ello, for style and substance, Zulu, designed for fueling athletes, and Pogo, keeping up with family life on the go -- primarily through major retail chains and direct-to-consumers through leading e-commerce platforms.

Palladin, founded in 1998, has partnered with numerous founders and executive teams to build successful consumer platforms. The portfolio team led by Mark Schwartz, CEO and Anders Petersen, Managing Director, together with their operating partners, will work closely with the company providing marketing, financial, systems, organizational development and other expertise to help management with the next stage of growth.

Kurt Sward, CEO of Leapfrog, said, "Our strong team has been together for over ten years, building what today is a premier design and development company bringing well engineered and well valued products to consumers worldwide. We are looking forward to working closely with the Palladin team in our next stage of growth."

Rick Ellison, President & COO, said, "We pride ourselves on developing the right products for consumers at the right price, and ensuring that we also provide unparalleled customer support for our critically important and appreciated retail partners. With Palladin's assistance, we expect to strengthen our infrastructure further in order to expand our leading market position."

Mark Schwartz, CEO of Palladin, added, "We are excited to partner with Kurt and the entire Leapfrog team with whom we've built a strong relationship. They have developed a great culture based on innovation, quality, customer service and, most important, respect for employees, retail partners and consumers alike. We are confident that, working together, we can expand Leapfrog's ability to not only meet but exceed customers' expectations."

Anders Petersen, Managing Director of Palladin commented, "We have been extremely impressed with Leapfrog's expertise in design, engineering, marketing, and manufacturing. The Company has been expanding rapidly, and we are really excited to work with this strong team and be another value-added resource for them to continue their fast growth."

KeyBank provided debt financing for the transaction, as well as an unfunded revolving credit facility to support future growth. Advisors to Palladin included Morgan, Lewis & Bockius for legal services, RSM US for accounting and tax, Krauter & Company for insurance, and Retail Technology Group for systems. The Company was advised by Livingstone Partners and Nixon Peabody.


Palladin Consumer Retail Partners is a private equity firm with extensive experience investing in and building leading retail and consumer brands. Founded in 1998, the firm prides itself on working closely with management teams to create value through strategic and operational initiatives. Its principals have previously held CEO and other senior executive roles at several wholesale, retail, and related companies, and have invested in, financed, or managed over 100 public and private companies. Current and former investments include Decowraps, PB Metro, Splash Car Wash, KT Tape, Nic+Zoe, InMotion Entertainment, J. McLaughlin, Things Remembered, Restoration Hardware, Spencer Gifts, Jamba Juice, Worldlynx, Multi-Flow, and Kwik-Tek. 

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