Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas have a penchant for investing in the food business.
Over the last few years, Chopra has not only opened a NYC-based restaurant (Sona), but invested in InnerChef and Olipop while Jonas has invested in Saucey, Snackpass, Magic Spoon, and more. before founding Rob’s Backstage Popcorn with his bandmate brothers in 2021.
“For me, Rob’s is rooted deeply with the band and even traces back to our New Jersey start,” says Jonas.
He first tried the popcorn at the home of Rob Garbowsky, the dad of the Jonas Brothers’ former bassist (and current member of our management team) Greg Garbowsky, after a show.
“I knew I had to convince them to bring this popcorn on tour with us and after years of Rob bringing it backstage for our friends and family to eat, we began to tweak the recipe and bring it to life with brand incubator, The Naked Market,” he says.
“Now, we’re in over 8,000 stores just a year and a half later, which is a testament to the truly unique flavor Rob created!”
While on tour with the Jonas Brothers in 2019, Chopra also became an instant fan.
“Rob would show up with huge trash bags filled with the popcorn he made, and before the end of the night they were gone. We couldn’t get enough!” she says.
“Watching Nick grow this brand over the past couple of years has been beautiful as he works on it with such passion—and I’m so excited to have been able to join the family business not just as an investor but also as a collaborator!”
The company has just launched Priyanka’s Mumbai Nights, a special-edition popcorn flavor that has been finessed over the last four years, paying homage to the tastes of her homeland.
“The spice mix we eventually landed on brings in so many of my favorite spices, such as cumin, turmeric, and red pepper, and gives the popcorn a nice savory bite,” says Chopra.
“It’s typical for Asian flavors to be pigeonholed in the ‘ethnic aisle’ but it’s been so exciting to watch new startups embrace the spices of the world, and consumers in turn learn about them,” she continues. “I wanted to create something that bridged the gap and infused the spices I grew up loving into a beloved snack.”
With all of her investments, Chopra feels it’s most important to have a genuine and authentic interest in the brand.
“That personal stake is everything to me when deciding which businesses I get involved with,” adds Jonas, “but that goes a step further with Rob’s since I’m not just endorsing it—I’m a co-founder. And given that it’s a close family friend, this is personal for us.”
Personal, too, is The Naked Market’s CEO Harrison Fugman’s approach to new flavors. After first partnering with Kelly Clarkson on Rob’s ‘Kelly’s Classic BBQ’ popcorn, he says he hopes more celebrity fan endorsements and collaborations will propel the brand.
And it already seems to be working. The company just announce that, in addition to Walmart, its products will be available in Albertsons and Safeway stores.
“We have big plans in the works,” Jonas admits. “We set out with a goal to be the fastest growing popcorn in the country within the first three years of our retail launch, and we are committed to seeing that through.
“Thankfully, we are exceeding our goals already!”