News for July 7, 2021

Bryan Gray

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

Danone Manifesto Ventures take minority stake in Harmless Harvest

Danone Manifesto Ventures (New York, New York), which previously led a $30 million funding round in Harmless Harvest (San Francisco, California) has now purchased a majority stake in the coconut water producer. The acquisition of the Harmless Harvest stake is the first in the U.S. for Danone’s venture arm and will help the Fair for Life Certified company with additional resources and operational capacitates to support its growth and sustainability initiatives.


High-protein donut maker gets sweet deal with $2M seed round

Elite Sweets (Austin, Texas) raised $2 million in a seed funding round led by Siddhi Capital with participation from Constellation Capital, Capital Factory, SputnikATX and angel investors. The company, founded by twin brothers when they were college students, makes a line of almond flour donuts sweetened with allulose and erythritol that boast 12-13 grams of protein per each individually packaged pastry. Funds from the raise will go toward expanding the team and investing in marketing and product development.


Beeflow to save the bees and help farmers with $8.3M seed round

Beeflow (Venture County, California) is on a mission to extend bees’ lifespans and be more efficient in pollinating particular crops such as blueberries and almonds. The startup, which uses scientific technology to make bees healthier in colder weather, has raised $8.3 million in a Series A funding round. This effort, in addition to the company’s second product, which trains the bees to target a specific crop for pollination, has increased crop yields for farmers up to 90%. The financing round was led by Ospraie Ag Science, with participation from Future Ventures’ Steve Jurvetson, Jeff Wilke, Vectr Ventures, SOSV’s IndieBio and Grid Exponential.


The Hershey Co. sells premium chocolate brand Scharffen Berger

Premium chocolate maker Scharffen Berger (Ashland, Oregon) is once again in private hands. The brand, which Hershey purchased in 2005, has relocated to a new facility in Ashland, Oregon, where it produced the company’s first batch of chocolate in June. Three longtime Hershey executives have joined the company, which is being advised by its founder, John Scharffenberger.


The Single Origin Food Company draws $1.1M in seed funding

The Single Origin Food Co (Wilmington, Delaware), producer of the alternative honey product Vegan Un-Honey, secured $1.1 million in its seed round. The product, made from plant-based ingredients and fortified with organic flower pollen, launched in Sprouts Farmers Market and is being rolled out across Whole Foods Market, Natural Grocers and Safeway Albertsons stores. The seed round was led by A’Z Angels. Single Origin creates long-term partnerships with farmers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and remove animals from the food chain.


Sugar-reducing juice startup Better Juice nabs $8M seed round

Better Juice (Rehovot, Israel) has raised $8 million in seed funding to create enzymatic technology that reduces the amount of sugar in natural juices. The single machine can be integrated into the juice-manufacturing process and convert juice sugars into dietary fibers and non-digestible sugars, reducing up to 80% of all sugars in the juice. Focused on orange juice, Better Juice plans to bring its product to market in the next few months. The round was led by iAngels, with participation from Maverick Ventures, Food Tech Lab TFTL, The Kitchen Hub, NEOME, Schestowitz Group and Semillero.


Healthy Skoop sold to Brand Holdings

Brand Holdings LLC (Pittsburg, Pennsylvania), a holding company focused on acquiring direct-to-consumer e-commerce companies in sports nutrition, beauty and functional foods, and more, has acquired Healthy Skoop from the Seurat Investment Group. Founded by Colorado naturopathic doctor James Rouse and friends, Healthy Skoop makes plant-based protein powders and partnered with Brand Holdings to launch a new line of Breakfast Protein Powders on its website. “I am beyond excited to have this partnership with Brand Holdings. Healthy Skoop began in my kitchen as a way to serve my patients and now has grown far beyond what I ever expected,” Rouse said.


Once Upon a Farm gobbles up frozen baby food delivery company Raised Real

Once Upon a Farm (Berkeley, California), which was founded in 2017 and has reached $30 million in revenue, has purchased competitor Raised Real (San Francisco, California), which makes frozen baby food and operates on a subscription model. With this acquisition, Once Upon a Farm will add a frozen direct-to-consumer product line to its lineup. Earlier this year, company CEO John Foraker said the company was exploring direct-to-consumer because it’s where “much of the growth is coming from.” Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Raised Real’s CEO and cofounder Santiago Merea will be staying with the company.


Plastic-free infant food brand Tiny Organics gains $11M in Series A round

Founded in 2020, Tiny Organics (New York, New York) raised $11 million in its Series A funding round, led by Springdale Ventures. The company, which makes plant-based infant food in plastic-free containers and aims to be completely plastic free in 2021, will use the funds to scale the team, build brand and customer awareness, and develop new product categories and sales channels. The round had additional participation from InvestEco, Silas Capital, Human Ventures, VegInvest, Babylist, Gaingels, XFactor Ventures, Natureza and Howard Morgan, joining previous investors Elizabeth Street Ventures, Rocana Ventures, Chingona Ventures, Bonin Ventures, Gary Vaynerchuk and Liz Lange.


Plant-based meat producer Heura secures €16M in funding

Mediterranean plant-based meat brand Heura (Barcelona, Spain) has raised €16 million ($19 million on June 29) to develop vegan pork and expand to the United Kingdom and the United States. The Series A funding round was led by Impact Fooding. Heura makes chicken and beef alternatives and has backing from Lever VC and Green Monday, as well as soccer stars Chris Smalling, Cesc Fábregas and Sergi Roberto. The company tripled its revenue in 2020.


Mycoprotein producer Mycorena secures $9M in funding

Mycorena (Gothenberg, Sweden), a mycoprotein producer, raised $9 million in a Pre-Series A funding round led by Belgium-based Veos Group, a supplier of proteins and functional ingredients. The company’s flagship ingredient, Promyc, is made with upcycled food waste such as bread dough. It’s being tested as a protein ingredient in several commercial vegan products. Claiming to be one of the fastest-growing food tech startups in Sweden and soon to be Scandinavia’s first-of-its-kind facility for large-scale mycoprotein manufacturing, the company plans to use the funds for team and research expansion and development capabilities as well as production scaleup.


Kindra receives $4.5M to launch products to address menopause

Kindra (Los Angeles, California) has raised $4.5 million in a seed funding round to drive continued growth and expansion. As a modern wellness brand addressing an overlooked category, Kindra’s mission is to support women on their menopause journey through essential products, reliable information and an engaged community. The round was led by the Female Founders Fund. Primetime Partners, Anne and Susan Wojcicki, Katie Couric Media, The Community Fund and H Ventures also invested in this round.


Pea protein producer Novo Farina gets over £3M in funding

Novo Farina (Norfolk, England) has raised more than £3 million in an investment round led by British venture capital investor and author Richard Koch, with participation from other private investors. Novo Farina’s lead product, NovoTex, is a textured pea protein developed for use as meat alternatives. The company also produces pea flour and pea crumb. In 2020, the company launched its first retail product—baked pea-based curls called Simpleas Snacks. “I am delighted to invest in Novo Farina, which has a unique series of healthy and ecologically sound food products and which is a terrific pioneer and star business,” Koch said.


Disclaimer: NCN does not warrant the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any NCN news item. Before relying on any NCN News item the information should be independently verified.

News for June 23, 2021

News for June 26, 2021

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry

Explorer Cold Brew nabs $1.5M in seed funding

Explorer Cold Brew (Brooklyn, New York), which launched during the COVID-19 pandemic and makes a 1:4 ratio cold brew concentrate that comes in various caffeine strengths, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding. The capital will enable the LGBTQ+-owned brand to expand its custom at-home coffee offering as well as enhance its e-commerce platform to reach a wider audience. The seed round was led by consumer fund NewBound VC, with participation from Jordan Fliegel, Jeremy Levine and Chris Quinn’s angel syndicate Founders First and LGBT angel syndicate Gaingels, among others.


Aura Bora sparkling water brand secures $2M in seed round

Craft sparking water brand Aura Bora has raised $2 million in a seed round, which will help support its expansion into 7-Eleven, Sprouts, Whole Foods Pacific Northwest and Fresh Thyme. The brand will also use the funds for its new online subscription service where it will introduce limited-edition flavors. Co-founders Paul and Madeleine Voge recently appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank, where they secured a deal with investor Robert Herjavec for $200,000 and 15% equity in the company. Aura Bora uses herbal, fruit and floral extracts to flavor sparkling water in whimsical cans.


Baby food brand Serenity Kids gets $7M in Series A round

CircleUp Growth Partners led a Series A funding round on the heels of a $3 million seed round to give Serenity Kids (Austin, Texas) a total investment of $14 million. Using its proprietary data platform Helio, CircleUp identified Serenity Kids as the No. 1 brand to watch in the baby food category. The company’s revenue grew by more than 200% in 2020 over 2019 and the married-couple founders expect growth of 150% in 2021. The Series A funding, which included participation from Wild Ventures as well as new and existing investors will be invested into expanding the brand’s retail footprint, hiring in sales and marketing and product innovation, particularly around a recall of rice-based baby products following a U.S. House of Representatives committee report that found these products contained traces of arsenic and other heavy metals.


GenTech Holdings buys protein bar maker NxtBar

GenTech Holdings (New York, New York) has acquired NxtBar (Charlotte, North Carolina), maker of keto-friendly protein bars, for an undisclosed amount. The purchase follows another by the holding company for functional food company Sinfit Nutrition, which makes protein powders, cookies and bars.


Superfruit snack brand Rind expands with $6.1M Series A fundraise

Rind Snacks (New York, New York), which has a core line of dried fruit snacks, secured $6.1 million in a Series A round led by Valor Siren Ventures. The company, founded in 2018 and launching into two regions of Whole Foods, Wegmans and Fresh Market last March, will use the capital to expand into the salty snack aisle with the launch of thin-cut, crispy fruit chips. The company cites the $20 billion chips category as a reason to expand its product offering.


Winpro Pet closes on $3M+ Series B round

Next Level Ventures, a venture capital firm in Des Moines. Iowa, has invested $3 million in a Series B funding round for Winpro Pet (Ankeny, Iowa) The company, founded in 2016, makes serum-based supplements for dogs using science behind animal blood proteins. Research at Iowa State University in the 1980s found that blood proteins added to weaning piglets’ diets reduced their mortality. Since then, blood proteins have improved the lives of various animals including dairy calves, lambs, horses and more. Winpro Pet was the first company to create the serum-based supplements specifically for dogs. Next Level Ventures joins long-time Winpro Pet partner Summit Equity Group as key stakeholders.


WM Partners strikes deal for Vega

WM Partners has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire plant-based nutrition pioneer Vega (Burnaby, British Columbia). Vega makes high quality plant-based protein powders across several categories and has successfully expanded beyond its natural channel origins into conventional and e-commerce. “We are excited to work with Vega, the pioneers and leaders of the plant-based nutrition industry and look forward to implementing our operational playbook to create additional value,” said Jose Minski, co-founder of WM Partners. WhiteWave Foods, a Danone subsidiary, has owned the company since buying it for $550 million in 2015.


Change Foods closes $2.1M seed round

Change Foods (Palo Alto, California) plans to bring its first product—animal-free cheese—to market in 2023 thanks to an oversubscribed Seed round of $2.1 million. The company, which was founded in 2019, uses precision fermentation of microorganisms such as yeast or filamentous fungi with sugar to produce cells for specific functional ingredients such as fats, vitamins, flavoring agents and enzymes. The process is similar to that used by Perfect Day and Impossible Foods. Investors include Plug and Play Ventures, Clear Current Capital, Canaccord Genuity, Better Bite Ventures, Jeff Dean and Gerber-Rauth.


Plant-based egg startup closes $1.6M seed round in Singapore

Singaporean food tech company Float Foods (Singapore) has closed its $1.6M seed round to develop and accelerate commercialization for a plant-based egg substitute. Singapore-headquartered venture capital firms Insignia Ventures Partners and DSG Consumer Partners co-led the round to propel the company’s flagship product—OnlyEg, a whole egg made using legumes—to market in Singapore in 2022. OnlyEg is currently in the R&D phase and will be designed for extra nutrition and a longer shelf life before heading to market. Other investors included F&B group Ebb & Flow; food solutions agriculture providers Water Tiger Investments and Agrocorp Ventures and Singapore’s first food incubator with an innovation-driven ecosystem, Innovate 360.


Rae Wellness nabs $9.5M in Series A funding

Socially conscious, women-led wellness brand Rae (Minneapolis, Minnesota) raised $9.5 million in a Series A funding round led by PowerPlant Partners. Other investors included existing investors M13 and Able Partners, and initial investor Victress Capital. The brand, which can be found at retailers such as Thrive Market, Target and Anthropologie, will use the funds to expand distribution, business reach and its product line. The company makes supplements with evidence-based formulas.


Reddit co-founder invests in plant-based meat startup Simulate

Through his venture capital firm, Reddit’s co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, had led a $50 million Series B funding round for Simulate (New York, New York ), which makes plant-based chicken nuggets brand Nuggs. He also joined the company’s board of directors. The company—which launched in 2019 and is now in 5,000 U.S. retail locations including Walmart, Target, Whole Foods and Sam’s club—is also backed by Hollywood actor and model Patrick Schwarzenegger. This round included additional participation from Chris and Crystal Sacca, NOMO Ventures, McCain Foods, Imaginary Ventures and Day One Ventures.


Ontario teachers’ board invests in food tech company Motif FoodWorks

Through its Teachers’ Innovation Platform (TIP), the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and investment management company BlackRock led a Series B funding round that raised $226 million for Motif FoodWorks (Boston, Massachusetts). TIP focuses on late-stage venture and growth equity investments in companies developing innovative technologies. The second round of funding will help Motif advance the plant-based category by increasing research and development capabilities, scaling and commercializing its food technologies and expanding its people and facilities footprint.


Red Sea Farms gets $10M in funding to grow crops in salt water

Hydroponics company Red Sea Farms (Saudi Arabia) raised $10 million. The company, which is based out of King Abdullah University for Science & Technology in Saudi Arabia, grows tomatoes in an enclosed farm, using salt water to cool the facility and irrigate crops. The tomatoes are sold in markets in Saudi Arabia. Red Sea Farms uses plant selection, breeding and grafting (but not genetically modifying) to develop root stocks that can grow in saltwater, creating a technology that could help countries with abundant coastlines and not as much fresh water become more food independent.


Marketplace for raw materials raises $3M in seed funding

Born of a frustrating experience for Harvard Business School students trying to start a spiked seltzer brand, ShelfLife (New York, New York) aims to fix a complicated supply chain with a digital directory and marketplace of raw materials. The company, currently in beta, has raised $3 million to automate its manual process of procuring supplier quotes. The funding round was co-led by Switch Ventures and Kindred Ventures, with participation from NextView Ventures, Ben Zises (, Ilia Papas (former CTO of Blue Apron) and Elena Donio (former president of SAP Concur).


FoodPharma receives majority growth equity investment from New Harbor Capital

New Harbor Capital has completed a majority growth equity investment in Food Technology and Design LLC, dba FoodPharma LLC (Santa Fe Springs, California), which is a contract manufacturer of proprietary functional and nutritional foods with over 500 proprietary formulas and recipes. FoodPharma has a market-leading position in the soft chew category, specifically in bariatric and weight loss nutrition and serves CPG, private label and specialty brands.


Disclaimer: NCN does not warrant the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any NCN news item. Before relying on any NCN News item the information should be independently verified.

News for June 9, 2021

Bryan Gray

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

Ready, Set, Food raises $3.5M in most recent funding round

Ready, Set, Food! (Los Angeles, California), which makes an organic, all-natural, three-stage guided system to help families introduce food allergens, raised $43.5 million in its most recent funding round. The round was led by a new investor, Edward-Elmhurst Health, with participation from returning investors Danone Manifesto Ventures as well as Mark Cuban and AF Ventures. The company was developed by parents, for parents, as an early allergen introduction system of the top nine allergens.


Hungryroot secures $40M in Series C raise

Hungryroot (New York, New York) raised $40 million in a Series C funding round led by the Growth Fund of L Catterton, the largest global consumer-focused private equity firm. Hungryroot—which creates a grocery plan for consumers, sells and delivers groceries and includes health recipes—will use the capital to further accelerate growth by substantially increasing the number of groceries and recipes it offers, growing its team, investing in automation technology and more. Hungryroot has been profitable since the beginning of 2020 and is on track to achieve $175 million of revenue this year.


Precision medicine startup DayTwo raises $37M

DayTwo (Israel) raised $37 million in a recent fundraising round, bringing the total amount raised to $85 million. The new funding will go toward developing technologies to help people with diabetes, specifically an app that provides user customized diet recommendations based on their gut bacteria. New investors include Poalim Capital Markets, La’maison Fund and Micron Ventures. Existing investors Poalim Capital Markets, La’maison Fund and Micron Ventures also participated.


Plant-based meat company Heura raises big in 24-hour crowdfunding campaign

Heura (Bareclona, Spain), a plant-based meat maker, raised $4.8 million in just 24 hours after launching its first equity crowdfunding campaign. The Spanish startup will put the funds toward R&D and launching new plant-based meat products to the market. On the crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, the company explained it decided to raise capital through a crowdfunding campaign because it “needs partners to keep driving the change in innovation and R&D” and to “continue creating meat successors like chicken nuggets, sausage and mince meat” to launch across global markets.


Mommy’s Bliss partners with Swander Pace Capital

Mommy’s Bliss (Richmond, California) has announced a partnership with Swander Pace Capital, a private equity firm specializing in consumer product companies. Mommy’s Bliss, founded in 1999, makes all-natural, over over-the-counter health and wellness products for babies, kids, moms and moms-to-be. “We are excited to partner with Swander Pace Capital, which has deep experience in the consumer product sector, to help us continue our growth, drive further innovation and take our mission to an even higher level,” said Yasmin Kaderali, CEO of Mommy’s Bliss.


Opopop closes $5M in Series A round

Opopop (Denver, Colorado) closed its Series A on June 1, raising $5 million and bringing the company’s combined pre-launch funding to $11.6 million. The company’s product—microwave popcorn with pre-flavored popcorn kernels, dubbed Flavor Wrapped Popcorn Kernels—launched on June 7. The Series A round was led by Valor Siren Ventures, with investments from Peter Rahal, founder of RxBar and Litani Ventures; Grammy award-winning superstar DJ/Producer Tiësto; Academy Award-winning director Jimmy Chin; and Alex Bogusky’s firm Batshit Crazy Ventures.


Nonalcoholic beer maker Athletic Brewing nabs $50M in Series C round

Athletic Brewing (Stratford, Connecticut), which makes nonalcoholic craft beer, has raised a $50 million Series C funding round led by Alliance Consumer Growth and existing investor TRB Advisors. The company will use the funds—a total of $70 million for Athletic—to construct a Connecticut brewery, which will be the company’s third, to support East Coast expansion. The brewer offers a range of nonalcoholic beers and has struggled to keep up with demand, despite steady growth since its launch in 2018. Previous investors include bicycle racer Lance Armstrong and NFL players Justin Tuck and J.J. Watt, Food Dive reported.


Kudos closes $2.4M Seed round

Disposable baby diaper brand Kudos (Boston, Massachusetts) closed its $2.4 million Seed round of financing. The company touts being the first and only disposable baby diaper to earn the cotton natural seal from Cotton Inc. for having 100% cotton, instead of plastic, touching the baby’s skin. The company operates direct-to-consumer and charges $78 for a monthly subscription box. Investors included Foundation Capital, XFund, PJC, Precursor Ventures, Liquid 2 Ventures, SV Angel, Underscore VC, Alpha Bridge Ventures, April Underwood and more.


Gnosis by Lesaffre acquires NattoPharma

Gnosis by Lesaffre (Lille, France) has acquired NattoPharma, a Norwegian nutraceutical company that specializes in the research and supply of vitamin K2. The purchase, which was for an undisclosed sum, will enhance Gnosis’ vitamin K2 offering by bringing together its own vitaMK7 brand with NattoPharma’s MenaQ7 solutions. Both ingredient solutions have been used as part of formulations for nutraceutical and functional food products for more than 10 years.


Plant Power fast food chain gets $7.5M in Series A

Fast food restaurant chain Plant Power (San Diego, California) has completed a $7.5 million Series A funding round led by Helia Capital USA, Eat Beyond Global Holdings and Batta Foods, with participation from Aileen Getty and other individual investors. The chain, which offers an entire plant-based menu, has seven locations in Southern California. Eight stores are planned in new locations including Sacramento and Hollywood, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition, the company will use the funds to focus on the development of a new corporate unit.


L Catterton acquires Kodiak Cakes

Kodiak Cakes (Park City, Utah) has been purchased by L Catterton for an undisclosed sum. The pancake maker, led by co-founder and CEO Joel Clark and co-founder and President Cameron Smith, has expanded into waffle mixes, frozen waffles and pancakes, oatmeal, baking mixes and more. Kodiak’s existing shareholders, including Sunrise Strategic Partners, Trilantic North America, and the company’s founders and management team, will continue to own a significant minority stake in the company going forward. “We are thrilled at the opportunity to partner with Joel and his exceptional leadership team for the next chapter in Kodiak’s evolution,” said Matt Leeds, partner at L Catterton.


Alternative dairy startup Vly gets $7.4M in Series A

Vly (Berlin, Germany), maker of milk from plant protein, has raised 6.1 million euros ($7.4 million) in a Series A round led by Five Seasons Ventures. The company, founded in 2018, is the sixth biggest plant milk brand in Germany. It will use the funds to scale its R&D and drive growth access the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and into new European markets, including the United Kingdom. The company worked through 400 versions before it created its dairy alternative milk from yellow split pea protein, it says. The milk is now stocked in over 10,000 stores.


NotCo gets backing from Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer’s Fund

The Not Company (Santiago, Chile), which uses patented AI technology to create plant-based products that replicate the taste and texture of animal-based foods, has received funding from Enlightened Hospitality Investments (EHI), the growth equity fund that includes U.S. burger restaurant Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer. NotCo, which is also backed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and investors Future Positive and L Catterton, has raised a total of $130 million to date, with the latest investment amount from EHI not disclosed. The company will use the capital to ramp up its expansion efforts across the U.S. foodservice market.


Prima closes $9.2M Seed round

The Uplifters’ Prima, PBC (Santa Monica, California) closed a $9.2 million Seed Plus round of financing led by Greycroft, H Ventures, Defy, and Lerer Hippeau, with notable participation from Adam Zeplain (mark vc), Global Founders Capital, Emerald Health, One Gun and Purple Arch Ventures. The company, known as Prima, launched in 2019 by The Honest Company alums and makes skin care, body care and supplements that include cannabinoids.


Disclaimer: NCN does not warrant the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any NCN news item. Before relying on any NCN News item the information should be independently verified.

News for May 26, 2021

Bryan Gray

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

UK-based seaweed processing startup Oceanium nabs $2.75M

Oceanium (Oban, Scotland) closed a Seed II round of funding to open up the market for sustainable seaweed farming. The seaweed processing startup—which is among a number of startups repurposing seaweed into new foods and materials—will use the funding to scale its biorefinery and processing model. The round, which was for approximately £2 million (US$2.7 million), was led by Green Angel Syndicate and World Wildlife Fund. It follows a previous round from venture capital firms Katapult Ocean and Sky Ocean Ventures, as well as Scottish Enterprise.


Plant-based chicken brand Daring gets $40M from Drake and others

Plant-based chicken brand Daring (Los Angeles, California) has raised $40 million in a Series B funding round. The round, led by D1 Capital Partners, received participation from existing investors Maveron (which last year led an $8 million Series A funding round for the company) and Palm Tree Crew, as well as musician Aubrey Drake Graham, known as Drake. The chicken alternative producer will use the funds to grow its team, support product development and accelerate growth in retail and food service channels.


Açai superfood brand Sambazon raises $45M

Sambazon (San Clemente, California), which produces a range of organic food and beverage products made with superfood açai, has secured a $45 million investment from NextWorld, a San Francisco, California-based investment partnership. “Sambazon is a market leader built around a deep sense of purpose, innovative açai products, a large addressable global market and a long-term commitment to leveraging their strong growth in the CPG marketplace to build a larger omnichannel brand,” said David Fife, a partner at NextWorld who will join the Sambazon board of directors.


Tea Drops picks up $5M in Series A funding round

Bagless tea startup Tea Drops (Los Angeles, California) raised $5 million in funding in a Series A round led by BrandProject, with additional participations from its previous investors AF Ventures, Cue Ball Capital and Halogen Ventures, as well as new investor Siddhi Capital. The capital, which brings the company’s total funding to $8.4 million, will help the brand that started in 2015 and is referred to as the “bath bombs of tea” to expand from its current direct-to-consumer model to an omnichannel business.


Eat Just secures $170 million to scale its cell-based meat business, Good Meat

Eat Just (San Francisco, California)—makers of standout egg replacement brand Just Egg—has raised $170 million in funding to scale its cell-based meat subsidiary, Good Meat, and to increase capacity and accelerate research and development of Good Meat’s cultured meat products. The $170 million investment and a new partnership with JW Marriott Singapore South Beach points to growing corporate and consumer interest in more sustainable food choices, said Mirte Gosker, managing director, Asia-Pacific, at the Good Food Institute.


Pongamia tree producer Terviva secures $54M and partners with Danone

Terviva (Oakland, California) has raised $54 million in equity funding to commercialize a regenerative plant protein and culinary oil from pongamia trees. Danone will partner with the company to explore new food products using pongamia, which Terviva says can sequester significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The company plans to close an additional $24 million in equity and debt before the end of the quarter to further fund this expansion and estimates it will open a facility to manufacture pongamia-based foods in the U.S. next year.


Polish personalized supplement company Sundose grabs $6M in funding

Sundose (Lublin, Poland) raised $6 million in a Series A funding round led by DX Ventures and Atmos Ventures with participation from Investible Club, Polipo Ventures, Aria and others. The company, which launched in 2017, intends to use the funds to further develop its personalization engine, scale production and expand its operations to serve customers in more European markets.


NASCAR Cup Champion Kyle Busch’s Rowdy Energy gets $13M in funding

Rowdy Energy (Mooresville, North Carolina), the better-for-you energy drink brand created by two-time NASCAR Cup Champion Kyle Busch and beverage entrepreneur Jeff Church, has completed a $13 million fundraising round. The company’s 40 investors include the private equity fund CircleUp, Marcus Lemonis, The Kraft Group, Scott Borchetta and Fanatics Executive Chairman Michael Rubin. The funds will be used to further Rowdy Energy’s marketing initiatives as well on unique programs in partnership with retailers.


Label Insight purchased by NielsenIQ for undisclosed sum

NielsenIQ (Chicago, Illinois) has purchased Chicago firm Label Insight, which NielsenIQ says will make the company “the most comprehensive and robust data provider within the $175 billion health and wellness space with the richest source of product attribution data, in tandem with its gold-standard, global retail measurement system sales data and panel insights.” NielsenIQ, formerly known as Nielsen Global Connect, was sold by Nielsen Holdings in November for $2.7 billion.


Israel’s SavorEat launches plant-based egg subsidiary

Food tech startup SavorEat (Rehovot, Israel) has created a new subsidiary called Egg’n’up to focus on developing plant-based egg alternatives. SavorEat uses 3D-printing technology to develop vegan, kosher and gluten-free meat alternatives and will team up with investor Millennium Food-Tech to start the new venture with $2.5 million. SavorEat’s patent-pending technology uses 3D-printing cartridges containing plant-based ingredients and a nano-cellulose fiber to provide texture for the analogue. Egg’n’up is slated to debut its first product by Q4 of 2022.


Supplement startup Gem raises $10.5M in seed round

CircleUp Growth Partners led a $10.5 million seed round for Gem (Los Angeles, California), a next generation take on dietary supplements: The company makes chewable, cube-shaped bites made from plant-based ingredients. In 2020, Gem saw 400% growth and sold 8 million bites through its online platform. The company will use the capital to expand its product into retail and add additional plant ecosystems to its portfolio of science and intellectual property, as well as to grow its team from 10 to 40 employees.


Sky Organics expands from Amazon into retail with help of Nexus

Nexus Capital Management, a private equity firm in Los Angeles, made a strategic growth investment in Sky Organics (Miami, Florida), a beauty brand specializing in curly hair care and antiaging products. Sky Organics launched in 2018 and sells on Amazon. The terms of the investment weren’t disclosed. Michael Cohen, partner at Nexus, said, “Sky Organics’ focus on natural, sustainable, better-for-you products fits perfectly within Nexus’ umbrella of mission-based companies.” William Hood & Co. was the financial advisor to Sky Organics on the deal with Nexus.


Latinx clean beauty brand Ceremonia outpaces projections by more than 50%

Ceremonia (New York, New York) launched in 2020, targeting an often-overlooked demographic in the beauty space: Latinas. Founder Babba C. Rivera raised $1 million in venture capital funding last year and another $2 million in the company’s latest seed round, co-led by Silas Capital and Beliade. Ceremonia has outperformed revenue projections by more than 50% in the company’s first six months and surpassed $100,000 in revenue.


Stage acquires artisanal cheese brand Haystack Mountain

Haystack Mountain Creamery (Longmont, Colorado) has been acquired by Stage, a specialized growth venture fund that invests in technology-enabled and consumer products businesses in need of fresh capital and operating expertise. Haystack Mountain, which started at the Boulder Farmers Market in 1989, has received 80 total awards, including 20 first place awards for its cheeses—the Guild of Fine Foods’ Best American Cheese Award in 2017 and 2018 among them. Board member Mark Retzloff, co-founder of Horizon Dairy, Aurora Organic Dairy and Alfalfas Markets, said, “There is so much excitement surrounding the team at Haystack. Jackie Chang is an outstanding talent that is well-known throughout the industry for her passion and unwavering commitment to excellence.”


Copper Cow Coffee raises $8.5 million in Series A financing

Copper Cow Coffee (Los Angeles, California) closed its Series A funding round of $8.5 million that was co-led by Cultivian Sandbox and Arborview Capital, with participation from Siddhi Capital, Silverton Partners, Social Starts, Montage Ventures, CRCM and Stormbreaker Ventures. Copper Cow sources ethically and sustainably from Vietnamese farms that practice organic agricultural and processing methods. The company has tripled its revenue annually since launch and is distributed in more than 3,000 retailers, including Whole Foods Market, Sprouts and Walmart worldwide.


Synergy Flavors buys Innova Flavors

Synergy Flavors (Wauconda, Illinois), which was built by cheese producer Carberry, has announced its acquisition of savory flavor and ingredient supplier Innova Flavors (Lombard, Illinois) from Griffith Foods Worldwide for an undisclosed sum. Innova Flavors specializes in creating customized meat and savory flavors and will complement Synergy’s current offerings for rapidly growing plant-based alternative food and beverages globally. “This acquisition offers significant benefits to Synergy customers by providing them access to a proven range of flavors to meet the growing demand for natural flavorings and savory ingredients,” said Rod Sowders, president and CEO of Synergy Flavors.


Disclaimer: NCN does not warrant the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any NCN news item. Before relying on any NCN News item the information should be independently verified.

News for May 12, 2021

Bryan Gray

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

Sports nutrition company Picky Bars scooped up by Laird Superfood

Laird Superfood (Sisters, Oregon), which is backed by Danone and went public last year on NYSE, has acquired Picky Bars (Bend, Oregon) for $12 million. Laird Hamilton, founder of Laird Superfood, had been impressed by Picky Bars’ business for years. “For us, it’s about finding that authentic connection and passion for building delicious, better-for-you that everyone can enjoy, and we see that same drive within Picky Bars,” Hamilton said.


Plant-based ice cream Wildgood ships to consumer doorsteps for $9

Olive oil ice cream brand Wildgood (Montpelier, Vermont) is now shipping anywhere in the continental U.S. Wildwood, a plant-based ice cream made with extra virgin olive oil, is expanding to direct-to-consumer distribution for $9 per pint (plus tax and shipping) after rolling out to Whole Foods Market, Wegmans and other select grocery stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.


Renewal Mill closes a $250,000 investment with ICA’s Growth Fund

ICA Accelerator alumni Renewal Mill (Oakland, California) received $250,000 from ICA’s Growth Fund toward the upcycled food company’s $1 million funding round. ICA’s Growth Fund, which makes growth equity investments of $100,000 to $1 million, focuses on serving entrepreneurs of color and women. In this funding round, ICA is joined by Beyond Impact Advisors, Emil Capital Partners and the Georgetown Angel Investor Network.


Personalized nutrition startup Zoe gets $20M from football players and others

Zoe, a personalized nutrition startup based in London, England, and Boston, Massachusetts, has raised a total of $53 million with the close of its latest B finding round. The round was led by Ahren Innovation Capital, which counts two Nobel laureates as science partners, as well as two former American football players, Eli Manning and Ositadimma Umenyiora. Zoe was founded in 2017 but researched the gut biome for its first three years, with the help of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital, Stanford Medicine, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and King’s College London. The company is named after the Greek word for “life.”


Pete and Gerry’s acquired by private equity firm Butterfly

Organic egg company Pete and Gerry’s (Monroe, New Hampshire) has been acquired by private equity firm Butterfly (Los Angeles, California) for an undisclosed amount. Pete and Gerry’s Organics—producer of organic, free-range and pasture-raised eggs under its Pete and Gerry’s Organics, Nellie’s Free Range and Consider Pastures brands—had over $200 million in sales in 2018. Butterfly purchased Orgain in 2019. British Columbia Investment Management Corporation and Laflamme are minority investors in Pete and Gerry’s.


Biofabrication company Modern Meadow nabs $130M

Modern Meadow (Nutley, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York) raised $130 million in a Series C funding round led by Key Partners Capital and participation from Astanor Ventures, Horizons Ventures and Cape Capital. The company, which recently named Anna Bakst as CEO, uses biofabrication to create sustainable materials by integrating design, biology and material science. The raise will go toward research and development across material science and biotechnology.


Gaming company Razer invests in bamboo toilet tissue brand

Razer (Irvine, California, and Singapore), which designs hardware, peripherals and accessories for gamers, has announced a seed investment in The Nurturing Co. (Singapore), which makes sustainable consumer products including Bambooloo, toilet paper made from sustainably sourced bamboo pulp and sold in plastic-free packaging. The investment is the first from the company’s Razer Green Fund, a $50 million commitment and part of the company’s 10-year sustainability roadmap that it revealed in March. The fund aims to “foster a green mindset amongst Razer’s community of youth, millennials and Gen Z” gamers, Razer said in a statement.


Something Better Foods gets $500,000 investment from ICA

Plant-based protein maker Something Better Foods (Vallejo, California) has received a $500,000 investment from ICA. “With this investment, we will be able to expand our operations and provide meaningful employment opportunities for the local community,” said Chef GW Chew, CEO of Something Better Foods. Since December, ICA has deployed more than $1.5 million in growth equity to Bay Area companies.


GW “Chef” Chew on fighting food deserts in America

A conversation with GW Chew: How the natural products industry can better serve people of color


Unilever to acquire Onnit

Unilever has added Onnit (Austin, Texas) to its growing wellness and supplement portfolio. Onnit, which was founded in 2010, makes supplements with ingredients that support cognitive function—including Alpha Brain, a nootropic for better memory, focus and mental processing—mood and relaxation, gut health and immunity. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Onnit will continue to be based in Austin and led by CEO Jason Harvey.


King’s Hawaiian buys Grillo’s Pickles

Grillo’s Pickles (Boston, Massachusetts) has been sold to bakery company King’s Hawaiian (Torrance, California) for an undisclosed amount. CEO and founder Travis Grillo has left the company but the company will remain in Boston. Investors in the brand included Breakaway Capital, Centerman Capital and Food Retail Ventures.


Tony’s Chocolonely acquires a chocolate factory to mold its own bars

Tony’s Chocolonely (Amsterdam, Netherlands), a company whose mission is to end slavery in the chocolate supply chain, has purchased Althaea-De Laet International NV, a Borsbeek, Belgium, factory that has been Tony’s co-packer. With the acquisition, Tony’s Chocolonely will operate its own factory to innovate faster, provide more product flexibility and increase manufacturing capacity. Slave Free Chocolate recently dropped Tony’s Chocolonely from its list of ethical producers because a processor is being sued for using child labor on a cocoa plantation.
Read more at Anti-slavery chocolate is taken off ethical list


Evo Foods secures $845K and readies for India market launch

Plant-based egg startup Evo Foods (Mumbai, India) closed its pre-seed round, raising $845,000 to prepare for its launch in the India market and grow its R&D and marketing teams. The company, which was founded in 2019 by Kartik Dixit and Shraddha Bhansali, is preparing for an international launch in 2022. Evo makes a 100% vegan egg liquid from lentils. The round received support from Sustainable Food Ventures; Michiel Van Deursen at Capital V; Vaibhav Domkundwar at Better Capital; Anil Advani at Inventus Law; Sweden-based Kale United; Seven Hound ventures of Los Angeles, California; Hearthstone Investments, and members of the U.S.-based Glasswall Syndicate.


Biotech company Longevica to launch supplement line later this year

After spending 11 years researching supplements to increase human longevity, Longevica (Princeton, New Jersey) says it created a biotechnology platform from studying the lifespan of laboratory mice. With that technology, and $13 million it recently raised from investors, Longevica plans to launch medicines, dietary supplements and food later this year. Longevica’s platform is based on the work of Alexey Ryazanov, a molecular biologist and professor of pharmacology at Rutgers University who holds 10 U.S. patents and is a longtime researcher into the regulation of protein biosynthesis cells.


Disclaimer: NCN does not warrant the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any NCN news item. Before relying on any NCN News item the information should be independently verified.

News for April 28, 2021

Bryan Gray

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

SunOpta buys Dream and WestSoy brands from Hain Celestial

After manufacturing the brands for more than a decade, SunOpta (Mississauga, Ontario) now owns the Dream and WestSoy brands, which were sold by The Hain Celestial Group (Lake Success, New York). SunOpta hopes the $33 million acquisition will accelerate the growth of its plant-based foods and beverages segment. “These two brands are perfect examples of niche brands that complement, but do not directly compete with, our vitally important co-manufactured partners,” said SunOpta CEO Joe Ennen.


Meat giant JBS acquires plant-based meat brand Vivera for $408 million

JBA SA, the world’s largest meat supplier, continues to bet on the exploding plant-based trend. The company’s recently acquired plant-based food producer Vivera BV (Netherlands). Vivera, Europe’s third-largest plant-based food producer, has a portfolio of 50 different food items and sells its products in 25 European countries. JBS purchased Vivera for 341 million euros ($408 million) but is awaiting regulatory approval.


Taste Republic owner Tribe 9 scoops up restaurant brand Carla’s Pasta

Tribe 9 (Windsor, Connecticut), maker of gluten-free pasta brand Taste Republic, bought Carla’s Pasta (South Windsor, Connecticut) for $26.3 million at an auction. The Carla’s Pasta business was hit hard by the pandemic and forced the restaurant brand to file for bankruptcy. Operations will transfer to Tribe 9 when the purchase is finalized later this month. Tribe 9 plans to continue to operate the manufacturing facilities while preserving production and jobs.


OneThird furthers technology to predict produce shelf life with $1.8 million raise

Food tech company OneThird (Netherlands) has raised $1.8 million to further develop a platform to “look inside” produce to determine its remaining shelf life. The company’s shelf-life predicting technology helps growers, retailers and distributors cut down on food waste by utilizing near-infrared sensors and artificial intelligence throughout multiple stages of the supply chain. OneThird will also use the funding—provided by SHIFT Invest and Oost NL—to expand retail pilots of its platform.


Newcomer Vejii buys veteran plant-based e-tailer Vegan Essentials, raises CA$10 million

Canada’s Vejii has acquired U.S. e-commerce platform Vegan Essentials (Waukesha, Wisconsin), which has grown into one of the largest exclusively plant-based retailers in the U.S. since it opened in 1997. The $1.4 million purchase will provide Vejii (Kelowna, British Columbia) more than 20 years of consumer insights and data to establish a stronger foothold in e-commerce. The newcomer—launched just four months ago—also raised CA$10 million ($7.9 million) led by Eight Capital to fuel its expansion into the online vegan marketplace.


RipeLocker secures $5 million more to improve shipping perishables

Startup RipeLocker (Seattle, Washington) secured an additional $5 million for its Series B round of funding. The company will use the funds, led by angel investors, to make specialized containers that extend the life of fresh food after harvest. In completed trials, the reusable pallet-sized containers held freshly harvested organic blueberries in “pristine condition” for eight weeks and fresh hops for six weeks. RipeLocker has raised a total of $12 million.


Arcadia Biosciences purchases Spanish food ingredient company Agrasys

U.S. agricultural biotechnology company Arcardia (Davis, California) has acquired Agrasys (Bareclona, Spain) for its novel cereal grain tritordeum. The acquisition will enable Arcadia to commercialize the proprietary grain, which is a combination of durum wheat and wild barley and is high in fiber, protein and lutein. Agrasys has commercialized the grain in 10 countries with seven retailers in Europe, including grocery retailer Albert Heijn in the Netherlands.


Supplement startup Feel gets $6.2 million

Feel (London, England) closed a $6.2 million investment led by Fuel Ventures and with participation from TMT Investments; Sova VC; Richard Longhurst, founder of; and Igor Ryabenkiy, founder and GP of Altair Capital. The U.K. startup is a year old and has a direct-to-consumer subscription model, which it says will keep costs down for consumers.


Skin care brand Disco nabs $5 million in seed round

Disco (Austin, Texas) raised $5 million in seed funding led by Midnight Venture Partners with participation from Paul Hedrick, founder of Tecovas; Bryan Mahoney, founder of Arfa Brands and former CTO of Glossier; and Taylor O’Neil, founder of Richards Rainwater. The skin care startup intends to use the funds to scale the business and expand its product offering as well as accelerate rollout to hundreds of retail doors across the U.S. this year.


Jellatech closes a $2 million pre-seed round for its animal-free collagen

Launched in November, Jellatech (Raleigh, North Carolina) has raised $2 million in a pre-seed financing round to fuel the company’s continued development of animal-free collagen and gelatin ingredients. The company is looking to provide a replacement for animal-based ingredients in multiple industries such as food and beverage products like gummy bears as well as supplements, skin care and cosmetics. “Being able to manufacture native collagen without animals is unique, this is what makes our technology truly groundbreaking,” explained co-founder Kylie van Deinsen-Hesp, who heads the science behind Jellatech. The round saw participation from a number of venture capital investors, including Iron Grey, YellowDog, 7 Hound Ventures, Capital V, Sentient Investments and Bluestein Ventures.


Atlast Food raises $40 million from high-profile investor lineup

Atlast Food Co., the maker of mushroom-sourced bacon, has raised $40 million from a roster of investors that includes the founders of Applegate, Stonyfield Organics and Whole Foods Market; Stray Dog Capital; and Robert Downey Jr.’s Footprint Coalition Ventures. The company sells its own branded product line, MyBacon, to a select set of specialty retailers but plans to sell its patented mycelium-based ingredient that mimics the texture of bacon to other food companies getting in on the alternative meat craze. Most of the funding will go toward construction and staffing of the company’s new production facility—expected to be the world’s largest mycelium farm.


Chickapea nabs $9.3 million in a Series C round

Organic pasta brand Chickapea (Collingwood, Ontario) received a seed capital investment from District Ventures Capital in 2017 after participating in the District Ventures Accelerator program. The company has now gained another $9.3 million from District, co-led with InvestEco Capital and Export Development Canada. The funds from the Series C round will be used to support Chickapea as it continues to grow in both Canada and the U.S. and expand its product line to include more nutrient-dense pasta. The certified B Corp produces organic pasta made with only chickpeas and lentils.


Aussie effervescent vitamins brand Voost sells to Procter & Gamble

VitaminHaus, which operates consumer brand Voost (Melbourne, Australia), has sold to Procter & Gamble for an undisclosed sum. After seven years of growth, the brand leads the effervescent vitamin category in Australia and has large distribution in grocery and pharmacy retailers throughout the country, as well as in Singapore, Hong Kong and the U.K. Founder Thomas Siebel said the acquisition will help “elevate the brand to a new level,” including launching in more markets worldwide.


Cultured Decadence closes $1.6 million pre-seed round

Cultured Decadence (Madison, Wisconsin), which specialized in cell-cultured seafood products such as lab-grown lobster meat, has closed a $1.6 million pre-seed round of funding. The company received non-dilutive funding from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. administered by the Center for Technology Commercialization. Other investors included Bluestein Ventures, Joyance Partners, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, gener8tor, GlassWall Syndicate, Bascom Ventures and Dao Foods, The financing will go toward expanding the Cultured Decadence team and technical progress toward a commercial launch.


Disclaimer: NCN does not warrant the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any NCN news item. Before relying on any NCN News item the information should be independently verified.

News for April 14, 2021

Bryan Gray

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

DSM puts up $100M to launch personalized health startup Hologram

A new personalized health and nutrition company called Hologram Sciences (Boston, Massachusetts, and New York, New York) has started up with $100 million in backing from Royal DSM (Heerlen, Netherlands). With a proprietary digital platform at its core, Hologram will launch consumer-facing brands that combine health diagnostics, digital coaching and personalized nutrition solutions to address a variety of health needs. DSM says that as solutions are validated in the market, they’ll become available to its customers. Hologram will also incubate products with DSM customers and partners, the company says.


Good Catch nets $26.4M to take plant-based seafood to new markets

Gathered Foods (Austin, Texas), maker of Good Catch plant-based seafood, has $26.4 million in new bridge funding to help it ramp up product innovation and grow its international retail and foodservice footprint, starting with Europe. The investment came from Louis Dreyfus Company, Unovis Asset Management, Big Idea Ventures and others. Good Catch sells plant-based tuna pouches and frozen entrees across the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands and Spain. Last year, it opened a state-of-the-art production facility and secured a distribution partnership with Bumble Bee Foods to scale through new distribution channels.


Sun-Maid buys Plum Organics from Campbell

As part of its ongoing strategy to pare down its portfolio and focus on core categories, Campbell Soup Co. has sold organic baby and kids food brand Plum Organics (Emeryville, California) to Sun-Maid Growers of California (Fresno, California). Plum and its portfolio of certified organic foods for children are a natural fit for Sun-Maid, according to leaders of the iconic brand, which sells raisins and other dried fruit snacks. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.


With $24M, Mission Barns looks to scale up cultivated animal fats

Hoping to be a game-changer for the meat alternative sector, Mission Barns (San Francisco, California) is ready to scale up its cultivated fat technology platform and build a pilot manufacturing plant with $24 million in series A funding. Mission Barns says it can grow pure animal fat in a lab, using just a handful of animal cells and a fraction of the natural resources required to raise livestock. It plans to use those animal fats to lend flavor, mouthfeel and meatiness to plant-based meat products, which it will develop on its own and through collaborations with plant-based partners. A number of food and agriculture investors participated in the round, including Lever VC, Gullspång Re:Food, Humboldt Fund, Green Monday Ventures, Enfini Ventures and an unnamed European meat company.


Men’s health startup Manual brings in $30M

On a mission to empower men to take better care of themselves, Manual (London, England) has collected $30 million in series A funding to develop new products and expand across Europe, Asia and Latin America. Manual markets vitamins, skin care, blood tests, and treatments for hair loss and erectile dysfunction directly to men in Europe and Brazil. U.S. investors Sonoma Brands, Waldencast and FJ Labs, and European investors Felix Capital, Cherry Ventures and the GISEV Family Office provided the funding.


Smartway secures $11.8M to help stores scale back food waste

Technology company Smartway (Nantes, France) has closed a €10 million (about $11.8 million) investment from Supernova Invest, Evolem Start, Holnest, IDIA Capital Investissement and UNEXO. Launched in 2004, Smartway currently offers AI-powered solutions to help more than 400 French retailers waste less food and increase profitability. Its technology identifies products that are nearing their expiration date, decides whether they should be discarded or donated, then prints discount labels or navigates the administrative procedures for donating. With the new funding, Smartway hopes to enhance its technology and add thousands more supermarkets across Europe by 2025.


Getir gets $300M to grow 10-minute grocery delivery in Europe

Just two months after finalizing a $128 million series B round, grocery delivery company Getir (Istanbul, Turkey) has raised $300 million more to fund its expansion into new European markets. Getir delivers 1,500 products to people in an average of 10 minutes. Currently, it operates in Turkey and London and plans to expand to Germany, France and the Netherlands. The new round, which valued Getir at $2.6 billion, was led by Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global.


Contract manufacturer INW changes ownership, adds supplement firm Bee Health

Innovations in Nutrition + Wellness (Dallas, Texas), a provider of R&D, manufacturing and packaging for wellness and nutrition brands, has been bought by a group of investors led by Cornell Capital, together with INW company leadership. Terms of the deal with its previous owner, Rosewood Private Investments, weren’t disclosed. Simultaneously, INW acquired supplement maker Bee Health (Yorkshire, England). “It’s currently one of the few scaled players in the region with capabilities across all key product formats and specialization across tablets, capsules and softgels,” INW said in a statement. Together, they’ll be able to expand manufacturing capabilities, add new product forms and expand geographically.


New investors join mushroom innovator Ecovative’s $60M round

Ecovative Design (Green Island, New York) has already found commercial success using mushroom mycelium to develop replacements for foam packaging, furniture, leather and bacon (through a spinout food company called Atlast). Now it’s got eyes on new applications for mycelium and has $60 million in funding to pursue them, with the goal of becoming a white label supplier of mushroom-based materials for a more sustainable planet. New investors including Viking Global Investors joined Senator Investment Group, AiiM Partners, Trousdale Ventures and others in the latest round.


Simple Botanics sells to DTC e-commerce company

Marking its second acquisition in the last year, e-commerce holding company Brand Holdings (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) has bought Simple Botanics (Chicago, Illinois), maker of herbal teas and organic bars. Brand Holdings, which was formed in July of last year, acquires and grows direct-to-consumer e-commerce companies focused on health and wellness, sports nutrition, beauty and functional foods. Last year, it bought sports nutrition brand Dr. Emil Nutrition. With Simple Botanics, the plan is to accelerate growth of current product lines across all retail channels and add new ones.


Pandemic pivot brings SnackMagic a $15M series A

Craft Ventures and Luxor Capital have invested in a $15 million series A for snack box startup SnackMagic (New York, New York). When the pandemic hit in March 2020, founder Shaunak Amin pivoted from his previous venture Stadium, a lunch delivery service targeting corporate offices. The company reworked its platform to support the work-from-home trend, launching a service that businesses can use to deliver curated or customized snack boxes to employees, clients or business partners. With the funding, SnackMagic plans to scale its warehouse capacity and logistics support, and extend into other kinds of gifting categories.


Tempeh brand Better Nature leverages crowdfunding for $2.2M round

Two-year-old plant-based company Better Nature (London, England) brought in £1.6 million (about $2.2 million) on the equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs to help with marketing and product development efforts. The maker of tempeh-based products that are stocked in more than 200 retailers says it plans to launch a new range of meat alternatives in June. Supporters of the round included Ascension Ventures Good Food Fund and Kale United.


Online vegan grocer TheVeganKind attracts $4.8M

Literacy Capital has led a £3.5 million (about $4.8 million) series A funding round for TheVeganKind (Glasgow, U.K.), which started as a vegan subscription delivery box service in 2013 before launching an online supermarket in 2016. It now operates a 35,000-square-foot warehouse and offers thousands of plant-based food, beauty and lifestyle products for next-day delivery in the U.K. With the new funding, the company says it’s looking to grow with new retail and consumer experiences.


Disclaimer: NCN does not warrant the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any NCN news item. Before relying on any NCN News item the information should be independently verified.

News for March 31, 2021

Bryan Gray

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

Berlin grocery delivery startup Gorillas snatches up $290M

Promising to deliver groceries and other everyday items to customers in as little as 10 minutes, Gorillas (Berlin, Germany) has taken the European market by storm in the 10 months since its founding. Now it’s raised a $290 million series B (following a $44 million series A closed in December) and has its sights set on more international growth. The delivery startup operates 40 micro fulfillment centers and employs more than 1,000 delivery riders across Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. With the new funding—from Coatue Management, DST Global, Tencent, Green Oaks, Fifth Wall, Dragoneer and Atlantic Food Labs—it’s looking to set up operations in Paris, New York City and dozens of other cities across the world.


Meatable gets $47M to grow its cultivated meat portfolio

Meatable (Delft, the Netherlands) is equipped with $47 million in fresh series A funding to continue work on its cultivated meat products. Meatable says its proprietary process, which mimics the natural process of fat and muscle growth, enables a more cost-effective and scalable solution for meat production. After finalizing its first pork showcase product last year, the startup is adding cultivated beef to its repertoire. The new funds came from a consortium of life science and food investors including Section 32, DSM Venturing, BlueYard Capital, Agronomics, Humboldt and individual investors.


Stonewall Kitchen scoops up spice supplier Urban Accents

Specialty food retailer Stonewall Kitchen (York, Maine) has acquired Urban Accents (Chicago, Illinois). Urban Accents sells more than 150 seasonings and sauces in stores including Whole Foods, Macy’s and Safeway. Stonewall Kitchen, which is owned by private equity firm Audax, owns brands including Tillen Farms, Vermont Village and Napa Valley Naturals, as well as retail stores and cooking schools. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.


Pro athletes, investors back coffee-infused energy bars with $2.5M

Quantum Energy Squares (Los Angeles, California) uses plant-based protein, caffeine from organic green coffee and MCT oil from coconuts to craft a wholesome, nutritious energy bar with athlete appeal. Now, the startup has $2.5 million in funding to help it ramp up brand awareness through marketing, sampling and events. Launched in 2019, Quantum counts tennis stars Sloane Stephens, Mike Bryan and Sam Querrey, and soccer MVP Jozy Altidore among its investors. Following national launches in Whole Foods Market and Sprouts Farmers Market, the startup is focused on continuing to grow in the natural channel and branching out into the sports and convenience channels.


Ag tech startup Amfora gets $6M to pump up the protein in crops

Leaps by Bayer and Spruce Capital Partners invested $6 million in a series B for Amfora (San Francisco, California), a startup that’s using gene-editing techniques to increase the protein density of crops, starting with soy. The proceeds from the financing will also support Amfora’s development of other crops, such as rice and wheat, with improved nutritional profiles. “Our protein-rich crops will enable manufacturers of plant-based meat, dairy and seafood to meet the growing demand for their products at lower costs while allowing them to take meaningful steps to address the climate crisis,” CEO Lloyd Kunimoto said.


Vegan chicken maker takes aim at factory farming with $3.4M seed round

VFC Foods (York, England) launched in December, but the startup is already working on a second iteration of its vegan fried chicken and plans to use €2.5 million (about $3.4 million) in new seed funding to scale up production and grow its brand. VFC sells a line of fried chicken alternatives—made from wheat protein, sesame seeds, corn flakes and other plant-based ingredients—in the U.K. and Spain. With the ultimate goal of wiping out factory farming, it’s focused on competing directly with chicken on price, taste and convenience. The seed funding came from plant-based investors Veg Capital and Johnson Resolutions, as well as the company’s senior leadership team.


Abby’s Better Nut Butters net $1M in seed round

Women-owned and family operated nut butter brand Abby’s Better (Charlotte, North Carolina) has new investors—including NBA star Kevin Love and model Kate Bock—and $1 million in new funding to reach new customers. Abby’s makes clean-label, peanut-free and paleo-friendly nut butters in unique flavors such as French toast pecan and strawberry cashew. With the seed funding, it plans to invest in building brand awareness and scaling its national retail distribution, though it’s seen great success with online sales over the last year.


Danone invests in functional wellness shots

Danone Manifesto Ventures and several high-profile investors have equipped Moju (London, England) with €2.5 million (about $3.4 million) to accelerate the growth of its functional wellness shots. Formulated without sugar or artificial ingredients, Moju’s product line taps into the functional benefits of plant ingredients such as ginger root, turmeric, lemon and seaweed. Its offerings come in individual and multi-shot bottles, including a recently launched prebiotic beverage, that sell in retail stores and direct-to-consumer online.


Whitebridge adds pet supplement brand

Whitebridge Pet Brands (St. Louis, Missouri) has acquired Grizzly Pet Products (Woodinville, Washington), maker of Wild Alaskan fish oil supplements for cats and dogs. Whitebridge was founded in 2015 as the result of a merger between pet treat manufacturer Cloud Star and Petropics, maker of Tiki Cat and Tiki Dog. Since then, it’s acquired a handful of other pet brands including Dogswell and Pet Botanics. Grizzly Pet Products markets its supplements in pet specialty channels in North America and Europe.


NY startup nabs $15.4M for instant groceries

Groceries delivered in 15 minutes or less: That’s the premise of Fridge No More (Brooklyn, New York), the latest food delivery startup to get funded. A $15.4 million series A from Insight Partners and Altair Capital will fund its expansion across New York City and the East Coast. Fridge No More offers more than 2,000 SKUs through its app-based platform. Orders are picked at its warehouses then delivered by employees on bikes or scooters. Since fulfilling its first order in October, the startup says it now averages 200 orders per day.


Canadian vegan meal kit maker Vegano lifts off with $4.2M

Just a few months after officially launching, new plant-based meal kit delivery company Vegano (Vancouver, British Columbia) has closed a $4.2 million series A. The startup sources fresh ingredients from local suppliers and delivers them to customers weekly. Next on the agenda for Vegano is accelerating product development, boosting marketing efforts, preparing for the upcoming launch of its vegan marketplace, and expanding its services to Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and Los Angeles, California, later this year.


Keto dog food startup closes $2M seed round

Dog food startup KetoNatural Pet Foods (Salt Lake City, Utah) has raised $2 million in seed financing led by Corazon Capital. Founded on the premise that carbohydrates are the root cause of many pets’ health problems, KetoNatural Pet Foods created a high-protein, low-carbohydrate dry food with a nutritional profile that’s similar to fresh or raw food but offers the convenience and price point of kibble. Much of the $2 million investment will go toward marketing, expanding the product line, hiring staff and new scientific work.


Food safety, traceability take center stage in iFoodDS’s $15M series A

iFoodDecisionSciences Inc. (Seattle, Washington) and its fresh food supply chain platform have garnered $15 million in series A funding led by Insight Partners. Next steps for the 8-year-old company are to focus on product innovation and expand into new markets and categories. iFoodDS offers a cloud-based platform to provide growers, processors, distributors and retailers with real-time insights that improve the safety, traceability and quality management of the fresh food supply chain.


Eat Just looks to crack the Canadian market with $200M

Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, has led a $200 million funding round for Eat Just (San Francisco, California), bringing the plant-based food company’s total funding to more than $650 million since 2011. Its first cultured chicken product was approved by regulators in Singapore last year, and it now plans to seek approval in other markets. The funding, which also comes from Charlesbank Capital Partners and Vulcan Capital, will help Eat Just scale its manufacturing operations and work to lower the cost of cultured meat production. Meanwhile, it’s also announced plans to take its pourable Just Egg product to hundreds of grocery stores and foodservice providers in Canada.


Grocery e-commerce firm looks to enter new markets with $21M financing (Tel Aviv, Israel), formerly known as Self Point, positions itself as an alternative to Instacart, offering end-to-end e-commerce solutions to help retailers thrive in an increasingly digital market. The company announced it closed $21 million in extended series A funding led by Meitav Dash and Mizrahi Tefahot, with support from Kli Capital and individual investors. With the new capital, it plans to build out its digital tools, accelerate growth in North America and enter new markets in Latin America and Europe.


Disclaimer: NCN does not warrant the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any NCN news item. Before relying on any NCN News item the information should be independently verified.

News for March 17, 2021

Bryan Gray

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

WeFarm brings in $11M to link up small-scale farmers

As an extension of its $13 million series A in 2019, WeFarm (London, England) has closed another $11 million tranche from Octopus Ventures, True Ventures, Rabo Frontier Ventures, LocalGlobe, June Fund and AgFunder. Founded in 2015, WeFarm has built a social network to enable small independent farmers in the developing world to exchange ideas or advice, sell or trade equipment, and network with others. While it has a website, most users access the network through an SMS interface. The new investment will fund WeFarm’s move to an app-based platform that will allow it to expand to more countries and reach more farmers.



PanTheryx adds probiotic maker TruBiotics

In alignment with its strategy to accelerate growth in the probiotics and microbiome category, PanTheryx (Phoenix, Arizona) has acquired the TruBiotics probiotic brand from Bayer HealthCare. PanTheryx is a leader in colostrum-based nutrition for human and animal health. With TruBiotics, it adds a line of products made with a proprietary blend of two probiotic strains to support digestive and immune health. The company plans to continue offering TruBiotics products through retail and e-commerce channels and anticipates strong growth in the U.S. and in other major international markets.



Functional beverages draw $2.7M in seed funding for Cloud Water

Two-year-old Cloud Water Brands (New York, New York) announced a $2.7 million seed round that will allow the functional beverage startup to grow its product lines in both retail and direct-to-consumer. Currently, its portfolio includes CBD sparkling waters and a newly launched line of drinks designed to support immune health with vitamin D and zinc. A number of investors participated in the round, including The Lockton Co., former Glaceau board member Bruce Nierenberg, and NHL stars Adam Fox and Scott Mellanby.




Natural indigo maker takes on the denim industry with $9M series B

Stony Creek Colors (Springfield, Tennessee) announced the first closing of its series B funding round, which it expects to total more than $9 million. With the new funding, the indigo supplier can embark on a geographical expansion of its crops and scale its operations. While traditional synthetic indigo used in denim relies on petroleum-based processes that leave behind toxic residue, Stony Creek’s plant-based indigo is free from these toxins and creates a valuable rotation opportunity for farmers. Lewis and Clark AgriFood led the round, which also included Innova Ag Innovation Fund, iSelect, Green Spark Capital and Next Wave Impact.



Pet supplements firm Food Science Corp. bought by PE firm

Food Science Corp. (Williston, Vermont), the R&D engine behind pet treat and supplement brands VetriScience Laboratories, Pet Naturals and DaVinci Laboratories, has sold to private equity firm Wind Point Partners (Chicago, Illinois). The family-owned company also formulates and manufactures private label and custom nutritional supplements. Wind Point is a longtime investor in the pet industry, with current investments in Petmate and Targeted PetCare. In a statement, Managing Director Paul Peterson said Food Science is “well-positioned to capitalize on the acceleration of e-commerce and growth in human and pet nutritional supplements.”


Porter Road bags $10M for pasture-raised meat delivery

On a mission to take meat production in a more sustainable direction, Porter Road (Nashville, Tennessee) has garnered a $10 million investment to grow its whole-animal butchery business. The company sources pasture-raised meat from local farmers, which it hand cuts in its facility and ships to customers and restaurants across the country. In line with its sustainable, whole-animal philosophy, Porter Road is also expanding its product line to include cooking tallows and fats. The funding, which came from L37 Ventures and a number of other venture and angel investors, will help ready its new processing facility in Kentucky.


Beauty brand incubator buys clean fragrance maker Phlur

The Center (Los Angeles, California), a beauty brand incubator and investor started by HatchBeauty Brands cofounder Ben Bennett, has a new portfolio company in Phlur (Austin, Texas). The digital-first brand sells cruelty-free, sustainably sourced fragrances and body care products on its website and in select retail stores. It joins Naturium and Make Beauty as part of The Center’s portfolio. Plans for Phlur include nurturing the direct-to-consumer business, broadening relationships with retail partners and launching new products.


Fake meat maker Planted looks beyond central Europe with $18M series A

Alternative meats continue to rake in investor cash. Among the latest to get funded is Planted (Zurich, Switzerland), which raised an $18 million series A to grow distribution of its vegetarian chicken alternatives and develop new products. Planted uses pea protein, pea fiber and other plant-based ingredients to mimic the texture of chicken. It sells cutlet and pulled-style faux meats in more than 3,000 retail stores across Switzerland, Germany and Austria, and also works with food service partners. Vorwerk Ventures and Blue Horizon Ventures co-led the round, with other investors also joining in.


Biota addition boosts Novozymes’ probiotic R&D

Biotech firm Novozymes (Copenhagen, Denmark) has acquired the R&D team and data science platform of industrial genomics company Biota (San Diego, California). As it pursues growth in probiotic development, Novozymes says the acquisition will allow it to discover new microbes and new applications for microbes that benefit human and animal health, as well as sustainability.


Ag investors bet $17M that insect pheromones can ward off pests

BioPhero (Copenhagen, Denmark), a startup spun out of the Technical University of Denmark, has completed a $17 million series A to fund the manufacturing of its first commercial product. With the goal of reducing farmers’ reliance on potentially harmful chemical pesticides, BioPhero developed a natural way to deter pests from crops. Using fermentation technology, the company produces insect pheromones which, when sprayed on crops, inhibits pests’ ability to reproduce. Life science investor DCVC Bio led the round, while FMC Ventures, Syngenta Ventures and Novo Holdings also participated.


Vegan pizza maker locks in $1.5M to grow retail presence

After pivoting its focus from restaurants to retailers and e-commerce during the pandemic, plant-based food brand Blackbird Foods (Long Island City, New York) has closed a $1.5 million seed funding round to double down on that approach. It makes a line of seitan products and frozen vegan pizzas using Violife’s plant-based cheese. This year, it’s looking to ramp up its retail presence, with Whole Foods and Harmons joining its distribution lineup. Alt-protein venture fund Lever VC led the seed round, and Sustainable Food Ventures joined in.


Drinkable oat brand scoops up $2M

Oats Overnight (Tempe, Arizona) has $2 million in capital to support R&D efforts and distribution growth. The brand makes on-the-go breakfast packets that contain oats, protein (either whey or pea) and other plant ingredients such as dates, chia seeds, hemp seeds and monk fruit. Users combine them with milk or a milk alternative, leave the concoction in the fridge overnight and then have a high-protein, on-the-go breakfast ready in the morning. The seed funding came from Schnitzel Capital and individual investors.


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