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Arizona partners with Dixie Brands on cannabis portfolio
Cannabis products company Dixie Brands Inc. (Denver, Colorado) and iced tea brand Arizona Beverages (Woodbury, New York) are partnering to develop cannabis-infused products with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Through its affiliated entity, Herbal Enterprises LLC, Arizona will be in charge of brand and product design, and Dixie Brands will be responsible for manufacturing and distributing the new portfolio, which will kick off with gummies and vape pens. “The cannabis market is an important emerging category, and we've maintained our independence as a private business to be positioned to lead and seize generation-defining opportunities exactly like this one,” said Don Vultaggio, chairman of Arizona Beverages.
Diageo buys Seedlip non-alcoholic spirits
Multinational distillery Diageo (London, United Kingdom) has acquired a significant majority shareholding in Seedlip, a non-alcoholic spirits brand. Based on a farm in Chiltern Hills, England, Seedlip beverages are distilled from herbs, spices, peels and barks and designed to provide a sophisticated alternative to the sweet and fruity options typically available to non-drinkers. Seedlip got a minority investment in 2016 from the Diageo-backed accelerator program Distill Ventures and has grown from a kitchen table business to distribution in over 7,500 bars, hotels, restaurants and retailers in 25 countries.
Fasting app Zero raises $2.8 million
Zero (San Francisco, California), an app for people who want to fast, has raised $2.8 million from True Ventures and Trinity Ventures, bringing total seed funding to $4 million. Users can choose a popular fasting regimen or customize a fast of up to five days. The app also provides articles, videos and podcasts. Zero’s CEO Mike Maser is a former founder of Fitstar, which was acquired by Fitbit in 2016. “There’s…a lot of headline chatter around fasting that can be confusing and not necessarily based on the latest science—we’ll aim to bring clarity to the noise,” Maser wrote in a recent blog post.
Biome Makers closes $4 million round for sustainable agriculture
Biome Makers (Sacramento, California and Valladolid, Spain) has closed a $4 million financing led by Seaya Ventures and JME ventures. Founded in Silicon Valley, Biome Makers has proprietary technology based on DNA sequencing, data analytics and AI for evaluating soil bioactivity and paving the way for agricultural improvements in pursuit of more sustainable food production and bigger yields. “Due to modern agricultural practices, we have lost nearly one-third of fertile soil per capita in the last 40 years globally and [Biome Makers] have discovered a way to reverse this trend,” said Aris Xenofontos of Seaya Ventures.
Investors buy stake in BioDue of Italy
Investors Armonia and Fidim have agreed to buy a 48% stake in BioDue (Florence, Italy), a contract and branded manufacturer of food supplements, cosmetics and medical devices, for €35.2 million ($39.5 on Aug. 8), according to Pitchbook. Publicly traded BioDue announced revenues of €21.55 million ($24.5 on July 1) in the first half of 2019.
S CAP makes natural food and beverage investments
S CAP is funding Wild Friends Foods (Portland, Oregon), a natural nut and seed butter company, and Cusa Tea, a premium instant tea company. The new deals follow S CAP’s investments in Bright Greens and Libre Naturals in the spring. Wild Friends makes nut butters with superfoods like chia, collagen and flax. The natural nut and seed market is part of the $4 billion nut butter category and growing more than 20% per year, according to S CAP General Partner Andrew Towle.
Stonewall Kitchen acquired by private equity firm
Audax Private Equity has acquired a controlling interest in Stonewall Kitchen (York, Maine) from Centre Partners. Founded in 1991, Stonewall Kitchen’s specialty food brands include Tillen Farms pickled vegetables and cocktail cherries, Napa Valley Naturals olive oils and vinegars, Montebello artisan organic pasta, and Legal Sea Foods sauces and condiments. Stonewall Kitchen will be led by its existing management. Stonewall has more than 8,500 wholesale accounts, a catalog and online division, a cooking school and café, and nine retail stores.
Insect protein manufacturer raises Series A round
Insect protein company Nutrition Technologies (Senai, Malaysia) has raised an $8.5 million Series A round led by Openspace Ventures and Seeds Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore. Founded in 2014, Nutrition Technologies has a nutrient-recycling process that uses black soldier fly larvae to recover nutrients from vegetable and grain by-products. Products are aimed at the aquaculture and animal feed industries.
Natur International acquires Temple Turmeric
Natur International Corp. (Amsterdam, Netherlands), a producer of natural and organic plant-based foods and beverages including cannabinoid (CBD) products, has acquired Temple Turmeric Inc. (Brooklyn, New York) from Dunn’s River Brands. Founded in 2009, Temple Turmeric makes a line of ready-to-drink functional shots and tonics with turmeric, ginger, matcha, yerba mate and other herbs and spices. Natur International will benefit from Temple’s presence in New York and Los Angeles, and will launch selected products in Europe and China.
Encore sells ThunderWorks to Ceva Santé Animale
Encore Consumer Capital has sold ThunderWorks (Durham, North Carolina) to veterinary pharmaceutical company Ceva Santé Animale SA of France. ThunderWorks makes natural treatments for calming pets, notably ThunderShirt dog and cat vests that apply gentle pressure to reduce anxiety. The company also makes leashes that stop dogs from pulling, and ThunderEase calming pheromones.
Geyser Brands acquires Solace hemp pet products
The Toronto Stock Exchange has conditionally approved Geyser Brands Inc.’s (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) acquisition of Solace Management Group Inc. (Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada). Solace's brands include the Apawthecary Pets line of natural hemp-based pet treats, salves and oral drops that are distributed in 300 stores and 40 veterinary clinics. Geyer Brands develops hemp and CBD products for healthy lifestyle brands using a proprietary nanofusion delivery system that increases the bioavailability of active ingredients. The company has cultivation and processing licenses from Health Canada.
Ingredion boosts investment in plant-based proteins
Ingredion (Westchester, Illinois) is increasing its investment in plant-based proteins to $185 million from $140 million by fourth quarter 2020 and expanding its joint venture with Verdient Foods Inc. (Vanscoy, Saskatchewan, Canada). Funds will be used to construct a new manufacturing facility that will produce specialty pulse-based protein ingredients for the food and beverage market. The joint venture combines Ingredion’s expertise in product formulation with Verdient’s high-quality, Canadian-sourced pulses.
Wellness tech startup secures pre-seed funding
WellSet (Los Angeles, California), a health and wellness booking platform connecting users with peer-reviewed practitioners, has announced pre-seed funding led by private equity and tech angel investors. Founded in 2018, WellSet says it has enrolled more than 3,000 practitioners in 30 specialties like acupuncture, massage therapy, craniosacral therapy, nutrition and holistic coaching.
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