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Nutriati raises $12.7 million Series C round
Manna Tree Partners was the anchor investor in a $12.7 million Series C funding round in food technology company Nutriati (Richmond, Virginia). Open Prairie, an existing investor through the Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund, also participated. Nutriati uses proprietary processing technology to make protein, flour and oil ingredients from pulses like beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas. Ingredient applications include plant-based meats, dairy alternatives and gluten-free pasta, pizza and bread. Nutriati was a presenting company at the NCN Ingredients & Technology Investor Meeting in 2018. Manna Tree has made two previous investments: Vital Farms pasture-raised eggs and MycoTechnology which makes bitter blockers from mushroom extract, and plant-based protein using a novel mushroom fermentation process. ycoTechnology is also a former NCN presenting company.
PepsiCo to acquire BFY Brands
PepsiCo Inc. (Purchase, New York) is expanding its healthier snacks portfolio by acquiring BFY Brands. BFY makes PopCorners better-for-you popped corn snacks, Flourish Veggie Crisps, and Flex Protein Crisps with soybean and cassava. PopCorners has a strong track record in the club and grocery segments in the United States and Canada and a presence in more than 40 countries, according to a news release. BFY is also a contract manufacturer and employs approximately 750 people primarily at its manufacturing facilities in Middletown and Liberty, New York. BFY Brands will report to PepsiCo's Frito-Lay North America division.
Molson Coors partners with L.A. Libations
Molson Coors (Denver, Colorado) has announced a multi-year partnership and significant minority equity investment in beverage incubator L.A. Libations (El Segundo, California). Molson Coors will have two seats on the L.A. Libations board. The two companies have worked together over the past year as L.A. Libations helped Molson Coors expand the Clearly Kombucha brand it acquired in June 2018. L.A. Libations builds brands from scratch and provides brand building and retail expertise to grow existing brands. Molson Coors will have the option to purchase in full those brands created by L.A. Libations. For brands it does not purchase outright, Molson Coors will hold a financial stake through L.A. Libations' ownership. L.A. Libations has worked with Zico Coconut Water, Core Water and Body Armor and created brands such as Gloe and Arriba Chelada.
Stonyfield Farm’s Gary Hirshberg joins Hälsa “oatgurt”
Gary Hirshberg, co-founder and former CEO and chairman of yogurt producer Stonyfield Organic, has become an investor and board member of Hälsa Foods (Santa Monica, California), which makes dairy-free yogurt from whole grain oats. “Hälsa has done something other plant-based brands have not been able to do by creating a completely clean, additive-free process and label with minimal ingredients and no added sugar,” Hirshberg said. Andrew Abraham, founder and CEO of Orgain, also joins Hälsa as a new investor. Danone Manifesto Ventures, which had invested in an earlier seed round, also participated.
Moodwork improves quality of life at the office
Moodwork (Paris, France), a startup focused on improving wellbeing in the workplace, completed in November a round of €2 million ($2.2 million on Nov. 19) led by Newfund, according to EU Startups.com. Serving both businesses and employees, Moodwork offers desktop and mobile tools to measure quality of work life. It follows up with personalized content, including input from psychologists and coaches, video tutorials and webinars, to improve any aspects of office life that need improving. Moodwork also helps companies prevent psychosocial risks in the workplace.
Purple Carrot announces Garden Incubator
Plant-based meal kit company Purple Carrot (Needham, Massachusetts) has formed The Garden Incubator for early stage plant-based companies looking to scale. In addition to providing services to entrepreneurs, selected companies will qualify for up to $250,000 in seed funding via Unovis Partners’ New Crop Capital fund. "The plant-based space is in the midst of a powerful transformation with a range of early-stage brands that are struggling for investment dollars, product-market fit, and distribution,” said Purple Carrot founder and CEO Andy Levitt. “Our goal is to accelerate the positive trajectory of qualifying brands… in the U.S. and beyond."
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