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Kite Hill (Hayward, California), a maker of dairy alternatives made with nut milk, announced a $40 million capital round led by 301 INC, General Mills’ venture unit, with CAVU Venture Partners participating. Kite Hill makes almond milk yogurts and drinks, vegan ricotta and cream cheese, and ravioli. “Kite Hill continues to set itself apart in what is now a mainstream demand for plant-based nutrition,” said John Haugen, founder and managing director of 301 INC. "We see incredible untapped potential in the market for the brand to expand its consumer base and grow.” Funds will be used to expand factory capacity and for marketing and product development. Kite Hill was co-founded by two professional chefs and Stanford University biochemistry professor Patrick Brown, who founded Impossible Foods. Kite Hill has reportedly raised a total of $65.5 million over three rounds.
DS Services, a subsidiary of Cott Corporation (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), has acquired The Mountain Valley Spring Company (Hot Springs, Arkansas) for $78.5 million in cash from Great Range Capital. First bottled in 1871, Mountain Valley is a brand of spring and sparkling water, and water for home and office distribution. Mountain Valley has grown revenue from approximately $39 million in 2015 to more than $50 million in estimated sales for 2018, with high-single-digit growth expectations for 2019. Mountain Valley was the fastest growing premium water brand in natural channel in 2017, according to according
to SPINS data cited in a presentation by Cott, a publicly traded company operating in water, coffee, tea and foodservice. DS Services is a billion-dollar-plus business that delivers bottled water nationally under Sparkletts, Hinckley Springs, Kentwood Springs and other water brands.
The international meal kit company HelloFresh (Berlin, Germany) has agreed to acquire Chefs Plate Inc. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), creating a market leader in Canada’s meal kit market with targeted revenues of about CA$200 million ($153.2 million on Oct. 19), according to HelloFresh Canada. The purchase price was not disclosed, but The Globe and Mail of Toronto reported it was believed to be between CA$50 million and CA$100 million ($38 million and $76.6 million on Oct. 19) . Chefs Plate was founded in 2014 and generated more than CA$50 million in annualized revenues last year, the article said. HelloFresh was founded in 2011 and went public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in November 2017. In August 2018 it announced Q2 revenues of €319.7 million ($364.6 million), up 39 percent year over year.
SafeTraces Inc. (Pleasanton, California) has closed $10 million in equity financing led by S2G Ventures and Bunge Ventures, the venture capital arm of Bunge Limited. Other participants included UL Ventures and Spero Ventures. SafeTraces uses FDA approved, food-grade DNA technology to provide on-food traceability and sanitation verification. The invisible, edible, flavorless digital DNA barcodes are applied directly on to food, enabling producers, processors and distributors to trace products, not just packaging. The tracers can be used for fresh produce, protein, processed foods, and liquid and dry foods.
Myro, a maker of natural deodorant sold online, is getting a $2 million investment from Obvious Ventures, Lakehouse Ventures and Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator. Eric Ryan, co-founder of Olly supplements and Method household cleaners, also participated. Myro deodorants contain barley powder but no aluminum, parabens or baking soda. Shoppers select a washable, refillable deodorant case to save on plastic and can choose from several natural fragrances with names like Big Dipper, Chill Wave, and Pillow Talk.
Talis Capital announced a $20 million seed funding round in Oh My Green (San Francisco, California), a concierge-style provider of healthy food and wellness services for corporate customers. Other participants in the round included Y Combinator, Initialized Capital, Powerplant Ventures, Backed VC, ZhenFund and Stanford-StartX Fund. Oh My Green delivers nutritious snacks, meals, drinks and wellness practices to the workplace through micro-kitchens, micro-markets, catering, café management, subscription boxes, etc. Its platform incorporates artificial intelligence to enhance supply chain management and improve personalization. Oh My Green prioritizes organic, non-GMO and locally sourced products.
Kettle & Fire, a shelf-stable bone broth company, has received an additional $8 million after announcing a previous $8 million round of funding in August, according to an article on Project Nosh. The latest funding was led by repeat investor CAVU Venture Partners with Rocana Ventures participating. CAVU will still own less than fifty percent of the company, Nosh.com reported.
Independent bakery Hearthside Food Solutions (Downers Grove, Illinois) is to acquire Greencore USA, a contract manufacturer of frozen packaging and a producer of refrigerated, fresh-made convenience foods like sandwiches, entrees, and salad kits. The purchase price is $1.08 million on a cash and debt-free basis. The acquisition expands and diversifies Hearthside’s network to 38 production facilities in the United States and Europe. Greencore USA had 2017 revenues of $1.4 billion and is a U.S. unit of Greencore Group plc, an Ireland-based public company. Hearthside was acquired in May 2018 by Charlesbank Capital Partners and Partners Group.
New Water Capital has made a growth investment in The Perfect Bite Co. (Los Angeles, California), an R&D and ideation firm for the frozen food industry. Founded in 2006, The Perfect Bite develops innovative recipes and products for national grocery and club brands, as well as airlines and hospitality companies. President and CEO Teri Valentine built the company based on the philosophy that food should be made from scratch using high-quality ingredients. In March 2018, New Water invested in Pegasus Foods, a contract manufacturer of frozen appetizers and snacks, and in April 2017 acquired Custom Made Meals, a manufacturer of fresh, oven-ready entrees and appetizers.
Beyond Meat has hired J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse for an initial public offering, according to a report by CNBC. The IPO would be the first public stock offering for a company making vegetarian meat alternatives. Citing Euromonitor data, CNBC said the nearly $30 billion processed meat industry last year grew by 2 percent, while the $1.4 billion meat alternatives industry grew by 22 percent. Beyond Meat has sold 25 million plant-based Beyond Burgers since 2016, according to the company.
Hilton Food Group plc (Huntingdon, United Kingdom), a food packing business that supplies major food retailers in Europe and Australia, has agreed to purchase a 50 percent shareholding in Dalco Food BV (Oss, Netherlands), a vegetarian product manufacturer. The agreement enables Hilton to significantly expand its offerings in the fast-growing vegetarian market and includes an option for the remaining 50 percent of Dalco’s shares in 2024. Hilton had sales of £1.4 billion in 2017 ($1.9 billion on Dec. 29) and employs around 4,300 people. Dalco was founded in 1975.
Plant-based protein company Equinom (Kibbutz Givat Brenner, Israel) has raised $4 million from vegetable protein pioneer Roquette and Fortissimo Capital, according to the Israeli business daily Globes. Equinom was founded in 2012 by Gil Shalev, an expert in plant genomics and breeding. While most seed companies breed for a narrow number of traits, Equinom says it has the ability to target multiple traits simultaneously. The company is focusing on six legume crops, including pea, chickpea and mung bean, breeding them to have 50 percent more protein than commercial varieties and better functionality. The company’s goal is to transform the economics of specialty crops and contribute to creating alternative proteins that appeal to the masses.
Döhler Group (Darmstadt, Germany) has acquired a majority stake in Nutrafood Srl (Basiliano, Italy), complementing Döhler’s plant-based food and beverages portfolio. Nutrafood’s roots are in almond processing and today it makes nut spreads, non-dairy milks like almond and coconut, and hypoallergenic foods. Dohler is a global producer of natural ingredients and integrated solutions for the food and beverage industry. The strategic partnership is “a milestone on the path towards a leading position in the plant-based nutrition segment,” Dohler said.
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Nutrition Capital Network is accepting applications for the remaining NCN Investor Meetings in 2018 from companies interested in presenting business plans to an audience of qualified investors. Interested investors are also invited to register to attend the events.
At Investor Meeting X, 14-18 companies working in nutritional ingredients, science and technology will present their business plans to investors. The SupplySide West event is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 7 in the South Pacific Ballroom E at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The NCN XXIII: Fall Investor Meeting will feature 20-25 nutrition and health & wellness companies presenting their business plans. The event is scheduled for Nov. 27-28 at the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio, San Franciso, California.