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China invests in plastic-busting Sprizzi drinks dispenser
Sprizzi Drink-Co. (Colton, California), maker of an eco-friendly beverage dispenser, announced a $100 million investment initiative by the government of Rugao, China. The investment over five years includes a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing warehouse, executive office space in Rugao, tax breaks, letters of credit, loans and government cash grants. Sprizzi’s dispenser makes still and sparkling beverages using a CO2 canister and recyclable flavor cartridges.
Noom raises $58 million for wellness programs
Wellness tech startup Noom (New York, New York) has completed a $58 million financing led by Sequoia Capital. Noom's behavioral change programs use mobile technology to help consumers and companies create healthier habits and reduce the risk of chronic health problems. Users complete a questionnaire, download the Noom app, and are paired with a health coach and customized content. “Noom is by far one of the fastest growing companies that we are in business with globally,” said Michael Abramson, partner at Sequoia and Noom board member.
Shiok raises seed round for cell-based seafood
Shiok Meats (Singapore) recently completed a $4.6 million seed round to cultivate clean meat starting with cell-based shrimp dumplings. Investors included Y Combinator and the CEO of Monde Nissin, the owner of Quorn, according to Forbes. Shiok was co-founded by a stem cell scientist and a developmental biologist. Shiok, which means “fantastic” in Singapore English, is set on disrupting the $40 billion shrimp market.
Hain Celestial divests WestSoy and Hain Pure Protein
The Hain Celestial Group Inc. (Lake Success, New York) has divested its WestSoy tofu, seitan and tempeh business to Keystone Natural Holdings, a portfolio company of Keystone Capital focused on plant-based food. Hain Celestial is keeping ownership of the WestSoy beverage business. Terms were not disclosed, but Hain Celestial's President and CEO Mark L. Schiller noted the divestiture was in line with Hain’s strategic plan to streamline its brand portfolio for sustainable growth and shareholder value. Hain Celestial also announced it is selling its equity interest in Hain Pure Protein Corporation, which includes the FreeBird and Empire Kosher poultry businesses, to Aterian Investment Partners III LP for $80 million. Hain Celestial’s net sales decreased 5% to $599.8 million in the third quarter ending March 31 compared to the prior year period.
Butternut Box raises £15 million for customized dog food
Butternut Box in the United Kingdom has raised £15 million ($19.4 million on April 29) led by Five Seasons Ventures and White Star Capital, according to TechEU.com. Launched in 2016, Butternut Box prepares and delivers meals for dogs tailored according to breed, age, health, etc. Meals are made with 60 percent meat and 40 percent vegetables, lentils and minerals.
Stryve Biltong raises $16.5 million in Series B funding
Stryve Biltong (Plano, Texas) announced in April a $16.5 million Series B investment for its better-for-you dried meat snacks led by Meaningful Partners, Pendyne Capital and Murano Group. Stryve Biltong said it would be investing in marketing, talent and operations. In 2018, Stryve acquired the biltong makers Braaitime LLC and Biltong USA, making Stryve the sole owner of all USDA-approved biltong facilities in the United States, the company said.
Acquisition positions Canopy Growth for U.S. entry
Canopy Growth Corporation (Smith Falls, Ontario, Canada) has been granted the right to acquire the vertically integrated cannabis company Acreage
Holdings Inc. (New York, New York), with a requirement to do so if cannabis production and sale becomes federally legal in the United States. The transaction is valued at approximately $3.4 billion in cash and stock. Canada has been the focus of the cannabis business where it is legal nationwide, but the U.S. market is already estimated to be bigger. “Our right to acquire Acreage secures our entrance strategy into the United States as soon as a federally permissible pathway exists,” said Bruce Linton, chairman and co-CEO of Canopy Growth. In fiscal 2018, Acreage reported revenue of $21.1 million and deployed over $200 million of capital in strategic transactions.
Aurora Cannabis acquires Hempco in C$63 million deal
Aurora Cannabis Inc. (Edmonton, Canada) is acquiring the interest in Hempco Food and Fiber that it doesn’t already own in exchange for Aurora shares, reflecting a valuation of approximately CA$63.4 million (US$47.2 million on April 16). Hempco provides hemp-based foods, fiber and supplements, including the Planet Hemp and Praise brands. Hempco also provides Aurora with low-cost, high-volume access to raw hemp for the extraction of cannabidiol. The global market for CBD wellness is anticipated to grow to $22 billion by 2022, according to Brightfield Group research cited by Aurora.
ACG invests again in Clio yogurt bars
Clio LLC (Roselle, New Jersey) maker of chocolate-covered Greek yogurt bars, has raised $5 million, according to an SEC filing in April. Alliance Consumer Growth was a repeat investor, having previously invested in Clio in 2017, Nosh.com reported. Clio yogurt bars are positioned as a guilt-free power snack with 8 grams of protein plus probiotics.
Seed round for newly launched Journey Meditation
Journey Meditation (New York, New York) has launched Journey LIVE, a group meditation app featuring live instruction. Journey LIVE’s core premise is that community and human connection enhance meditation. Journey also announced a $2.4 million seed round led by the early stage venture capital firm Canaan. Journey LIVE members can join 15-minute live streaming group meditation videos for $14.95 per month.
Gluten-free Cali’flour attracts investment from brand accelerator
Sunrise Strategic Partners (Boulder, Colorado), an accelerator for emerging brands co-founded by nutrition industry veteran Steve Hughes and Trilantic North America, announced an investment in Cali’flour Foods. Cali’Flour Foods makes low-carb, gluten-free pizza crusts, flatbreads, crackers and pasta using fresh cauliflower as a main ingredient. This is the eleventh investment for Sunrise since it launched in 2016.
Emil Capital invests in Milk + Honey spa chain
Emil Capital Partners led a strategic investment in Milk + Honey, an Austin, Texas-based spa business that uses only natural and organic products. Keller Capital also invested. Funding will be used to expand Milk + Honey into new regions and growing the spa’s organic personal care product line. Founded in 2006, Milk + Honey spas focus on healing, wellness and relaxation.
Canned water startup raises funds for Liquid Death
Liquid Death (Los Angeles, California), a canned water startup, has reportedly raised $1.6 million, with Science Inc. leading the round. With labeling inspired by a heavy metal and punk ethos, the company’s brand strategy is to make marketing water “just as funny and stupid and entertaining as the unhealthy brands across energy drinks, soda and beer,” according to the Liquid Death website. The company promotes aluminum cans as the most sustainable beverage containers. Its water is sourced in Austria and processed using filtration and heat pasteurization, according to the company.
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