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Laird Superfood secures $32 million and WeWork partnership
Laird Superfood (Sisters, Oregon) has secured $32 million in a private funding round that included WeWork, the shared workspace company. This round will support product development, acquisitions and headquarters expansion. Laird Superfood and WeWork will also launch a partnership to make Laird foods available to WeWork members and employees. Laird Superfood was co-founded in 2015 by big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton who parlayed his own dietary regimen into a superfood brand for the masses. Laird’s product line includes vegan superfood creamers, hydration drink powders and Performance Mushroom beverage boosters.
Danone participates in Series C round for Indian yogurt brand
Premium yogurt maker Epigamia (Mumbai, India) raised 1.82 billion rupees (US$25.6 million on Jan. 16) in a Series C round, with Verlinvest and Danone Manifesto Ventures participating, according to Epigamia’s press release. Venture debt of around $1.7 million from InnoVen Capital was an additional part of the raise. Epigamia makes lactose-free Artisanal Curd, Greek-style yogurt and yogurt smoothies. Parent company Drums Food International was founded in 2008 by Rohan Mirchandani, an investment banker and Wharton graduate. Verlinvest first invested in Drums Food in 2016 alongside DSG Consumer Partners, Verlinvest’s Indian venture capital partner. Interestingly, the investment in Epigamia comes a year after Danone announced its exit from the dairy products business in India “to allow for accelerated investments and a sharper focus on growing its nutrition portfolio.”
TemperPack raises Series B round for Styrofoam alternative
TemperPack (Richmond, Virginia), a maker of sustainable thermal packaging, raised $22.5 million in Series B financing led by Revolution Growth. Founded in 2015, TemperPack replaces single-use plastics with proprietary bio-based materials. The company’s patent-pending ClimaCell technology “is the first truly functional, sustainable alternative to plastic foams such as Styrofoam,” the company said. Todd Klein, partner at Revolution Growth, noted, “The era of toxic packaging is over, and we believe TemperPack will lead in the elimination of Styrofoam, which is increasingly under regulatory and consumer scrutiny due to its negative impact on the environment.”
ADM acquires strength in citrus flavors
Archer Daniels Midland Company (Chicago, Illinois) is acquiring Florida Chemical Company (Winter Haven, Florida), a division of Flotek Industries specializing in citrus-based flavors and fragrances. “ADM is already a leader in natural flavors for food and beverages…in areas such as vanilla and mint, and this acquisition will place us in a leadership position for citrus flavors as well,” said Vince Macciocchi, president of ADM’s Nutrition business unit. ADM laid the foundation for its nutritional business by acquiring WILD Flavors in 2014, followed by Eatem Foods, Harvest Innovations, Biopolis, Probiotics International, and vanilla producer Rodelle.
Tao Capital joins as investor in FoodMaven’s $10 million round
FoodMaven (Colorado Springs, Colorado), a company dedicated to eliminating food waste, has closed additional financing. Tao Capital Partners invested in the current $10 million round along with members of the Walton family, providing momentum for a $50 million to $70 million Series B projected for early in the second quarter of this year, according to FoodMaven. Via its online marketplace, FoodMaven diverts oversupplied and imperfect food “lost” in the food system to restaurants, institutions and hunger-relief organizations.
Greenhouse beverages attracts $9 million, plus strategic partnership
Plant-based beverage manufacturer Greenhouse Juice Company (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) announced $9 million in financing and a strategic partnership with Canopy Rivers Inc., the venture arm of Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth Corp. Greenhouse also announced that it is developing cannabidiol- or CBD-infused wellness beverages—adding to its existing line of cold-pressed juices, kombuchas, nutmilks, probiotic hydrators, shakes and booster shots. The multichannel Greenhouse brand was founded in 2014 and is sold via 15 retail stores; direct-to-consumer and subscription; and through partner retail
locations, including national grocery chains. “All of the conditions are in place for us to become a truly national brand in plant-based wellness,” said Anthony Green, co-founder of Greenhouse, who noted that the partnership would help “unlock the wellness potential found in CBD-based beverages.”
Farmer’s Dog fresh pet food closes $8 million Series A
The Farmer's Dog (Brooklyn, New York), a direct-to-consumer fresh pet food company, closed an $8.1 million Series A financing round led by Shasta Ventures with participation from previous investors including Forerunner Ventures, Collaborative Fund and SV Angel. The company is now backed with $10.1 million in funding. The Farmer's Dog uses proprietary algorithms to create customized meal plans based on a dog's individual profile including age, breed, size, activity level and sensitivities.
Hyper Pet continues acquisition path
Hyper Pet LLC (Wichita, Kansas), maker of innovative pet toys and interactive pet accessories, has announced a merger with OurPet’s Company (Fairport Harbor, Ohio), a provider of pet toys, feeders, and other items. The deal is valued at roughly $20 million, according to Smart Business online. Hyper Pet has acquired several pet product brands since 2016, including Aussie Naturals, Outback Jack, and Wild Eats. In January, Hyper Pet also announced finalizing its merger with pet toy supplier R2P Pet. Hyper Pet has been backed by Guardian Capital Partners since 2016.
Microbiome startup raises funds for antibiotic alternatives
Bactana Corp. (Farmington, Connecticut)—a company developing sustainable products to enhance the microbiome of companion animals and improve
livestock farming by creating sustainable alternatives to antibiotic treatments—has closed its first equity investment round. Investors involved in the $1.3
million financing included Connecticut Innovations, Cornell University and Sustainable Income Capital Management. Product trials have shown increases in
yield efficiency, weight gain and improved gut health.
Good Crisp gets new funding for stacked snacks
The Good Crisp Company (Boulder, Colorado), a brand of guilt-free “stacked” chips, closed a new round of financing from CircleUp Growth Partners.
Good Crisp is taking on the $8 billion potato chip market with its certified gluten- and GMO-free stacked-style natural chips. Capital will be used to scale
the team, increase brand awareness and grow distribution. Good Crisp said it expects to quadruple sales in 2019; the brand will be available in Walmart
locations nationwide starting in February.
Virgo leads investment in vertical farm
80 Acres Farms (Cincinnati, Ohio) announced an undisclosed but “significant” investment from Virgo Investment Group. According to sources cited by AgFunderNews, the deal is worth more than $40 million. The indoor vertical farming outfit grows leafy greens, microgreens and vine crops using
LED lighting, artificial intelligence and automation. Funds will be used to complete 80 Acres’ facility in Hamilton, Ohio, which the company says will be
the first fully automated indoor farm in North America. Virgo focuses on investing in energy efficiency, driven by reduced equipment costs, including
renewable energy and electric vehicle charging.
Automated retail company Vengo Labs raises $7 million Series B
Vengo Labs (New York, New York), a provider of compact, cashless digital vending machines targeted at colleges, gyms and hotels, announced a $7 million Series B funding round led by Arcade Beauty, an Oaktree Capital portfolio company and a manufacturer of beauty samples. Funds will be used to scale Vengo's presence in colleges and gyms and begin testing new applications, with an initial focus on the beauty industry. In 2016, Vengo Labs clinched a $2 million deal on ABC's Shark Tank for its kiosks, which feature customizable digital ads. The latest round brings total funding to $12 million.
Aurora Cannabis to acquire organic marijuana producer
Aurora Cannabis Inc. (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) is acquiring Whistler Medical Marijuana Corporation (Whistler, British Columbia, Canada) in an all-share transaction valued at up to approximately CA$175 million (US$131.9 on Jan. 14). Founded in 2013, Whistler is one of Canada's original 10 licensed cannabis producers and the first to obtain organic certification. It serves both medical and adult-use markets. “Aurora is the right home for us to maintain our organic craft cultivation identity, while being able to leverage the resources and capabilities of a large and rapidly growing global company,” said Christopher Pelz, CEO and Founder of Whistler. Whistler has commercialized more than 30 flower varieties and strain-specific oil products, from a genetics bank of over 150 strains.
Investment supports Ocean Approved’s expansion into consumer kelp
Ocean Approved Inc. (Saco, Maine), a processor and seller of kelp for restaurants and wholesale distribution, raised $2 million, including a $1.34 million equity round, on plans to scale up and enter the retail market, according to an article on Maine Startups Insider. The company’s consumer products will be based on fresh-frozen kelp and could include smoothie-ready kelp cubes. Ocean Approved produces sustainably farmed kelp harvested from its own and other coastal farms. The global commercial seaweeds market is estimated at $14.08 billion in 2018 and projected to reach $21.11 billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 8.4 percent, according to a Research and Markets report. Increasing awareness about the nutritive value of seaweeds is expected to help drive sales in the
NCN XXIV Spring Investor Meeting is scheduled for April 23-24 at Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th St., New York, New York. Twenty nutrition and health
& wellness companies—representing natural and organic foods, functional foods, supplements, ingredients, technology, personal care and more—will
present their business plans to seek capital. This meeting will focus on full-spectrum hemp/CBD businesses and women/minority-owned businesses.
Other upcoming events include NCN Europe VI on May 6 in Geneva, Switzerland; NCN/NPC III Investor Meeting on Sept. 18-19 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and NCN XXV Fall Investor Meeting on Nov. 13-14 in San Francisco, California.
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.