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DSM and Phynova collaborate on blood glucose ingredient
DSM (Heerlen, Netherlands) and life science company Phynova (Oxford, United Kingdom) have signed a global distribution and collaboration agreement for Reducose, a patented natural ingredient for healthy blood glucose levels. Reducose is a water extract of white mulberry leaves that can be added to food and beverages or taken as a small supplement to reduce the impact on the body of high-glycemic sugars and other carbohydrates. Reducose is backed by clinical
studies and has regulatory approvals in multiple global regions. Phynova and DSM will collaborate on product development, clinical research, regulatory
approvals and marketing. Phynova has been a presenting company at several Nutrition Capital Network (NCN) Investor Meetings in the United States and
Europe since 2012. DSM is an NCN Cornerstone Investor.
Factory invests $6 million in Pipsnacks mini-popcorn
Pipsnacks LLC (Brooklyn, New York), maker of Pipcorn brand ready-to-eat (RTE) mini-popcorn, announced a $6-million growth investment from Factory LLC, an innovation and scale-up operating company. According to Pipsnacks, its strain of popping corn yields smaller, crunchier pieces than standard RTE popcorn. Pipcorn was launched in 2012 and gained market traction with an appearance on “Shark Tank” in 2014. It is Factory’s fourth investment in the past year, following Mikey’s, Honey Stinger and Stuffed Puffs. Factory’s resources include food scientists, supply chain experts, packaging engineers and marketing and sales. Factory is an NCN Cornerstone Investor.
Technology for low glycemic sugar attracts $5 million Series A
Nutrition Innovation (NI, Singapore) raised $5 million in a Series A round led by agri-food venture fund VisVires New Protein, according to an article in
Singapore’s The Business Times. The start-up company’s proprietary technology enables industrial-scale production of low glycemic cane sugar, branded Nucane, as a healthier replacement for refined sugar. According to NI’s website, Nucane is less refined and retains nutrients that naturally occur in cane sugar, in addition to offering a one-for-one swap in most food and beverage recipes. The low GI technology can be applied to existing food grade sugar mills for a low capital expenditure, giving manufacturers the flexibility to produce Nucane or normal commercial product. The global sugar market is approximately $100 billion in commodity sales, of which nearly 90 percent is white refined sugar, according to NI.
Strand Equity invests in better-for-you pizza brand
The Real Good Food Company LLC (Los Angeles, California), maker of protein-rich frozen food, closed a minority investment from Strand Equity. Real Good Foods launched in 2016 with a high-protein, low-carb, grain-free alternative to traditional frozen pizza and now also offers low-carb, cauliflower-crust
pizzas, snacks, appetizers and Mexican entrees. Strand’s investments have included Bai Brands, Hippeas, Hum Nutrition, Vita Coco, Youth To The People and
RightRice. “RGF is driving innovation in a massive $50-billion category that has been slow to adapt to consumers’ changing preferences,” said Kevin Chen,
vice president at Strand Equity.
Shark Tank investment for plant-based dog treats
Wild Earth Inc. (Berkeley, California), a biotech pet food startup, has accepted $550,000 from investor Mark Cuban on the ABC hit Shark Tank in return for a 10 percent ownership stake. Wild Earth had previously raised $4 million from Silicon Valley and impact investors. Wild Earth's Good Protein Dog Snacks—and
eventually dog food—are made from koji (Aspergillus oryzae), a fungus used in Asia to ferment soybeans. According to Wild Earth, koji is a complete protein containing the essential amino acids dogs need and requiring fewer resources than meat production. Led by pioneers in cellular agriculture, Wild Earth’s products also contain omega fatty acids, digestive enzymes and prebiotics. Mars Petcare is also an investor.
TeaRIOT closes $3 million Series A
TeaRIOT (Venice Beach, California) has closed more than $3 million in Series A funding to expand in April distribution of its bottled energy tea with retailers
including Whole Foods Markets, Target and Amazon.com. TeaRIOT contains natural tea caffeine, L-theanine and botanicals for focus and energy without the jitters. “The energy drink and tea market has been stagnant in innovation,” said founder Laura Jakobsen. “Consumers are demanding a shift from processed
ingredients to fresh and from adrenaline to personal performance.” TeaRIOT, which takes a digital approach to marketing, has over 90,000 Instagram
Mondelēz Partners with The Hatchery Chicago
Mondelēz International (Deerfield, Illinois) announced a partnership with The Hatchery Chicago, a non-profit food business incubator, as it seeks innovation in the snack category. The partnership is one of several investments under SnackFutures, Mondelēz’s innovation and venture hub. Mondelēz will work with
The Hatchery Chicago to offer educational opportunities and mentorship to entrepreneurs active in Chicago’s food and drink scene.
L Catterton to sell CorePower Yoga
L Catterton has agreed to sell CorePower Yoga (Denver, Colorado), a yoga fitness studio operator, to TSG Consumer Partners. Terms were not disclosed. Since partnering with L Catterton in 2013, CorePower Yoga, founded in 2002, has grown from 80 studios in 12 states to more than 200 studios in 23 states and improved its member retention “through consistent superior quality and a unique consumer experience rooted in community.” L Catterton has invested in several fitness clubs and concepts, including Peloton, Classpass, Equinox, Bodytech in Latin America and Will’s Group fitness facilities in China. This is the first investment made by TSG’s eighth fund, TSG8, which closed in February 2019 with $4 billion of limited partner capital commitments.
Starbucks backs fund for food and retail startups
Starbucks (Seattle, Washington) announced a $100-million investment in the new Valor Siren Ventures I LP to back food and retail start-ups. Managed by Valor Equity Partners, the new fund will seek an additional $300 million from other strategic partners and key institutional investors. Kevin Johnson, president
and CEO of Starbucks, said, “With an eye toward accelerating our innovation agenda, we are inspired by and want to support the creative, entrepreneurial businesses of tomorrow with whom we may explore commercial relationships down the road.”
ADM consolidates natural citrus holdings by acquiring Ziegler Group
Archer Daniels Midland Company (Chicago, Illinois) is acquiring The Ziegler Group of Germany, a supplier of natural citrus flavor ingredients. The agreement follows ADM’s January announcement that it is acquiring U.S.-based citrus flavor provider Florida Chemical. “The combination of Ziegler and Florida Chemical
will immediately position ADM for growth as a global leader in natural citrus ingredients, with a complete range of innovative citrus solutions and systems
for food, beverage and fragrance customers,” said Vince Macciocchi, president of ADM’s Nutrition business.
REDD bar raises new funding
Energy bar company Redd (Brunswick, Maine) raised an additional $2.2 million to supports its refreshed brand image, including new packaging and recipes. The new round comes from new and repeat investors and will help advance the company’s sales, marketing, and R&D efforts, as well as funding working
capital. The company previously raised a $2 million round in 2017. Whipstitch Capital served as REDD’s financial advisor in the transaction.
Mollybox raises $13 million for cat food subscription business in China
Mollybox (Shanghai, China), a pet food brand run by Xolo (Cayman) Limited, has secured a total of $13 million in its Series B financing round, co-led by venture capital firm DCM and Mars-backed VC fund Digitalis. Mollybox provides cat litter and cat food by subscription, in addition to sending cat owners a surprise box every month with cat snacks and nutrition products. Mollybox’s highest monthly turnover in 2017 was RMB 1.8 million ($276,414 on Jan. 2, 2018), but this amount jumped to RMB 20 million ($2.9 million on Jan. 2, 2019) in 2018, according to Ju Yi, founder and CEO. “Young people are flocking to cities, and when they do so, they leave friends and family behind. They become lonelier, and more and more of these young people are starting to keep pets. This is a good environment in which a subscription-based service can expand its business.”
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.