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News for April 2, 2020

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

High-profile investors put $80M behind alternative-protein startup

The food tech company once known as Sustainable Bioproducts is now Nature’s Fynd (Chicago, Illinois), and it’s equipped with $80 million in fresh funding from investors. Grown out of NASA-supported research, Nature’s Fynd used a protein-rich microorganism discovered at Yellowstone National Park to develop a fermentation process that results in a sustainable, animal-free protein containing all nine essential amino acids. Production of the protein recently began and the company plans to use it in a line of food and beverage products. Generation Investment Management LLP and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, established by Bill Gates, led the company’s $80 million Series B. Mousse Partners, 1955 Capital, ADM Ventures and Danone Manifesto Ventures also participated. So far, Nature’s Fynd has raised $113 million.


Impossible Foods’ series F brings total raised to $1.3B

As Impossible Foods (Redwood City, California) continues to expand internationally—and braces for potential impact from the global coronavirus crisis—it’s closed a new $500 million series F funding round. The 8-year-old, plant-based food company has raised more than $1.3 billion to date, and sources have reported that it’s valued at close to $4 billion. The round was led by South Korean firm Mirae Asset Global Investments, with participation from other investors including Khosla, Horizons Ventures and Temasek. Impossible Foods’ flagship product, the plant-based Impossible Burger, is served in more than 17,000 restaurants and launched in retail stores last year. A new pork alternative joined the Impossible product lineup in January.


Nonalcoholic beer maker Athletic Brewing adds funding production

Hoping to make alcohol-free the next big thing in craft beer, Athletic Brewing (Stratford, Connecticut) has purchased a brewery in San Diego, California, and raised a $17.5 million series B to grow its production capabilities. Investors include Timothy Barakett’s family office, Tastemaker Capital Partners, Wheelhouse Partners and TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie. Launched in 2018, Athletic uses organic grains to craft nonalcoholic brews that contain between 50 and 70 calories each. According to IRI, nonalcoholic beer is a trending segment of the beer market, with retail dollar sales growing 23% in 2019.


CBD deal sends infused candies to Pura

Puration (Pura), a cannabis beverage maker, has bought a line of CBD-infused gummies and gum called Hemp4mula from Kali-Extracts. Pura’s business is centered around its cannabis-extraction process, which it puts to use in its own lines of CBD-infused foods and beverages. It also recently announced a $5 million investment to fund further acquisitions. Kaly, which also has a patented cannabis extraction process, sold the confectionery line to focus on its cannabis-based biopharmaceutical products, which were developed to treat respiratory conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Novi gets $1.5M to ease ingredient transparency in personal care

Aiming to make it easier for better-for-you beauty brands to develop clean products, startup Novi (Larkspur, California) has developed an AI-driven platform that connects brands with suppliers that can meet their ingredient standards. Novi has raised $1.5 million and names Defy Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Maveron, Polaris Partners and Slow Ventures among its investors.


Amazon, ShopRite operator buy Fairway Markets assets in bankruptcy auction

Two months after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, East Coast grocery chain Fairway Markets has sold six of its stores, a production and distribution center, and two real estate leases at auction. Village Supermarket Inc., which operates several ShopRite stores in New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania, snagged four of Fairway’s Manhattan stores plus one other, as well as a production and distribution facility, for $76 million. Seven Seas—a member of the Key Food Stores Co-operative Inc.—bought Fairway’s Georgetown store for $5 million. Amazon snapped up two real estate leases in New Jersey for $1.5 million. Fairway says it will continue to operate all of its stores for the foreseeable future to meet public need during this time.


Your Super secures $10 million for superfood powders

Superfood company Your Super (Venice, California) has raised a $10 million series B led by PowerPlant Ventures, which is also an investor in Beyond Meat and Thrive Market. White Road Investments, a firm started by the founders of Clif Bar, and Marstar Investments also joined in the round. Your Super is a Certified B Corporation that developed a line of organic superfood and protein powder mixes with trendy functional ingredients such as pea protein, hemp, maca, moringa and chaga mushrooms. The direct-to-consumer company, which was launched in Germany before moving its headquarters to California, says the investment will fuel new product development and the addition of new team members.


Hain Celestial offloads two more brands

As it continues to streamline its elaborate portfolio of brands, Hain Celestial (Lake Success, New York) has sold two more brands. Casbah, a line of Mediterranean-inspired side dishes, went to U.S. Durum, and Europe’s Best, a line of frozen fruits and vegetables, was sold to Nature’s Touch Frozen Food. Since CEO Mark Schiller took the reins in late 2018, Hain has focused on eliminating unprofitable SKUs. Last year, it sold the remainder of its Pure Protein business, as well as the Tilda, Arrowhead Mills and SunSpire brands, and West Soy’s tofu, seitan and tempeh business.


Bel Group acquires French cheese alternative startup

In an effort to diversify its product portfolio, Bel Group (Paris, France) has taken a majority stake in startup All in Foods (Saint-Nazaire, France), which makes plant-based cheese alternatives and sauces sold in retail stores and foodservice internationally. Bel’s portfolio includes The Laughing Cow and Mini Babybel, but the company’s strategy is focused on growing beyond cheese. It also recently acquired dairy company Safilait and MOM, the maker of the Materne, GoGo squeeZ and Montblanc brands. The terms of the self-financed acquisition were not disclosed, but Bel says it has taken an 80% stake in All in Foods, with a liquidity agreement allowing it to acquire 100% by 2024.


Ironman triathlons bought by media powerhouse Advance

Advance Publications Inc. (Staten Island, New York), the privately owned parent company of Conde Nast, has reached a deal with Wanda Sports Group Co. (Beijing, China) to acquire its Ironman business at a reported value of $730 million. The Ironman portfolio includes Ironman and 70.3 triathlons, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series and the Epic Mountain Bike Series, which collectively draw in about 1 million athletes each year. As part of the deal, Wanda will continue to operate several of the franchise’s races in China under an exclusive license agreement, and Orkila Capital will co-invest in the Ironman Group. Ironman’s global headquarters will remain in Tampa, Florida.


UK-based artisan tea maker secures growth funding

Specialty tea company English Tea Shop (London, England) has received a financing package of £2.5 million ($2.97 million on March 19), as part of the HSBC UK’s £14 million lending fund. It will use the funding to support the launch of new products as well as international expansion and a redesign of its packaging. The socially conscious business sources teas, herbs, flowers, fruits and spices from organic, fair-trade farms across the world.


Silicon Valley startup scores $16M for sports performance platform

Sparta Science’s (Menlo Park, California) hardware-software service is already being put to use by a handful of collegiate and professional sports teams. And now, bolstered by a $16 million series B, the company says it’ll hire new engineering staff and deploy the technology into health systems, too. Sparta’s system scans a users’ body to determine their balance, strength and jump. AI-powered software analyzes that data and creates a personalized plan to help users improve their physical performance or lower their risk of injury. GSR Ventures led the round, with participation from Arsenal Growth and other investors.


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