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News for August 19, 2020

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

Allergy Amulet scores $3.3M to develop a food allergy sensor

What if people with food allergies carried a sensor that could detect the presence of allergens in their food? That’s the premise of Allergy Amulet (Lowell, Massachusetts), which announced a $3.3 million seed round led by Titletown Tech, a partnership between the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft. Great North Labs, Colle Capital, Great Oaks VC, DeepWork Capital, Dipalo Ventures and Bulldog Innovation Group also got in on the round. The startup plans to use the money to manufacture beta units of its product—a portable sensor and test strips—and launch pre-orders this fall. According to Allergy Amulet, its sensor recognizes chemical traces of the top eight most common food allergens plus gluten and sesame. 


Dog food startup Sundays launches with VC backing

Though it debuted its air-dried dog kibble alternative in February, Sundays is formally launching with $2.27 million in funding from Red Sea Ventures, Box Group, Great Oaks Ventures, Shrug Capital, Blue Apron founder Matt Salzberg and others. In the saturated pet food market, Sundays pitches its product as an option that falls between kibble and fresh refrigerated food. It’s made with fresh meat, organs, bones and vegetables, then air dried to make it shelf stable. Sundays sells direct-to-consumer. 


Coffee plus adaptogens lands Taika $2.7M in seed funding

Founded by an award-winning barista and a former member of Facebook’s mobile product division, Taika (San Francisco, California) makes plant-based canned coffee drinks with functional ingredients. The startup reduces the amount of caffeine in its coffee and adds a blend of adaptogens including L-theanine and ashwagandha, and mushrooms, which it claims cuts down on the jitters and delivers the ideal blend of energy and calm. Kindred Ventures recently led a $2.7 million seed funding round for Taika. Obvious Ventures and English businessman, author and barista James Hoffman joined in. 


Glanbia buys Foodarom to scale up its flavors business

Ingredients firm Glanbia Nutritionals (Kilkenny, Ireland) has added Foodarom (Montreal, Quebec) to its portfolio, boosting its capabilities in the areas of flavors and nutritional solutions. Foodarom is a flavor agency servicing the food, beverage and nutritional product markets with more than 15,000 recipes. 


Low-FODMAP meal delivery service bags $2M

ModifyHealth (Atlanta, Georgia) delivers fully prepared, medically tailored meals developed by chefs and dietitians to homes nationwide. Its meals, which are certified low-FODMAP and gluten-free, can help people manage GI conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease, the company says. It also offers dietitian support and digital health solutions to help people manage their conditions. A $2 million series A financing led by Nashville Capital Network will support ModifyHealth’s continued growth. 


Seattle startup secures $9M to brew beanless coffee

Coffee that’s not made from beans? That’s what Atomo Coffee (Seattle, Washington) has been working on for the last year, and it’s just raised $9 million to bring its first product to market. The startup makes a more sustainable version of coffee using upcycled plant waste such as seeds, kernels, pits, stems and leaves from U.S. farmers. It plans to build a 12,000-square-foot roastery in Seattle and release a ready-to-drink cold-brew coffee to the local market next year. The new funding came from S2G Ventures, AgFunder, Bessemer Venture Partners and Horizon Ventures. 


BigHaat raises $2M to bring e-commerce to farming in India

Japan’s Beyond Next Ventures has led a $2 million pre-series A funding round for BigHaat (Bengaluru, Karnataka), an online marketplace for farmers in India. Ankur Capital, Rockstud Capital and a number of angel investors also participated. With the funding, 5-year-old BigHaat plans to build out its team and expand its services, which it says have already reached 3 million farmers. Agriculture is the backbone of India’s economy, and the startup provides small farmers with access to a wide variety of seeds, plant protection and nutrition products, and farming equipment through its mobile app or the internet. 


TemperPack raises series C, brings total funding to $78M

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated growth for sustainable packaging company TemperPack (Richmond, Virginia), prompting it to raise a $31.3 million series C. Leading the round was Wheatsheaf Group, with participation from Revolution Growth, Harbert Growth Partners, SJF Ventures, Arborview Capital, Tao Capital, Thor Prime Capital and Greenhouse Capital. TemperPack’s flagship product is an alternative to Styrofoam made from recyclable plant-based materials. It can be used to ship perishable food and refrigerated drug products such as vaccines, biologic medicines and insulin. In the coming months, the company plans to add employees and buy more equipment to expand production. 


Angel investors seed Asian-inspired fizzy water brand Sanzo with $1.3M

Sparkling water brand Sanzo (New York, New York), which has been self-funded since its inception last year, has secured its first investments from entrepreneurs and angel investors. Participants in the $1.3 million seed round include Jen Rubio, cofounder of Away; Scott Belsky, CPO and EVP and Adobe Creative Cloud; and Andrew Chau and Bin Chen, cofounder of Boba Guys. Sparkling water is one of the fastest-growing segments in the beverage industry. Sanzo differentiates by using three fruits that are popular in Asia: lychee, mango and calamansi. It sells direct-to-consumer online and in some markets on the East and West coasts. 


Food-X raises $2.6M to help grocers manage e-commerce

Food-X Technologies (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.), which provides e-commerce fulfillment software for grocers, received $2.6 million in follow-on funding from the Digital Technology Supercluster,  a collaboration between the Canadian government and private businesses that funds ambitious technology projects. The funding will be deployed to enhance the functionality of Food-X’s e-grocery management solution, which helps retailers scale the entire process of food delivery, from consumer-facing ordering to inventory management. 


WM Partners acquires collagen company Great Lakes Gelatin

Private equity firm WM Partners acquired Great Lakes Gelatin Co. (Grayslake, Illinois), maker of branded and bulk/wholesale collagen and gelatin products. Great Lakes has been selling gelatin products since 1922 for use as functional ingredients in food products such as desserts and vitamins. It sells through the natural, food, drug and mass channels and online. WM Partners says it will help the brand expand its reach in the e-commerce and mass channels. The firm has experience in the fast-growing collagen space, having previously acquired and sold the collagen company NeoCell. 


Indiana artisan chocolate startup takes in $2.2M to scale

After moving into a 12,000 square-foot facility that will boost its production tenfold, chocolate startup SoChatti (Indianapolis, Indiana) is hoping to grow its direct-to-consumer and retail distribution with $2.2 million in series A funding and $950,000 in bank financing. SoChatti uses a proprietary processing method that it says preserves flavors that usually get lost during chocolate manufacturing. Its flagship product is a liquid dairy-free chocolate packaged in pouches. But its flavor preservation technology paves the way for the company to enter other food and beverage categories. Ryan Rans, managing partner of Great Lakes Capital, and Bob Kirch, managing partner of Kirch Equity Investments, invested in the round. 


Grubbly grabs $2.9M to feed backyard chickens

According to recent headlines, the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired many DIY-ers to add backyard chickens to their family. Grubbly Farms (Atlanta, Georgia) is delivering sustainable feed for those chickens and has collected $2.9 million in new funding to grow. Grubbly’s snacks and feed are made from dried black soldier flies, which grow quickly, feast on food scraps and provide chickens with calcium, protein and other nutrients they need. The round was led by Overline VC, with participation from Oval Park Capital, Techstars and Create-X. 


New funding round values Impossible Foods at $4B

Just a few months after closing a $500 million series F, Impossible Foods has locked up another $200 million in series G money. Technology-focused hedge fund Coatue led the round, with hedge fund XN also participating. Since its founding in 2011, the meat substitute company has raised a whopping $1.5 billion from high-profile venture capital firms like Khosla Ventures and celebrities including Jay-Z, Trevor Noah, Katy Perry and Serena Williams. Its burgers are sold at national food chains and retailers including Starbucks and Walmart. Impossible Foods says the funding will help ramp up production and advance R&D efforts on new products.


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