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News for July 21, 2021

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

Upcycler Comet Bio closes Series C funding round

Comet Bio (Schaumburg, Illinois) has raised $22 million in its Series C funding round. The company manufactures various ingredients through upcycling by taking agricultural leftovers from farms and putting them through a proprietary process. Its products includes a prebiotic dietary fiber called Arrabina, sugar syrup alternatives called Sweeterra and animal and bionutrition industrial products. The round was led by Open Prairie, the Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), BDC Capital as well as existing investor Sofinnova Partners.


Wicked Kitchen prepared to launch in U.S. with $14M Series A round

Plant-based food brand Wicked Kitchen (Minneapolis, Minnesota) launched in 2018 in the United Kingdom in partnership with supermarket chain Tesco. Now, the brand is bringing its products to the U.S. market, raising $14 million in a Series A funding round co-led by plant-based foods venture fund Unovis Asset Management and Thailand-based NRF-owned Nove Foods. The company was founded by American brothers Derek and Chad Sarno, who also co-founded Gathered Foods, makers of the Good Catch plant-based seafood brand.


Next Gen Foods extends seed round with $20M

Plant-based chicken brand TiNDLE’s parent company, Next Gen Foods (Singapore) has raised a $20 million extension of its seed found, following it $10 million seed round in March. The extension included new investors Global Fund GGV Capital, Bits x Bites and Yeo Hiap Seng, as well as existing investors Temasek and K3 Ventures. With the funds totaling $30 million, Next Gen plans to expand into the U.S. market and hire more than 50 employees who will primarily be based in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Paine Schwartz Partners acquires cold-pressed juice brand Suja Life

Private equity firm Paine Schwartz Partners has acquired cold-pressed organic juice company Suja Life (San Diego, California) for an undisclosed sum. Suja Life was previously owned by Goldman Sachs Asset Managers and co-investors. The company, which launched in 2012, had a record-breaking year in revenue and profit in 2020. James Brennan, Suja co-founder, said, “Suja has experienced two phases of rapid growth, the initial years after the brand was founded and then again since 2018. The Suja team has delivered fantastic results in recent years.”


Women’s health startup Evvy launched vaginal microbiome test kit

Femtech startup Envy has launched an at-home test kit for the vaginal microbiome, which gives women a picture of their vaginal health for conditions ranging from thrush to imbalances that could contribute to more serious issues. “We give users back a full understanding of everything that’s present. So here are all of the bacteria and fungi and, importantly, what is the relative amount of each of those bacteria,” said CEO and co-founder Priyanka Jain. Evvy is using a technique called metagenomic sequencing to capture more data than other commercial tests.


French cell-based poultry company Groumey gets $10M

Gourmey is a new French startup that recently raised $10 million to make laboratory meat from animal cells. The premium product, focused on poultry, will operate on a premium distribution strategy and serve restaurants. Like other lab-grown meat startups, Gourmey relies on stem cells. The company is even looking to make a slaughter-free foie gras. Point Nine and Air Street Capital are co-leading the $10 million seed round.


RealSleep nabs $2.2M in seed found

RealSleep (Los Angeles, California) raised $2.2 million from undisclosed investors in its seed round. The company makes a cannabinoid-based sleep product and intends to use the funds to expand operations and accelerate the company’s growth and business reach. Users can opt for an individualized sleep formula, pairing the company’s proprietary core formula with other natural compounds to suit one’s personal sleep needs.


Meati secures $50M in Series B funding round

Mycelium-based “meat” company Meati (Boulder, Colorado) has closed a $50 million Series B funding round. The found was co-led by new investor Bond and longstanding Meati backer Acre Venture Partners, with participation from Prelude Ventures, Congruent Ventures and Tao Capital. The public benefit corporation will use the funds to scale up production as it plans to launch its products nationally next year and double the size of its team.


Non-alcoholic beer brand Athletic Brewing scoops up $50M

Athletic Brewing (Stratford, Connecticut), which launched in 2018 and makes non-alcoholic craft beer, has raised $50 million in a Series C round led by existing Athletic investors and board members Alliance Consumer Growth and TRB Advisors. Other investors include athletes, entrepreneurs and celebrities such as Blake Mycoskie, Lance Armstrong, Justin Tuck and JJ Watt. The company will use the funds to open a large East Coast brewery less than a year after the opening of Athletic’s 150,000-barrel facility in San Diego, California.


Canada’s Buddha Brands raises $3M to support US expansion

Buddha Brands (Quebec, Canada) has secured $3 million in a funding round to support expansion in the U.S. market with its lines of certified vegan, keto, gluten free and Non-GMO Project certified snack bars and coconut water beverages. Its new Hungry Buddha Keto Bars come in four flavors: chocolate chip, coconut cocoa, espresso brownie and triple chocolate. “My co-founders and I started Buddha Brands with all of our savings and have been purposely self-funded from the start, so we are thrilled to have this support from BDC Capital and Investissement Quebec,” said Chris Magnone, CEO and co-founder at Buddha Brands.


Lonza completes $4.5 billion specialty ingredients divestment

Lonza (Zurich, Switzerland) has completed the divestment of its specialty ingredients business to Bain Capital and Cinven for an enterprise value of 4.2 billion Swiss francs ($4.55 billion). The Swiss contract drug maker says it will focus on its faster-growing drugs and biotech unit.


Acosta to acquire Impact Group

Acosta (Jacksonville, Florida) plans to acquire Impact Group (Boise, Idaho), a national sales and marketing agency with expertise in natural, specialty, ethnic and emerging brands, to expand its presence in the specialty food space. Acosta said it will integrate its own Natural and Specialty Sales division with Impact Group to create Impact NSS, a separate business unit to provide solutions for brands in these categories. Another new unit will be Acosta | Berg, which will offer a specialized van-based sales business serving metropolitan retailers in key urban markets. “Acosta and Impact Group provide highly complementary services, and this acquisition will add scale, expand service offerings and create new opportunities for our existing clients,” said Brian Wynne, CEO of Acosta.


Pharmavite purchases leading urinary health brand Uqora

Pharmavite (West Hills, California), maker of Nature Made Vitamins and Supplements, has acquired Uqora (San Diego, California), a leading brand in the urinary health market. Founded by partners Jenna Ryan and Spencer Gordon, Uqora sells direct to consumer and has experienced triple-digit growth since it launched in 2017. Uqora offers supplements for proactive urinary health as well as drugs/medical devices to identify and treat the symptoms of UTIs. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. William Hood & Company LLC served as exclusive financial advisor to Pharmavite in the transaction and Whipstitch Capital served as exclusive financial advisor to Uqora.


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