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News for July 7, 2020

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

Super Coffee scores $25M at $200M valuation

Past NCN presenter Kitu Life (New York, New York), which operates the Super Coffee brand, has closed a $25 million financing round led by Skyview Capital. Founded by three brothers in a college dorm room, Super Coffee makes a lineup of ready-to-drink coffee beverages that contain up to 10 grams of protein and are sweetened with monk fruit. It also sells coffee creamer, coffee pods and espresso drinks. The $25 million round included investments from Acronym Venture Capital, Rx3 Ventures, Anthos Capital, Echo Capital Group, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA’s ZX Ventures, and individual investors. It will help fund distribution growth (as will a collaboration with AB InBev) and additions to the team. Super Coffee says it anticipates bringing in $70 million in revenue this year. 


Microbiome-based medicines advance to clinical trials with Enterome’s $52.6M series E

Investors have backed biopharmaceutical company and past NCN presenter Enterome SA (Paris, France) with €46.3 million (about $52.6 million). Enterome leverages the relationship between the gut microbiome and the immune system to develop new treatments for cancer and autoimmune, inflammatory and metabolic diseases. Its lead drug candidate is set to start trials for glioblastoma and adrenal tumors this year. A second drug candidate for cancer is expected to follow in 2021. Microbiome-focused investment firm SymBiosis LLC and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. were new investors in the series E round, which also included Seventure, Health for Life Capital, Principia, Omnes Capital and Nestlé Health Science. 


Vegan pork rinds attract $5M and a Lakers player

After launching its PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds earlier this year, Outstanding Foods (Los Angeles, California) has scooped up $5 million in new funding from SternAegis Ventures, Los Angeles Lakers basketball player JaVale McGee and other investors. Founded by entrepreneur Bill Glaser and David Anderson, former chef for Beyond Meat and cofounder of JUST, Outstanding Foods launched with a line of bacon-flavored vegan chips in 2018. Its newest offering delivers the crunch and protein of real pork rinds but is crafted with rice, sunflower oil, pea protein and pea grits. More new products are also on the way, according to the brand, which plans to use its new funds for R&D, marketing, retail expansion and team development. 


Copenhagen startup gets $1.2M to turn food waste into fake leather

The fashion world has long been hunting for an eco-friendly leather alternative. Beyond Leather Materials (Copenhagen, Denmark) hopes to deliver that—with the added bonus of making it from food waste. The brand has just raised €1.1 million (about $1.2 million) from angel investor Steen Ulf Jensen via Jensengroup Investment Fund, Rockstart and Vaekstfonden. Over the last 3 years, Beyond Leather Materials has been working on a biodegradable synthetic leather made from the byproduct of apple juice and cider production. With some fresh capital, the company will be able to set up a production line and hopes to enter the market this year. Globally, the market for leather alternatives is projected to be $85 billion within a decade. 


Alt dairy brand Ripple gets Chinese investor

As the plant-based food trend takes off in Asia, one of China’s largest confectionary and snack manufacturers, Multizen (Hong Kong, China), announced it’s invested an undisclosed amount in Ripple Foods (Emeryville, California). Ripple develops plant-based dairy alternatives using its proprietary pea-based protein, an environmental advantage over competitors that use nuts to make dairy alternatives. Currently, it sells those products in the U.S. and Canada. Ripple last closed a $65 million round in 2018. Multizen, which makes products for Godiva, Hershey’s and Mars Inc., says it has its eye on more sustainable food tech investments in the near future. 


New funding nudges lab-grown seafood closer to commercialization

The self-proclaimed “first cell-based meat company in Southeast Asia” (most are in the U.S. or Israel) has raised $3 million in bridge funding as it gears for a series A. Shiok Meats’ (Singapore) first product, a cultured shrimp, is expected to be in some restaurants within the next few years. Other products on the table include cultured prawn, crab and lobster meat. The new funding, which came from Agronomics, Impact Venture, VegInvest and Mindshift Capital, will support continued R&D and a move into manufacturing. Shiok Meats previously raised a $4.6 million seed round in 2019. 


Brandless revived 6 months after shuttering

The e-commerce company that made its name by selling household goods, personal care products and more for $3 (though it later moved away from that pricing model) is back. Brandless (San Francisco, California) shut down abruptly in February, two years after launching. It had raised nearly $300 million from SoftBank’s $100 Billion Vision Fund, NEA, Redpoint Ventures, GV and Sherpa Capital. But, according to new owners Clarke Capital Partners and digital marketing agency Ikonifi (Salt Lake City, Utah), it ran into challenges with profitability. “Under an improved capital structure, matched with responsible pricing models and the ongoing recruitment of a world-class team, Brandless 2.0 is now well-suited to carry on the brand that millions of Americans love.” Brandless’s e-commerce site has relaunched at a limited scale as it works to relist more than 300 products. 


Grass-fed milk producer Hart Dairy finds strategic investor

Hart Dairy (Augusta, Georgia), a producer of milk from free-range, grass-fed cows, has secured a new strategic investor, the Next Gen Nutrition Investment Fund. The firm’s partners, food and beverage executives James Cali and Andrew Towle, will join as special advisers to Hart Dairy’s board as the brand develops its messaging and expands its retail footprint. This undisclosed investment comes on the heels of Hart Dairy’s $10 million series A raised last year and a partnership with specialty egg supplier Island Ventures to support logistics, supply chain management and innovation. 


Sun Genomics takes in $8.7M for personalized probiotics

Pangaea Ventures led the first closing of an $8.65 million series A funding round for direct-to-consumer probiotics company Sun Genomics (San Diego, California). Its flagship product, Floré, is a personalized probiotic tailored to a customer’s unique gut profile using a microbiome test. It claims to improve digestion and energy and cut down on bloating. Danone Manifesto Ventures, SOSV, Human Longevity and Nascita Ventures also participated in the round. Sun Genomics says the capital will allow it to grow and scale in the U.S., enter international markets, hire staff and publish studies with top academic institutions. Including its seed round raised in 2019, the four-year-old company has raised $11.75 million to date. 


Main Post Partners backs Dr. Dennis Gross’ science-based skincare

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare (New York, New York) is the latest recipient of a strategic growth investment from Main Post Partners, a Silicon Valley private equity firm that’s partnered with other consumer and beauty companies including Too Faced and Not Your Mother’s.Launched in 2000 by dermatologist Dennis Gross and his wife, Carrie Gross, the company develops cruelty-free skincare products using antioxidants, vitamins and botanicals. It sells skin peels, serums, moisturizers, cleansers and more online, in beauty stores and through the professional channel. With the new funding, it plans to invest in product development, international expansion and strategic marketing. 


$3.2M seed funding brings Turtle Tree’s lab-made milk closer to commercialization

TurtleTree Labs (Singapore) has developed a technology to produce milk using only mammalian cells. First it’s focused on producing human breast milk; next, it will focus on cow’s milk. The cell-based milk operation attracted $3.2 million in seed funding from Green Monday Ventures, CPT Capital, Artesian, New Luna Ventures and KBW Ventures. With the funding, it will scale up development to bring its cell-based milk closer to commercialization. 


Delivery startup Ziticity picks up $2.5M to fund expansion in Europe

With €2.2 million (about $2.5 million) in seed funding, delivery company Ziticity (Vilnius, Lithuania) is revving up to expand into several European countries. Currently, it fuels same-day delivery for restaurants, flower shops and e-commerce businesses in the Baltics and France. Ziticity says its on-demand delivery solution allows local companies to compete with Amazon without maintaining distribution centers and paying high commissions. The round was led by NordicNinja VC with participation from Superhero Capital, Practica Capital, StartupWiseGuys and Superangel. 


Mexico’s delivery-only grocery chain bags $12M

With $12 million in new bridge funding, Jüsto (Mexico City, Mexico) brings its total capital raised to more than $20 million in less than a year. Foundation Capital led the round, and Mountain Nazca, FEMSA Ventures, Quiet Capital and 500 Startups also pitched in. Jüsto was founded earlier this year by Ricardo Weder, former president of the ride-sharing company Cabify. It sources local goods directly from produce, meat and fish suppliers; sells them to customers through its website and app; and delivers the order. In addition to groceries, it also offers personal care, home and pet products. 


Infuzed Brands lands $8.6 million for CBD beverages

During an ongoing crowdfunding round, Infuzed Brands (Seattle, Washington) received $8.6 million from an undisclosed strategic partner to support its CBD sparkling water products. According to Infuzed Brands, the deal opens doors for joint ventures, quick distribution growth and more vertical integration. Just one year after launching its Infuzed Thirst products, which come in five flavors and contain broad spectrum hemp extract, it currently sells in 200 retail locations and online. It sits alongside brands such as Dirty Lemon, Sprig and Cannabinoid Creations in a fast-growing segment of the CBD market. 


Swapping plastic for paper lands Transcend Packaging $12.5M

On a mission to champion sustainable packaging, Transcend Packaging (Ystrad Mynach, Wales), has secured a £10 million (about $12.5 million) investment from IW Capital. Using digital printing and specialty coating, Transcend Packaging creates paper straws, cups and food containers. It also recently developed a plastic-free PPE face visor. With the new funding, the three-year-old company plans to expand into new product categories and build its team.


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