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News for March 31, 2022

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

MelBio is bringing a brand new buzz to the $10B global honey market

What happens when you take the bee out of the honey-making process? You save the bees. Bee-free honey aims to bring sustainability to an agriculture sector that has been prone to quality and supply issues. Keeping honeybees in hives has a devastating impact on local and wild bee populations. From the minds of a scientist, amateur chef, and former bee-honey industry executive, co-founders Darko Mandich and Aaron Schaller are using precision fermentation and plant science to make honey without bees. In doing so, they help preserve bee biodiversity. With $5.7 million in seed funding, led by Astanor Ventures, and 30 signed letters of intent from companies to do validation studies, MelBio’s product launches in April.

Investing in the next generation: The two companies raising funds for innovative infant formula

Investors are taking note of the importance of early childhood nutrition to lay the foundation for a healthy life. ByHeart recently raised $190 million in funding and Bobbie has secured $50 million in new financing. Both companies are looking to disrupt the US infant formula market by formulating new solutions for babies to come. The two use organic, grass-fed milk and aim to use only clean ingredients that closely resemble the nutritional composition of breast milk. Seeing the pressure new parents face with regard to breastfeeding, Bobbie will use its new funding to support its subscription-based service. This guarantees that parents will have monthly deliveries of formula in a $67.3 billion and growing industry that has been unable to meet demand and often falls victim to supply-chain issues. ByHeart will continue to use its funding to create innovative formulas using its patented protein blend and FDA-registered manufacturing.

Food tech company Mori raises $50M in Series B1 funding round

Mori’s technology, focused on creating more sustainable food supply chains, extends shelf life to reduce waste. Using a proprietary process of just salt, water and heat, natural silk proteins are extracted, protecting food and slowing spoilage. In a fragile food system—as proven by the labor shortages and shipping delays of the past two years—reduced food and packaging waste will lead to a lower carbon footprint and lesser impact on natural resources.

Seaweed sizzles with a $3M investment launch

Plant-based bacon takes to the sea at Umaro Foods Inc. The food technology at Umaro focuses on using a proprietary red protein from seaweed for its plant-based bacon that is rich in umami and closely resembles the real thing. Ocean-farmed seaweed is a sustainable source of high-quality and abundant protein. With the closing of a $3 million seed fundraise Umaro Foods will launch its plant-based bacon at select restaurants in Q2 of 2022. Co-founders Beth Zotter and Amanda Stiles will also appear on ABC’s Shark Tank on April 1, 2022.

Molecular dairy farming startup Miruku secures $2.4M in seed funding round

Venture capital fund Movac led funding for the New Zealand-based startup, with participation from Better Bite Ventures, Ahimsa Foundation, and NZ Growth Capital Partners’ Aspire fund. Miruku’s founders Amos Palfreyman, Ira Bing, Harjinder Singh, and Oded Shoseyov use their combined expertise in the dairy and science fields to create an animal-free dairy protein. The molecular farming process uses plants to manufacture proteins, fats, and sugars traditionally sourced from animals. Cutting out the need for animals to produce proteins allows the plants to create the same proteins directly while improving the food system’s energy and production efficiency.

Personalized supplements from doctors straight to your door

OK Capsule, founded by CA-based Dr. Andrew Brandies, has raised $9.5 million in early funding. Dr. Brandies is an ND and personalization expert with 20+ years of experience in primary medical care and health technology startups. Using technology that allows for integration into multiple platforms such as API, Zapier and Shopify OK Capsule provides a safe, sustainable and supported way for companies to launch an any-size scale of personalized supplement packets to their consumers.

Investments are brewing: $5M funding round for Wandering Bear

Organic coffee company Wandering Bear has raised $5 million backed by existing investors. Wandering Bear Cold Brew Coffee On Tap was the first to package cold brew as a bag in a tapped box that, much like boxed wine, allows the coffee to stay fresh much longer after opening. They aim to keep their cold brew convenient and readily accessible for customers while being sustainable.

Local Bounti is taking more inside with $122.5M acquisition of indoor farming operator Pete’s

Expecting to close the transaction early in the second quarter indoor farming company is acquiring indoor farming competitor Hollandia Produce Group. A part of Hollandia Produce Group’s leafy greens sellers, Pete’s has three indoor growing facilities and distributes to 10,000 retailers including Kroger, Target, and Walmart. All of Pete’s 130 employees will join Local Bounti as it plans to install its Stack & Flow vertical farming technology. This is Local Bounti’s first acquisiton since the startup went public.

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