News for March 31, 2021
Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:
Berlin grocery delivery startup Gorillas snatches up $290M
Promising to deliver groceries and other everyday items to customers in as little as 10 minutes, Gorillas (Berlin, Germany) has taken the European market by storm in the 10 months since its founding. Now it’s raised a $290 million series B (following a $44 million series A closed in December) and has its sights set on more international growth. The delivery startup operates 40 micro fulfillment centers and employs more than 1,000 delivery riders across Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. With the new funding—from Coatue Management, DST Global, Tencent, Green Oaks, Fifth Wall, Dragoneer and Atlantic Food Labs—it’s looking to set up operations in Paris, New York City and dozens of other cities across the world.
Meatable gets $47M to grow its cultivated meat portfolio
Meatable (Delft, the Netherlands) is equipped with $47 million in fresh series A funding to continue work on its cultivated meat products. Meatable says its proprietary process, which mimics the natural process of fat and muscle growth, enables a more cost-effective and scalable solution for meat production. After finalizing its first pork showcase product last year, the startup is adding cultivated beef to its repertoire. The new funds came from a consortium of life science and food investors including Section 32, DSM Venturing, BlueYard Capital, Agronomics, Humboldt and individual investors.
Stonewall Kitchen scoops up spice supplier Urban Accents
Specialty food retailer Stonewall Kitchen (York, Maine) has acquired Urban Accents (Chicago, Illinois). Urban Accents sells more than 150 seasonings and sauces in stores including Whole Foods, Macy’s and Safeway. Stonewall Kitchen, which is owned by private equity firm Audax, owns brands including Tillen Farms, Vermont Village and Napa Valley Naturals, as well as retail stores and cooking schools. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Pro athletes, investors back coffee-infused energy bars with $2.5M
Quantum Energy Squares (Los Angeles, California) uses plant-based protein, caffeine from organic green coffee and MCT oil from coconuts to craft a wholesome, nutritious energy bar with athlete appeal. Now, the startup has $2.5 million in funding to help it ramp up brand awareness through marketing, sampling and events. Launched in 2019, Quantum counts tennis stars Sloane Stephens, Mike Bryan and Sam Querrey, and soccer MVP Jozy Altidore among its investors. Following national launches in Whole Foods Market and Sprouts Farmers Market, the startup is focused on continuing to grow in the natural channel and branching out into the sports and convenience channels.
Ag tech startup Amfora gets $6M to pump up the protein in crops
Leaps by Bayer and Spruce Capital Partners invested $6 million in a series B for Amfora (San Francisco, California), a startup that’s using gene-editing techniques to increase the protein density of crops, starting with soy. The proceeds from the financing will also support Amfora’s development of other crops, such as rice and wheat, with improved nutritional profiles. “Our protein-rich crops will enable manufacturers of plant-based meat, dairy and seafood to meet the growing demand for their products at lower costs while allowing them to take meaningful steps to address the climate crisis,” CEO Lloyd Kunimoto said.
Vegan chicken maker takes aim at factory farming with $3.4M seed round
VFC Foods (York, England) launched in December, but the startup is already working on a second iteration of its vegan fried chicken and plans to use €2.5 million (about $3.4 million) in new seed funding to scale up production and grow its brand. VFC sells a line of fried chicken alternatives—made from wheat protein, sesame seeds, corn flakes and other plant-based ingredients—in the U.K. and Spain. With the ultimate goal of wiping out factory farming, it’s focused on competing directly with chicken on price, taste and convenience. The seed funding came from plant-based investors Veg Capital and Johnson Resolutions, as well as the company’s senior leadership team.
Abby’s Better Nut Butters net $1M in seed round
Women-owned and family operated nut butter brand Abby’s Better (Charlotte, North Carolina) has new investors—including NBA star Kevin Love and model Kate Bock—and $1 million in new funding to reach new customers. Abby’s makes clean-label, peanut-free and paleo-friendly nut butters in unique flavors such as French toast pecan and strawberry cashew. With the seed funding, it plans to invest in building brand awareness and scaling its national retail distribution, though it’s seen great success with online sales over the last year.
Danone invests in functional wellness shots
Danone Manifesto Ventures and several high-profile investors have equipped Moju (London, England) with €2.5 million (about $3.4 million) to accelerate the growth of its functional wellness shots. Formulated without sugar or artificial ingredients, Moju’s product line taps into the functional benefits of plant ingredients such as ginger root, turmeric, lemon and seaweed. Its offerings come in individual and multi-shot bottles, including a recently launched prebiotic beverage, that sell in retail stores and direct-to-consumer online.
Whitebridge adds pet supplement brand
Whitebridge Pet Brands (St. Louis, Missouri) has acquired Grizzly Pet Products (Woodinville, Washington), maker of Wild Alaskan fish oil supplements for cats and dogs. Whitebridge was founded in 2015 as the result of a merger between pet treat manufacturer Cloud Star and Petropics, maker of Tiki Cat and Tiki Dog. Since then, it’s acquired a handful of other pet brands including Dogswell and Pet Botanics. Grizzly Pet Products markets its supplements in pet specialty channels in North America and Europe.
NY startup nabs $15.4M for instant groceries
Groceries delivered in 15 minutes or less: That’s the premise of Fridge No More (Brooklyn, New York), the latest food delivery startup to get funded. A $15.4 million series A from Insight Partners and Altair Capital will fund its expansion across New York City and the East Coast. Fridge No More offers more than 2,000 SKUs through its app-based platform. Orders are picked at its warehouses then delivered by employees on bikes or scooters. Since fulfilling its first order in October, the startup says it now averages 200 orders per day.
Canadian vegan meal kit maker Vegano lifts off with $4.2M
Just a few months after officially launching, new plant-based meal kit delivery company Vegano (Vancouver, British Columbia) has closed a $4.2 million series A. The startup sources fresh ingredients from local suppliers and delivers them to customers weekly. Next on the agenda for Vegano is accelerating product development, boosting marketing efforts, preparing for the upcoming launch of its vegan marketplace, and expanding its services to Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and Los Angeles, California, later this year.
Keto dog food startup closes $2M seed round
Dog food startup KetoNatural Pet Foods (Salt Lake City, Utah) has raised $2 million in seed financing led by Corazon Capital. Founded on the premise that carbohydrates are the root cause of many pets’ health problems, KetoNatural Pet Foods created a high-protein, low-carbohydrate dry food with a nutritional profile that’s similar to fresh or raw food but offers the convenience and price point of kibble. Much of the $2 million investment will go toward marketing, expanding the product line, hiring staff and new scientific work.
Food safety, traceability take center stage in iFoodDS’s $15M series A
iFoodDecisionSciences Inc. (Seattle, Washington) and its fresh food supply chain platform have garnered $15 million in series A funding led by Insight Partners. Next steps for the 8-year-old company are to focus on product innovation and expand into new markets and categories. iFoodDS offers a cloud-based platform to provide growers, processors, distributors and retailers with real-time insights that improve the safety, traceability and quality management of the fresh food supply chain.
Eat Just looks to crack the Canadian market with $200M
Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, has led a $200 million funding round for Eat Just (San Francisco, California), bringing the plant-based food company’s total funding to more than $650 million since 2011. Its first cultured chicken product was approved by regulators in Singapore last year, and it now plans to seek approval in other markets. The funding, which also comes from Charlesbank Capital Partners and Vulcan Capital, will help Eat Just scale its manufacturing operations and work to lower the cost of cultured meat production. Meanwhile, it’s also announced plans to take its pourable Just Egg product to hundreds of grocery stores and foodservice providers in Canada.
Grocery e-commerce firm looks to enter new markets with $21M financing
Stor.ai (Tel Aviv, Israel), formerly known as Self Point, positions itself as an alternative to Instacart, offering end-to-end e-commerce solutions to help retailers thrive in an increasingly digital market. The company announced it closed $21 million in extended series A funding led by Meitav Dash and Mizrahi Tefahot, with support from Kli Capital and individual investors. With the new capital, it plans to build out its digital tools, accelerate growth in North America and enter new markets in Latin America and Europe.
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