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News for May 12, 2021

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

Sports nutrition company Picky Bars scooped up by Laird Superfood

Laird Superfood (Sisters, Oregon), which is backed by Danone and went public last year on NYSE, has acquired Picky Bars (Bend, Oregon) for $12 million. Laird Hamilton, founder of Laird Superfood, had been impressed by Picky Bars’ business for years. “For us, it’s about finding that authentic connection and passion for building delicious, better-for-you that everyone can enjoy, and we see that same drive within Picky Bars,” Hamilton said.


Plant-based ice cream Wildgood ships to consumer doorsteps for $9

Olive oil ice cream brand Wildgood (Montpelier, Vermont) is now shipping anywhere in the continental U.S. Wildwood, a plant-based ice cream made with extra virgin olive oil, is expanding to direct-to-consumer distribution for $9 per pint (plus tax and shipping) after rolling out to Whole Foods Market, Wegmans and other select grocery stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.


Renewal Mill closes a $250,000 investment with ICA’s Growth Fund

ICA Accelerator alumni Renewal Mill (Oakland, California) received $250,000 from ICA’s Growth Fund toward the upcycled food company’s $1 million funding round. ICA’s Growth Fund, which makes growth equity investments of $100,000 to $1 million, focuses on serving entrepreneurs of color and women. In this funding round, ICA is joined by Beyond Impact Advisors, Emil Capital Partners and the Georgetown Angel Investor Network.


Personalized nutrition startup Zoe gets $20M from football players and others

Zoe, a personalized nutrition startup based in London, England, and Boston, Massachusetts, has raised a total of $53 million with the close of its latest B finding round. The round was led by Ahren Innovation Capital, which counts two Nobel laureates as science partners, as well as two former American football players, Eli Manning and Ositadimma Umenyiora. Zoe was founded in 2017 but researched the gut biome for its first three years, with the help of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital, Stanford Medicine, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and King’s College London. The company is named after the Greek word for “life.”


Pete and Gerry’s acquired by private equity firm Butterfly

Organic egg company Pete and Gerry’s (Monroe, New Hampshire) has been acquired by private equity firm Butterfly (Los Angeles, California) for an undisclosed amount. Pete and Gerry’s Organics—producer of organic, free-range and pasture-raised eggs under its Pete and Gerry’s Organics, Nellie’s Free Range and Consider Pastures brands—had over $200 million in sales in 2018. Butterfly purchased Orgain in 2019. British Columbia Investment Management Corporation and Laflamme are minority investors in Pete and Gerry’s.


Biofabrication company Modern Meadow nabs $130M

Modern Meadow (Nutley, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York) raised $130 million in a Series C funding round led by Key Partners Capital and participation from Astanor Ventures, Horizons Ventures and Cape Capital. The company, which recently named Anna Bakst as CEO, uses biofabrication to create sustainable materials by integrating design, biology and material science. The raise will go toward research and development across material science and biotechnology.


Gaming company Razer invests in bamboo toilet tissue brand

Razer (Irvine, California, and Singapore), which designs hardware, peripherals and accessories for gamers, has announced a seed investment in The Nurturing Co. (Singapore), which makes sustainable consumer products including Bambooloo, toilet paper made from sustainably sourced bamboo pulp and sold in plastic-free packaging. The investment is the first from the company’s Razer Green Fund, a $50 million commitment and part of the company’s 10-year sustainability roadmap that it revealed in March. The fund aims to “foster a green mindset amongst Razer’s community of youth, millennials and Gen Z” gamers, Razer said in a statement.


Something Better Foods gets $500,000 investment from ICA

Plant-based protein maker Something Better Foods (Vallejo, California) has received a $500,000 investment from ICA. “With this investment, we will be able to expand our operations and provide meaningful employment opportunities for the local community,” said Chef GW Chew, CEO of Something Better Foods. Since December, ICA has deployed more than $1.5 million in growth equity to Bay Area companies.


GW “Chef” Chew on fighting food deserts in America

A conversation with GW Chew: How the natural products industry can better serve people of color


Unilever to acquire Onnit

Unilever has added Onnit (Austin, Texas) to its growing wellness and supplement portfolio. Onnit, which was founded in 2010, makes supplements with ingredients that support cognitive function—including Alpha Brain, a nootropic for better memory, focus and mental processing—mood and relaxation, gut health and immunity. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Onnit will continue to be based in Austin and led by CEO Jason Harvey.


King’s Hawaiian buys Grillo’s Pickles

Grillo’s Pickles (Boston, Massachusetts) has been sold to bakery company King’s Hawaiian (Torrance, California) for an undisclosed amount. CEO and founder Travis Grillo has left the company but the company will remain in Boston. Investors in the brand included Breakaway Capital, Centerman Capital and Food Retail Ventures.


Tony’s Chocolonely acquires a chocolate factory to mold its own bars

Tony’s Chocolonely (Amsterdam, Netherlands), a company whose mission is to end slavery in the chocolate supply chain, has purchased Althaea-De Laet International NV, a Borsbeek, Belgium, factory that has been Tony’s co-packer. With the acquisition, Tony’s Chocolonely will operate its own factory to innovate faster, provide more product flexibility and increase manufacturing capacity. Slave Free Chocolate recently dropped Tony’s Chocolonely from its list of ethical producers because a processor is being sued for using child labor on a cocoa plantation.
Read more at Anti-slavery chocolate is taken off ethical list


Evo Foods secures $845K and readies for India market launch

Plant-based egg startup Evo Foods (Mumbai, India) closed its pre-seed round, raising $845,000 to prepare for its launch in the India market and grow its R&D and marketing teams. The company, which was founded in 2019 by Kartik Dixit and Shraddha Bhansali, is preparing for an international launch in 2022. Evo makes a 100% vegan egg liquid from lentils. The round received support from Sustainable Food Ventures; Michiel Van Deursen at Capital V; Vaibhav Domkundwar at Better Capital; Anil Advani at Inventus Law; Sweden-based Kale United; Seven Hound ventures of Los Angeles, California; Hearthstone Investments, and members of the U.S.-based Glasswall Syndicate.


Biotech company Longevica to launch supplement line later this year

After spending 11 years researching supplements to increase human longevity, Longevica (Princeton, New Jersey) says it created a biotechnology platform from studying the lifespan of laboratory mice. With that technology, and $13 million it recently raised from investors, Longevica plans to launch medicines, dietary supplements and food later this year. Longevica’s platform is based on the work of Alexey Ryazanov, a molecular biologist and professor of pharmacology at Rutgers University who holds 10 U.S. patents and is a longtime researcher into the regulation of protein biosynthesis cells.


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