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News for May 27, 2020

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

Spiceology secures $2M amid pandemic slowdown

Chef-owned and -operated spice company Spiceology (Spokane, Washington) has raised $2 million from investors including media company Cowles Co. and Kickstart Funds III & IV. The capital will help Spiceology ramp up marketing efforts and weather the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, company leaders told a local news outlet. Last year, Spiceology brought in about $6 million in sales from its lineup of more than 250 spices, blends, herbs, chiles, salts and other ingredients.


IAG joins Griffith Foods

Family-owned ingredient supplier Griffith Foods (Alsip, Illinois) now includes International Agriculture Group (Mooresville, North Carolina) in  its family of brands. IAG’s flagship product is Nubana Green Banana Powder, a high-fiber ingredient that’s well-suited for use in powders, beverage mixes, bars and raw vegan products. Griffith Foods’ resources and expertise will help sustain the company’s rapid growth, IAG CEO Maurice Moragne said. The companies first partnered in 2016, when Griffith Foods brought IAG’s green banana powder to market.


Investors pump $8M into intermittent fasting app Zero

The entrepreneur who sold coaching app Fitstar to Fitbit for $25 million in 2015 has closed an $8 million Series A for his newest app venture, Zero. Mike Maser now helms Big Sky Health (Big Sky, Montana), which also has a meditation app, Oak, and an alcohol-consumption tracking app called Less. Greycroft led the Series A, which also included True Ventures and Trinity Ventures. Zero recently launched a premium service to supply users with custom fasting recommendations and has plans to build more social features into the app.


With Series C, Imperfect Foods racks up $119M in total funding

Imperfect Foods (San Francisco, California), a pioneer in delivering would-be wasted produce to consumers in curated subscription boxes, has raised a $72 million Series C. Led by Insight Partners with support from Norwest Venture Partners, the round will bring delivery service to new regions, increase fulfillment capacity and enhance technology, the company says. Imperfect Foods launched in 2015 as Imperfect Produce and last year began offering other items such as meat, dairy and shelf-stable products.


Canadian meal kit delivery company gets $7M as demand surges

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving increased consumer interest in meal kit delivery. Fresh Prep (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) is benefiting from that increase, as well as from a $7 million Series A led by sustainability focused venture firm Renewal Funds. Founded in 2015, Fresh Prep delivers local, pre-chopped ingredients to its subscribers in reusable cooler bags. Company leadership says the funding will allow them to hire more employees and invest in automation technology.


DSM backs Phynova in $10.9M funding round

DSM’s (Heerlen, Netherlands) venture fund, DSM Venturing, has invested in previous NCN presenter Phynova (Oxford, England), which develops natural health products and functional ingredients from plants. DSM led the €10 million round ($10.8 million on May 13), which will support fulfillment of orders for Reducose, a product Phynova developed from mulberry leaves to reduce the body’s absorption of sugars and other carbohydrates. DSM and Phynova have had a strategic partnership to bring the product to market since 2018.


Social enterprise raises $3.1M to build food distribution infrastructure in Tanzania

East Africa Fruits (Tanzania, East Africa) announced a $3.1 million Series A that included $2 million in equity and additional debt capital to address food distribution challenges. East Africa Fruits was formed in 2013 to reduce waste by aggregating and distributing produce from smallholder farms. The investment will allow the company to acquire new machinery for its distribution center and build technology and infrastructure to better store and distribute produce. Goodwell Investments led the round. FINCA Ventures and Elea also participated.


Hain continues to downsize, divests Rudi’s

In Hain Celestial’s (New Hyde Park, New York) quest to simplify its portfolio, it has sold the Rudi’s Organic Bakery (Boulder, Colorado) brand to an undisclosed buyer. Earlier this year, it shed two other brands, Casbah and Europe’s Best. The company bought Rudi’s in 2014 for $61.3 million. It’s now working to scale down its portfolio and focus on core brands to become more profitable.


Seraphina Therapeutics attracts $5.5M to bring a new fatty acid to market

Domain Associates led a $5.5 million Series A round for Seraphina Therapeutics (San Diego, California). At the core of Seraphina is C15:0 or pentadecanoic acid, a fatty acid present in butter and some fish and plants. The startup plans to commercialize C15:0 as a supplement and food fortifier to help strengthen cells and counter age-related cell breakdown. 


Spanish startup secures $5.5M for sustainable fats

Cubiq Foods (Barcelona, Spain) is working on a cultured animal fat product to complement newly developed cultured meat products. The company recently secured a €5 million ($5.9 million on May 15) investment led by foodtech investor Blue Horizon Ventures and Moira Capital Partners SGEIC. Smart Fat, which is in development, enhances the flavor and replaces animal fats in processed meat products, dairy alternatives and other vegan foods. It also produces an omega-3 ingredient for functional foods. The investment will help Cubiq Foods ramp up production and launch industrially at the end of the year.


Kopi Kenangan lands $109M investment, finds sweet spot in Indonesian coffee market

With 324 coffee shops across Indonesia, budget-friendly Kopi Kenangan (Jakarta, Indonesia) embraces creative coffee concoctions, online ordering and delivery. Behind Kopi Kenagan is a lineup of powerful investors, including Sequoia Capital, which led its new $109 million round. B Capital, Horizon Ventures, Verlinvest, Kunlun, Sofina and Alpha JWC Ventures also contributed to the round. Part of the funding will go toward protecting its 3,000 employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kopi Kenangan said. It will also continue building its operations in Indonesia, launching new products and investing in technology.


Biomarine ingredients maker Algaia brings in $2.4M

Algaia (Lannilis, France) has closed a €2.2 million ($2.4 million on May 13) funding round. which it says will fuel continued double-digit growth. Algaia produces natural seaweed extracts and solutions for nutrition, personal care and plant industries. Its new VegAlg line comprises seaweed-based texturizing ingredients that add juiciness to plant-based burgers. Over the last three years, Algaia has invested in building its manufacturing and R&D facilities. It reported 25% sales growth in the first four months of 2020 and has noted high demand for vegan applications.


Foodie Card lifts off with $1.5M seed round

Do-good dining subscription startup Foodie Card (New York, New York) has raised $1.5 million from Ruttenberg Gordon Investments and several individual investors. Founded in 2018, Foodie Cart offers customers 10% off at select local restaurants in exchange for a $29.99 membership fee. It also partners with food banks to donate a day’s worth of meals for one person for every card purchased. Foodie Cart plants to hire staff, enhance its technology and grow its restaurant and food bank networks.


Tock takes in $10M to help high-end restaurants transition to takeout

Six-year-old Tock (Chicago, Illinois) built a digital platform that typically manages prepaid reservations for high-end eateries. But as the COVID-19 pandemic put restaurants in a bind, it shifted its focus to helping upscale eateries manage pickup and delivery. Valor Siren Ventures (a fund backed by Starbucks) led a $10 million financing round for Tock, which also saw participation from Origin Ventures. The company says it will continue to develop new tools that restaurants need to reopen.


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