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News for September 29, 2021

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

Plant-based pudding startup Noops nabs $2M more in funding

Two months ago, Hungryroot co-founder Gregory Struck raised $2 million in pre-seed funding for his new venture, Noops (spoon spelled backward). He has since nabbed another $2 million for Noops (Roslyn, New York) in a round led by Lerer Hippeau. Struck started the company in 2019 after adopting a plant-based diet while undergoing cancer treatment. The company’s first product is an oat milk-based line that is organic, free of dairy and gluten, contains prebiotics, plant protein and fiber, and has no added sugar. The latest round gives the company a total of $5 million raised to date.


Honey Mama’s raises $10.3M in Series A

Refrigerated cocoa truffle bar maker Honey Mama’s (Portland, Oregon) has raised $10.3 million in a Series A funding round led by Amberstone, a San Francisco-based investment firm. Founded in 2013, the company produces delicious and decadent bars made from raw honey, unrefined coconut oil, cocoa and Himalayan pink salt. The company plans to use the proceeds for brand building, emerging channel development and product innovation. In July, the company completed a nationwide expansion with Whole Foods Market. Honey Mama’s expects to close the year with “dramatic revenue growth,” said CEO Jared Schwartz.


Ripple Foods secures $60M in Series E funding round

Plant-based dairy alt brand Ripple Foods (Emeryville, California) has raised $60M in a Series E funding round led by Rage Capital, Ajax Strategies and S2G Ventures, as well as additional key investors including OurCrowd, GV, Prelude Ventures, Euclidean, Fall Line Capital, and Tao Capital Partners. “Ripple’s growth is outpacing the category by 3x, and we are well-positioned to further accelerate that growth,” said Laura Flanagan, CEO of Ripple Foods. Flanagan says the raise will enable the company to accelerate innovation and growth across product categories as well as expand into new channels and global markets.


Plant-based instant ramen brand Immi gets $3.8M

Immi (San Francisco, California) has raised $3.8 million in seed funding to put a healthy spin on instant ramen. The founders are looking to disrupt the massive market—4 billion packets of instant ramen are sold each year—that has been dominated by the same three players. Immi is plant-based, low carb and low sodium, high fiber and has 22 grams of protein on average. Siddhi Capital led the round and was joined by Palm Tree Crew, Constellation Capital, Animal Capital, Pear Ventures, Collaborative Fund and a group of individuals, including Patrick Schwarzenegger, Kat Cole and Nik Sharma, as well as executives from Thrive Market, Caviar, Daring Foods, Madhappy, Twitch, Kettle & Fire, MUD\WTR, Native, Amity Supply, Visionary Music Group, Italic, Tatcha and Casper.


Amyris buys machine learning tech company Beauty Labs

Amyris (Emeryville, California) has acquired Beauty Labs International Ltd, a data sciences and machine learning technology company that has developed one of the leading consumer applications for “try before you buy” color cosmetics. Amyris, a synthetic biotechnology company, focuses on the “clean health and beauty” markets through consumer brands and as a supplier of sustainable and natural ingredients. “We are delivering the fastest revenue growth of any synthetic biology platform in the world and generate more total revenue than the aggregate of our immediate peers,” said John Melo, president and CEO of Amyris.


Oterra acquires Symrise’s natural colors business

Oterra, formerly known as Chr. Hansen Natural Colors A/S (Horsholm, Denmark), has entered into an agreement to purchase Dianna Foods’ color business from Symrise AG. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. “Consumers these days know what they want, and all research shows that the demand for natural food colors continues to grow strongly,” said Odd Erik Hansen, chief executive officer of Oterra. “The market is expected to reach $3.2 billion by 2027—and adding companies with complementary strengths and offerings to our business will enable us to best help our customers on their journey toward natural.”


Wild Earth secures $23M to make cell-based pet food

Plant-based dog food maker Wild Earth (Berkeley, California) has raised more than $23 million from a group of all-star investors, including Mark Cuban of Shark Tank in 2019. The company then went on to secure $11 million in a Series A round led by VegInvest. The latest funding round included high-profile names including At One Ventures (founded by GoogleX co-founder Tom Chi), Veginvest (early investors in JUST foods and GOOD Meat), Big Idea Ventures (including Tom Mastrobuoni, an early investor and former board member at Beyond Meat), Bitburger Ventures (Venture firm of one of the world’s largest breweries), Gaingels (investing in the best companies that embrace LGBT+ leadership), actor and star of the Vampire Diaries, Paul Wesley, and Mark Cuban, who also acts as business mentor to the company.


Numu Food Group raising Series A funding

Numu Food Group (Brooklyn, New York) has closed its Series A funding round of an undisclosed amount. Numu makes vegan mozzarella with potato starch, soybeans and coconut oil. The product is free of dairy, lactose, casein, nuts and is non-GMO. The round was co-led by Unovis Asset Management and Clear Current Capital and the funds will be used to build awareness of the brand through marketing campaigns and to bolster the company’s distribution and product development.


Alt-dairy startup Formo raises $50M for animal-free cheese fermented from microbes

Formo (Berlin, Germany) has raised $50 million in Series A funding led by Sweden’s EQT Ventures with participation from Elevat3 Capital, Lionheart Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital and Happiness Capital. The funding will be used to “turbomegacharge” its progress by hiring more talent, boosting its R&D and marketing capabilities, and scaling up its production capacity. Originally named Legendairy Foods, Formo was founded in 2018 and focused on replacing the animal, rather than the dairy, by inserting DNA sequencing into microorganisms to “instruct” them to produce casein and whey, the two key proteins in cow’s milk.


Misfits Market closes $225M Series C-1 funding round

Misfits Market (Delanco, New Jersey), an online grocery platform focused on eliminating food waste while expanding food access, has raised $225 million in a Series C-1 round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2* and with participation from Accel to fuel nationwide expansion and increase the election of items available to customers. The investment brings the company’s valuation to $2 billion and the overall funding raised is $526.5 million. “We have seen tremendous growth in 2021 and still have a number of grocery categories lined up and ready to be introduced to the Misfits Market ecosystem,” said Abhi Ramesh, CEO and founder of Misfits Market.


HumanCo raises $35M, acquires Vermont baker Against the Grain

HumanCo (Austin, Texas), a holding company for sustainable, better-for-you consumer packaged goods brands started by Hu co-founder Jason H. Karp, has completed a $35 million bridge round that brings its total funding to $50 million. The company also acquired a majority stake in the family-owned, Vermont-based Against the Grain, which makes grain-free, gluten-free pizzas, breads and cake mixes, for an undisclosed purchase price. Karp, who sold Hu to Mondelez International in January 2021, said he’s “trying to create a one-stop shop for people looking for healthier options.” Karp started Hu with his wife and brother-in-law after finding that a grain-free, paleo diet helped control his various autoimmune disorders.


New Zealand pet food brand Ziwi sold to FountainVest

Chinese private equity firm FountainVest Partners has purchased New Zealand pet food company Ziwi for an undisclosed sum. The deal is speculated to value the company at NZ$1.5 billion ($1.06 billion). Founded in 2002 by Peter Mitchell, a free-range deer farmer, Ziwi sells pet food including air-dried and wet cat and dog food, as well as chews, treats and bones. Its meats and poultry are ethically raised and its seafood is wild-caught and sustainable.


Vegan beauty brand Sugarbear secures strategic investment

Sugarbear Vitamin Care (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) has secured a strategic growth investment from Nexus Capital and Meaningful Partners LLC. Sugarbear makes vegan vitamins that are made in the U.S. with organic and plant-based ingredients. With the investment, Sugarbear plans to expand its product offering from gummies to additional vitamin-infused innovations and expand its market position in hair and other functional supplements. “We are excited by the opportunity to partner with Nicole and the Sugarbear team in supporting the Company’s continued success and evolution from a category-defining gummy vitamin brand into a more holistic beauty and wellness company,” said Michael Cohen, partner at Nexus.


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