HumanCo secures $ 35 million and buys gluten-free pizza maker Against the Grain


Dive brief:

  • HumanCo, the holding company with a portfolio of natural and better-for-you brands, has raised $ 35 million in bridge funding. The companies 8VC and Jazz Venture Partners participated. Personal investors included former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, former Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb, athletes Venus Williams and Andy Roddick, and former models Brooklyn Decker and Cindy Crawford.
  • The platform company also took a controlling stake in cereal and gluten-free bakery company Against the Grain. HumanCo plans to help the Vermont-based family brand become a nationally recognized brand and invest in sales, marketing and innovation.
  • HumanCo, founded by Jason Karp and Ross Berman, has made a name for itself as a lively platform for food innovation. Karp and Berman both have significant investment backgrounds, and Karp previously co-founded the CPG Hu brand – acquired by MondelÄ“z in January – and its associate New York restaurant Hu Kitchen.

Dive overview:

If HumanCo was not already a brand that we are talking about in the field of well-being and natural products, this latest fundraising could be enough to push it there. With a list of funders made up of luminaries from business, sports, health and entertainment, it’s clear that various sectors of society see this business as one of the pathways to the future of the company. food.

Beyond those mentioned above, HumanCo has also benefited from personal investments from the functional medicine expert, Dr Mark. Hyman, Kurt, founder of Vital Proteins Seidensticker, Nick Green, co-founder of Thrive Market, singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes, entertainment industry businessman Hiked Gerber, co-founder of Vista Equity Partners Brian Sheth and the former President and COO of Focus Brands, Kat Cole.

And these investors aren’t just people and companies who know the food business. These are the celebrities that regular consumers idolize, tacitly giving HumanCo extra approval with their personal money.

“HumanCo is the new flagship of unquestionably healthy and delicious food brands,” Cole said in a written statement. “Having led successful global brands for 15 years and having invested in the best brand space for seven years, I can confidently say that no one puts so much high impact intent and high level action into creation. of healthy food brands like Jason Karp and HumanCo. “

The new investment gives HumanCo a greater capacity to reach this future by acquiring brands with potential and by developing its own products. Against the Grain is the third acquisition in the history of HumanCo, after Monty’s vegetable dairy in 2019 and the non-dairy ice cream brand Coconut Bliss in July 2020. HumanCo also owns the better-for-you frozen pizza bites brand Snow Days, which it developed in-house and launched in March.

Against the Grain, which specializes in frozen grain-free pizzas, brownie and cake mixes, as well as bread and bagels, serves a consumer niche and fits into HumanCo’s carefully selected, hypoallergenic product portfolio. . Against the tide was founded over a decade ago by Nancy and Tom Cain, former academics who developed their gluten-free pizza recipe after Tom and one of their children were diagnosed with celiac disease. It has grown to a $ 20 million per year company with 100 employees, selling products in about 15,000 stores nationwide, according to a 2019 article in VT Digger.

Tom cain told the local newspaper the Brattleboro Reformer last month that the company had long wanted to expand, but lacked the expertise or capacity to do so. HumanCo chief operating officer Amy Zipper told the newspaper that the Cains, their employees, and A’s Vermont operations against Grain would all remain in place.

Although this fundraising and acquisition represents a new opportunity for HumanCo, it is not the only one that looms in the future. Last December, a ad hoc acquisition company co-sponsored by HumanCo and CAVU Venture Partners began trading on NASDAQ. The PSPC, which is currently valued at $ 374.8 million, will ultimately be used to help a company that upholds HumanCo’s values ​​of health, wellness and sustainability go public, Karp said in a previous report. interview. While no one knows when this deal will happen, it’s clear that there are investors out there who trust Karp’s choices.

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