Heura closes Series B round, forming plant-based alliance

© Heura

Heura Raises €40M, Forming Strategic Plant-Based Alliance With Upfield & More

Spanish plant meat leader Heura has raised €40 million in Series B funding, in what it claims is the largest plant-based funding round of 2023. Heura states the funding will drive the company to profitability and reinforce its position as a frontrunner in the industry. The brand is already a leader in the Spanish market and continues to expand across markets such as the UK, France, and Italy. The round saw participation from leading plant-based company Upfield, venture capital firm Unovis Asset Management, food tech fund the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund, and impact investor Newtree Impact. According to Heura, these investors will form a strategic coalition, creating “one of the biggest plant-based alliances”. The companies will join a board that aims to increase Heura’s impact …


The COLIPI team

The COLIPI team (from left to right): Erich Müller, Dr. Philipp Arbter, Dr. Tyll Utesch, Jonas Heuer, Maximilian Webers, Maëlle Grimault, Dr. Jan Herzog and Arjun Krishnakumar © COLIPI

Hamburg: COLIPI Receives €1.8M in Seed Financing to Further Develop CO2-Neutral Oil

Thanks to an innovative fermentation process, COLIPI is achieving a breakthrough in more sustainable alternatives to petroleum and palm oil for a wide range of industrial sectors. Investors in the seed financing include the High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), the Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg (IFH), Nidobirds Ventures GmbH and Stefan De Loecker. The capital will be used to expand the team, test the market together with partner-made products, and scale the technology. The startup, founded in 2022 by Philipp Arbeiter, Tyll Utesch, Jonas Heuer and Maximilian Weber, is a spin-off from the Technical University of Hamburg. The founders aim to produce millions of tons of climate oil per year from 2039 and displace this amount of CO2 severalfold. The seed financing that has now been completed is another …


Planet A Foods founders

Drs. Max and Sara Marquart. © Planet A Foods

Planet A Foods Raises $14.5M to Fuel Mass-Market Expansion for Cocoa-Free Chocolate

German food tech startup Planet A Foods has raised $14.5 million in Series A funding to fuel the international expansion of its cocoa-free chocolate, ChoViva. The round was led by leading climate venture fund World Fund, with participation from Omnes Capital, Cherry Ventures, Mudcake, and more. Some of the funding has already been used to scale up production at Planet A’s factory, allowing the company to produce 750kg of ChoViva per hour. This will help to make the chocolate alternative — which is already very affordable — even cheaper. The funding will also be used to propel Planet A’s mission of becoming a leader in the chocolate alternatives market. It comes after the company secured a partnership with Lindt last year to launch a limited-edition …


NFL players invest in robot-powered meat-free restaurant

© Kernel

NFL Stars Invest in Chipotle Founder’s Robot-Powered Meat-Free Restaurant

Kernel, the robot-powered meat-free restaurant concept created by Chipotle founder Steve Ells, has received funding from two star NFL players. Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (who is vegan) and New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones have both invested in the company, receiving equity stakes in exchange. The first Kernel restaurant is set to open in the Flatiron District of New York City on February 12, at 315 Park Ave South. It will initially focus on lunch, opening from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Kernel previously raised $36 million in Series A funding in August; participants included Raga Partners, Willoughby Capital, Rethink Food, and Virtru. Improved efficiency Kernel aims to address inefficiencies in food service by using a semi-automated operational process, featuring a robotic arm to …


Meat the Mushroom shark tank

© Meat the Mushroom

Meat the Mushroom Secures $150,000 Investment from Shark Tank for Mushroom-Based Vegan Bacon

Baltimore-based startup Meat the Mushroom has secured a $150,000 investment from “Shark Tank” investors Kevin O’Leary and Lori Greiner. This deal, struck on the popular ABC show on Friday, gives the investors a 33.3% stake in the company, known for its clean-label vegan bacon alternative, Shroomacon. Founded in May 2021 by Marvin Montague Jr. and his wife Aleah Rae, Meat the Mushroom reflects Montague Jr.’s personal health journey. Transitioning to a vegan diet, he credits his diet change with overcoming an early diagnosis of heart disease and chronic asthma, according to a statement on the company’s website. This paved the way for Shroomacon, a simple product made from five ingredients: king oyster mushrooms, olive oil, natural smoke flavor, salt, and black pepper. Unlike many meat …


Plan(e)t Foods carbon-negative plant-based ice cream

© Plan(e)t Foods

Plan(e)t Foods Pitches Carbon-Negative Plant-Based Ice Cream on Dragons’ Den Greece

Plan(e)t Foods, a Greek company producing what is claimed to be the world’s first carbon-negative plant-based ice cream, has made an appearance on the business pitching TV show Dragons’ Den Greece. The pitch was so successful that the Dragons competed to invest in Plan(e)t Foods, with the company successfully gaining a funding deal. A clip of the show can be viewed on Plan(e)t Foods’ YouTube channel. “Having spontaneous (unsponsored) reviews of your product being aired on a prime time TV show = priceless,” said founder Greg Bograkos on LinkedIn. “We’re replacing old-fashioned dairy ice cream, taking one step at a time.” Plan(e)t Foods now plans to launch a range of four ice cream bars at major supermarket chains across Greece. The company previously gained listings …


The Coconut Collab yogurts

© The Coconut Collab

The Coconut Collab Raises £1.5M in Series B Funding After Seeing 15% YOY Growth

The Coconut Collab, a UK producer of coconut-based dairy alternatives, has raised £1.5 million in its Series B funding round. The funding comes from existing shareholders, including US-based Ground Force Capital (formerly PowerPlant Ventures). This investment management firm previously funded The Coconut Collab’s $7 million Series A round, which was used to help the company expand within the UK and internationally. The new capital will be used to help The Coconut Collab transition from startup to scaling phase, accelerating growth and establishing a more mainstream presence throughout the UK and Europe. The company is already seeing double-digit year-over-year growth, with 15% growth in 2023. “The Coconut Collab has demonstrated rapid growth in the ten years since its inception,” said founder James Averdieck, “which has been …


Tina Funder. © ALT.Leather

Australia’s ALT.Leather Closes Oversubscribed $1.1M Round for Biodegradable Leather Alternative

Female-led Australian startup ALT.Leather has raised $1.1 million in an oversubscribed seed funding round after developing a plastic-free, bio-based leather alternative. Investors in the round included Startmate, The Austin Group, Wollemi Capital Group, The Alice Anderson Fund, and various angel investors. ALT.Leather will use the funding for further research and the production of samples for interested brands; the startup is also filing for a patent. ALT.Leather’s material is made from agricultural waste and regeneratively grown plants, with no animal products or petroleum-derived plastics. It is suitable for fashion, furniture, the automotive industry, and more. The leather alternative is “designed for end-of-life”, and is being tested to ensure it can be recycled or biodegrade without harming the environment. Bio-based vegan leather ALT.Leather was founded by Tina …


Chunk Foods 6oz plant-based steak

Supplied by Chunk Foods

Chunk Foods Secures $7.5M Amid Strategic Collab with Better Balance for Vegan Whole Cuts

Better Balance, a plant-based subsidiary of Mexico-based multinational food processing company Sigma Alimentos, one of Latin America’s largest meat and dairy producers, announces a strategic partnership with New York-headquartered startup Chunk Foods to develop co-branded plant-based whole cuts for the Latin American market. The strategic collaboration follows a $7.5 million seed extension for Chunk Foods led by Cheyenne Ventures, which the startup says reflects “ongoing investor confidence” in its vision as well as the potential of plant-based whole cuts. The extension brings the seed round to a total raise of $22M, making it one of the largest seed rounds in the alt protein category, according to the company. Through the alliance, Chunk is set to develop a new line of co-branded plant-based whole-cut meats, marking …


Infinite Roots raises Europe's largest investment in mycelium

Image courtesy of Infinite Roots

Infinite Roots Raises $58M in “Europe’s Largest Investment in Mycelium”

German biotech Infinite Roots (previously Mushlabs) has secured $58 million in an oversubscribed Series B funding round. The sum is said to be Europe’s largest ever investment in mycelium. The round was led by Dr. Hans Riegel Holding, a holding company for confectionery group Haribo, with support from the EIC Fund (an initiative by the European Commission). Other participants included REWE Group, Clay Capital, FoodLabs, and more. Infinite Roots will use the funding to “move into a new era of commercial growth”, which will include expanding production capacities and launching worldwide. The company said that securing such a large sum in the current challenging economic climate was a testament to its technology and expertise. “A new era” Infinite Roots uses patented fermentation technologies to develop …


Heather Mills saves VBites from administration

© Heather Mills

Heather Mills Saves VBites From Administration, Purchasing Assets for £1M

Heather Mills has saved VBites from administration after purchasing the company’s assets “at great personal cost”, in a deal reported by administrator Interpath Advisory to be worth £1 million. Mills acquired the 30-year-old plant-based food company in 2009 and has remained a majority shareholder ever since, though German investor NRH acquired 34% of shares in 2021. In December 2023, it was announced that VBites had entered administration, with Mills blaming various factors such as “corporate greed”, Brexit, “galvanised misinformation” from the meat and dairy industries, and “nefarious practices” by utility companies that made energy unaffordable. Interpath Advisory said VBites’ move to a larger facility in 2021 had compounded the company’s difficulties by increasing operating costs. But in a recent LinkedIn post, Mills said VBites had …


UK food and beverage sector sees increase in mergers and acquisitions

© Meatless Farm

UK F&B Sector Sees Increase in Mergers and Acquisitions, But Plant-Based Shakeout Continues

According to a new report by corporate finance house Oghma Partners, there has been a significant increase in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the UK food and beverage sector over the past year. However, plant-based companies have continued to face difficulties. In 2023, total deal volume increased to 116, up from 74 in 2022. Total deal value rose by around 20%, reaching £2,100 million. In the first half of the year, issues that had affected deals in 2022 — such as inflationary cost pressures, the cost of living crisis, and the increased cost of debt — continued to suppress higher-value deals. However, there was an increase in activity in the second half of the year, reflecting pent-up seller activity and businesses acquired out of administration; …


v2food acquires plant-based ready meal brand Soulara

© Soulara

Australia’s v2food Acquires Plant-Based Ready Meal Brand Soulara

Australian alt meat manufacturer v2food has acquired plant-based ready meal brand Soulara, which is also based in Australia. Soulara’s meals — which include options such as Thai-Style Tofu and Eggplant Caponata with Ravioli — are delivered directly to consumers’ doors and can be prepared in three minutes. Through the acquisition, v2food hopes to expand beyond retail and food service into direct-to-consumer sales. Soulara will be integrated into v2food under a new entity called Flexitarian Meal Solutions, along with MACROS, a fitness-focused ready meal brand also owned by v2food. “We know consumers want to eat more plant-based products in their diets, but some of the barriers to making this change are concerns around taste and how to cook them,” said Tim York, CEO of v2food. “By …


Next Level Burger

© Next Level Burger

Next Level Burger Leads Veggie Grill Out of Financial Distress With Company Acquisition

Plant-based burger chain Next Level Burger (NLB) has announced the acquisition of vegan fast-casual chain Veggie Grill from VegInvest. The agreement comes as a rescue mission for Veggie Grill, which faced financial distress in the wake of various operational decisions, including the closure of several establishments, ultimately pushing it to the brink of bankruptcy in the previous year. At its peak, Veggie Grill operated 35 locations across the United States, but by September 2023, the number had dwindled to 17, with the brand attributing the setback to a substantial decline in lunch trade during the pandemic. Following the acquisition, VegInvest has transitioned into a mission-aligned shareholder and partner within NLB’s framework. With Veggie Grill now under its umbrella, NLB now boasts an extensive network of …


Swiss biotech company Evolva

© Evolva

Canadian Yeast Specialist Lallemand Acquires Swiss Biotech Company Evolva

Lallemand Inc., a Canadian company specializing in yeast-based ingredients, has confirmed that its subsidiary Danstar Ferment AG has acquired Swiss biotech company Evolva AG. Similarly to Lallemand, Evolva is focused on researching, developing, and commercializing natural yeast-derived ingredients. The company’s products are used in several sectors, including flavors and fragrances, health ingredients, cosmetics, and health protection. The transaction was announced to the Swiss Stock Exchange on November 21, and was confirmed by shareholders of Evolva Holding — Evolva’s previous parent company — at a general meeting on December 21. The initial purchase price is CHF 20 million (US$23.5 million), though this may be adjusted. Evolva Holding may also receive a payout of up to CHF 10 million (US$11.75 million) if certain product-based sales targets are …


Birdman love animals eat plants

© Birdman

Mexican Plant Protein Company Birdman Surpasses $65M in Sales

Lever VC, a venture capital firm focused on the future of protein, has increased its equity stake in Birdman, a leading plant-based protein company in Mexico set to expand into the US, as the company experiences a significant surge in sales. This investment comes as Birdman demonstrates impressive sales performance, achieving a $65 million sales run rate amidst a challenging economic landscape. Founded in 2016 in Guadalajara, Mexico, Birdman rapidly bootstrapped to $15 million in sales by 2021, prior to attracting its first external funding. The company’s plant-based protein powders and supplements have gained popularity across Mexico, surpassing industry averages in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) sector, with EBITDA margins exceeding 35%. According to Nick Cooney, managing partner at Lever VC, which expanded its equity …


Cultured Foods burger

© Cultured Foods

CV Sciences Expands into European Plant-Based Food Market with Acquisition of Cultured Foods

American consumer wellness brand CV Sciences has officially publicized the purchase of Cultured Foods, a European manufacturer and distributor of vegan food products. This strategic move allows CV Sciences to tap into the plant-based food market and aims to establish a foothold in the European market for its flagship brand, PlusCBD. With a presence across 15 European countries, Cultured Foods produces a diverse range of plant-based offerings, including vEGGs egg alternatives, meat-free burger mixes, stew and gravy mixes, ground meat substitutes, and plant-based cheese mixes. With the acquisition, the company aims to introduce Cultured Foods vegan products to the United States while simultaneously creating a platform for the sale and distribution of PlusCBD products throughout Europe. Strategic expansion and diversification The purchase of Cultured Foods …


Clever Carnivore has raised $7 million in seed round funding to expand and scale its operations.

© Clever Carnivore

Clever Carnivore Secures $7M to Expand its “Astoundingly” Low-Cost Cultivated Pork Production

Chicago’s first cultivated meat company, Clever Carnivore, has raised $7 million in seed round funding to expand and scale its operations. The company has developed a platform to cultivate pork at low costs. Led by former Tyson Foods executive Russell Thomas, VP of product development, Clever Carnivore has created a prototype, the Clever Bratwurst, that it plans to unveil in early 2024. The biotech’s expansion plans include relocating its inaugural lab operations in Lincoln Park to a larger nearby facility with a 500 L bioreactor capacity and space for a test kitchen. “We’ve been tracking and investing across the global cultivated meat sector since the first such company launched eight years ago, and we haven’t seen anyone come remotely close to Clever Carnivore’s astoundingly low current …


Rügenwalder Mühle

©Rügenwalder Mühle

Pfeifer & Langen Acquires Majority Stake in Rügenwalder Mühle Ahead of Future Plant-Based Growth

Rügenwalder Mühle, the German family company which famously began as an animal-based sausage producer and went on to become the German market leader for plant-based meat products, has sold a majority stake to the holding company Pfeifer & Langen IHKG, which also owns stakes in vegan companies Vbites and endori. Based in Cologne, Pfeifer & Langen IHKG is an in-family-owned food company whose historical core is the sugar manufacturer Pfeifer & Langen. Its subsidiaries include Intersnack, a manufacturer of snacks that owns the British household name KP Snacks. Pfeifer & Langen acquired a 25.1% minority stake in Heather Mills’ Vbites in 2021, allowing the company to significantly expand capacity at its factory in Peterlee, England. The multi-million pound investment was said to have created hundreds …


Solar Foods raises €8M in oversubscribed funding round

© Solar Foods

Air Protein Producer Solar Foods Raises €8M in Oversubscribed Funding Round

Finland’s Solar Foods, a company developing “food out of thin air”, has raised €8 million in an oversubscribed funding round. The round was conducted via Finnish investment organiser Springvest Oyj, and is the largest to ever take place on the platform. Registration was initially planned to be open until November 10, but the round reached capacity almost two weeks early following “overwhelming demand” from investors. Solar Foods will use the funding to ramp up production at its first commercial-scale facility, Factory 01, and commercialise Solein (the company’s protein) in food products. Operations at the facility are expected to begin in the first half of next year. Solar Foods produces protein by feeding microorganisms with carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen from the air; the hydrogen and …