Spain’s Väcka has secured €1.1 million in funding to improve and expand its vegan cheeses made from olive oil and fermented melon seed milk.
Participants in the round included Capital V, Big Idea Ventures, and Leanox Venture Capital, along with angel investors such as Rat Gasol and private investors like Birdman CEO Álvaro Martínez Gallardo.
Väcka closed the past year with a turnover of €285,000 and a sales increase of almost 300%. With international expansion and a significant increase in points of sale on the cards, the company expects a huge rise in turnover to €1.5 million in 2023.
“The amount raised will enable us this year to reach 3,000 points of sale, address international expansion, and grow organically,” said Luz Sanz, co-founder and CEO of Väcka. The company will also use some of the funding to improve the texture, behaviour, and elasticity of its products.
Väcka offers what are claimed to be the world’s only cheeses made from melon seeds and olive oil. The melon seeds replace fermented almond milk, significantly reducing water use and providing a high dose of the macronutrient linoleic acid.
Extra virgin olive oil is used instead of coconut oil, slashing the amount of saturated fat in the cheeses by 73.5%. Ingredients such as oats and beans have also been added, increasing nutritional value while improving melting properties.
Currently, two of Väcka’s products — Mözza and Pumpkin Chxddar — have been modified to use these ingredients. The company plans to do the same for its Vrie and Filä cheeses. Last year, Väcka’s was named one of the winners of the Carrefour Plant-Based Contest as a result of its innovation.
“In the laboratory, we do constant research and development work to improve both the appearance of the products and the performance of the ingredients used in their production, and on the environmental impact of the production process,” said Väcka CTO Maxime Boniface.