Popular Netherlands alt cheese startup Willicroft announces today it has raised €2 million to fuel growth in the UK, Germany and the Nordics. Willicroft is environmentally focused and previously altered its recipes to a legume base for increased sustainability.
“Our new bean-based range produces up to 5 times less CO2 than the dairy alternatives it’s replacing.”
The pre-seed round was led by Rockstart, Paulig’s venture arm PINC, Döhler and Feast Ventures as co-investors. The brand was previously backed by Capital V, the VC firm founded by prolific vegan investor Michiel van Deursen.
A planet-forward success story
Based in Amsterdam, Wllicroft was originally founded as a dairy farm in the UK in 1957 and relaunched in its present form as a plant-based cheese company in Amsterdam in 2018, going on to become the first plant-based cheese company to become BCorp in Europe.
After enjoying success in the Netherlands and Belgium, the brand’s This is Not Cheese range expanded into the UK in 2020, and is now set to enter further European markets as it continues its mission to bring sustainable cheese to the masses.
Co-Founder and CEO Brad Vanstone says: “Our new bean-based range produces up to 5 times less CO2 than the dairy alternatives it’s replacing. We need holistic solutions to tackle major changes in our food system – having recently secured B Corp status, we believe we’re on track to address these problems at their root cause.
“With this new raise we’ll be bringing our delicious, beautifully branded range of PBC’s to 3 new markets […] continuing on our quest to become the world’s first net positive plant-based cheese company”
“With this new raise locked in we’ll be bringing our delicious, beautifully branded range of PBCs to 3 new markets: the UK, Germany and the Nordics, bringing in senior hires and continuing on our quest to become the world’s first net-positive plant-based cheese company. Our new investor group can help open up a number of new markets whilst also fast-tracking our products’ continued evolution.”
“Willicroft is by far the tastiest plant-based cheese range we have come across. It has a more nutritious and sustainable ingredient list than most alternatives available today and a high-powered team with traction in Europe, so we could not be more excited to support this venture”, says Marika King, Head of PINC, the venture arm of Paulig.
Mark Durno, Managing Partner AgriFood, Rockstart states: “Willicroft is taking plant-based dairy alternatives to the next level. Alongside making delicious products (I’ve tasted several, I recommend them!), they are helping farmers to transition to sustainable production by enabling a local supply chain without the need for monocropping or highly processed ingredients. They have spent the last years understanding their consumers and their footprint, and the next phase will be to put those learnings to scale.”