The Craftory is a VC firm with a focus on ethical CPG brands, whose purpose is to “champion change to make responsible CPG the new norm”. Its impressive portfolio includes NotCo, allplants, and Hippeas amongst many others.
The company describes itself as the first investment house for mission-driven challenger brands in Consumer Goods, setting out its vision to “create a world where all consumer CPG choices recognise the benefits and consequences of consumption – on their own lives, the planet, and our society”.
We spoke with Co-Founder Elio Leoni Sceti, who is also Chairman of LSG Holdings and Non-Executive Director of Anheuser-Busch InBev, Kraft Heinz, and Barry Callebaut. As well as being known for his previous role as CEO of EMI Music from 2008 to 2010, Sceti was previously CEO of Iglo Birdseye until it was acquired by Nomad Foods.
What is The Craftory and what makes it unique?
We are a global investment house and the original source of “cause-capital” for fast-growing, responsible CPG. By ‘responsible’ we mean disruptive consumer brands that measurably change the status quo of their category for the benefit of consumers, the planet and society.
“By ‘responsible’ we mean disruptive consumer brands that measurably change the status quo of their category”
Founded in early 2018 and based in London and San Francisco, we offer permanent and growth-stage capital, as well as strategic and operational expertise that covers industry networking, founder mentoring, branding, marketing science, innovation, go to market, and scale-up.
We’re here to help fast growing responsible brands professionalise and scale effectively, without compromising. Our investment portfolio includes emerging household names that your readers may recognize such as The NotCo, Who Gives a Crap, Freddie’s Flowers, Seed, Dyper, Hippeas.
What are the values and ethos behind the company?
Our goal is to change the CPG industry so that responsible CPG is the new norm.
“Given a fair choice we believe regular people will choose the better option”
We’re creating a world where all consumer CPG choices recognise the benefits and consequences of consumption. Given a fair choice we believe regular people will choose the better option, and that can create scale and positive impact fast.
Our investments are selected on the basis of impact and economics – ‘go good and do well’ is the mantra for us. We use advanced software to model and analyse the economics, and work within the UN Sustainable Development Goals framework to define cause.
Which vegan companies do you have in your portfolio at present?
There are currently five: The NotCo, Hippeas, allplants, Seed and Present Life.
Tell us about your role in the recent NotCo and Kraft Heinz joint venture. Why is it such a crucial move?
We’ve been collaborating with NotCo since their 2019 Series B, supporting their growth through LATAM and their successful North American launch. The potential upside was instantly clear to us: NotCo’s AI Giuseppe represents an enduring and practically limitless source of food innovation. In less than five years, NotCo has become one of the fastest-growing food tech companies in the world. They are on a mission to replace animal-based foods entirely, in turn reversing the harm that their production has caused to the planet.
Kraft Heinz has the platform to bring these healthy and sustainable food products to mass-market consumers. We’ve always believed that scaling responsible CPG can make a major contribution to world progress, and this joint venture is a perfect example of that.
How can VC funds drive green growth and promote sustainability?
By normalising it. We want to make measurable impact the new normal. Cause-driven investments and measurable impact must no longer be seen as a fringe benefit or a ‘nice to have’. It’s a core aspect of The Craftory’s investment approach because we believe it’s a necessary step to safeguarding the planet’s future.
“Cause-driven investments and measurable impact must no longer be seen as a fringe benefit”
We know what to measure, how to spot the greenwash and are passionate about our cumulative Craftory impact. Additionally, doing the right thing feels good. Yes, the climate crisis is real and the time for action is now, but we believe one of the best strategies for building responsible CPG brands is to blend purpose with playfulness. Bold brands with personality stand out. Get noticed by consumers and lead the way by saying what more traditional brands cannot (due to legacy or position). Bold, challenger brands like this convince us that there’s a better way.
It’s also integral that we look inwards, at our values and our practices. Last year, we became certified B-Corp. Out of the 3,300 companies certified B Corp, only 2% are investment entities, so we’re incredibly proud of the journey and commitment made by our team to get there.
What is The Craftory most excited about over the coming year?
We are very excited that our fund assets are about to increase significantly, bringing total AUM to around the $1bn mark – a noteworthy milestone for The Craftory, but, perhaps more importantly, a sign of real positive change as positive investor sentiment towards responsible CPG grows.