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Revealed: AccelFoods Re-Opened Fund II in March for Danone

May 19, 2017

GAI News reported in March 2017 that AccelFoods had reopened its latest funding round, expanding its second fund by $15 million to $35 million while also making new capital deployments.

At the time, AccelFoods’ co-founder Lauren Jupiter told Tech Crunch that they were not at liberty to disclose its newest investors, but stated that “They are a mix of high-net-worth individuals, family offices and corporates with strategic capabilities in the food and beverage space. The idea is that through our LP base, we bring together different parties with unique interests to move innovation forward.”

It has now been revealed that the New York-based firm reopened its second fund for Danone Manifesto Ventures, the venture capital unit of French dairy giant Danone.

Like many global CPG companies, Danone has been challenged by shifting consumption trends driven by health-conscious buyers. Sluggish sales have driven these companies to launch food-focused venture capital funds as a means of gaining greater exposure through smaller, more nimble food brands that have the ability to rapidly connect with shifting consumer demands, and have a reputation for more natural, transparent, and niche category products.

One of the most prominent such funds is 301 Inc. launched by General Mills in October 2015. Others include the $125 million Acre Venture Partners launched by Campbell’s Soup; Eighteen94 (1894) Capital launched by Kellogg’s; Startup Next Food & Tech, which was launched by Land O’Lakes in partnership with Techstars; and Techstar Connection, launched by AB InBev’s venture arm, ZX Ventures, also in partnership with Techstars.

Adding to this list is Danone Manifesto Ventures. Launched less than a year ago, Danone Manifesto made its first investment last summer in France’s Michel et Augustin, a producer of premium biscuits, dairy products, fresh desserts, and beverages. This deal was followed by its second investment in Farmer’s Fridge – a provider of fresh foods and salads through a network of vending machines.

The fund’s third investment in AccelFoods Fund II is a strategic move through which Danone can gain exposure to AccelFoods’ portfolio of 28 innovative and disruptive brands including: Exo, a producer of protein supplements and protein bars derived from crickets; Tea Drops, a producer of loose tea that dissolves in hot water without the need for a tea bag; Brami, a producer of lupini bean snacks; and mushroom-based superfood company Four Sigmatic.

“Thanks to this newly expanded fund, comprised of many of the brightest minds and most progressive organizations in the food and beverage industry, AccelFoods is now able to propel the growth of our portfolio companies faster and further than ever before,” commented Jupiter in March.

The fund now plans to make investments of between $250,000 and $3 million per transaction, over a wider range of stages in companies that generate up to $10 million in annual sales.

Newer investments for AccelFoods include natural, organic and non-GMO soda company, Tractor Soda Co.; organic aloe-based water company, Aloe Gloe; producer of non-GMO and gluten-free bouillon cubes, Bou;  cold brew coffee company, Wandering Bear Coffee; and plant-based beverage company, Koia.

Koia marks the first investment by AccelFoods in a plant-based protein company – reported Project Nosh – a category that the fund states it will continue to pursue.

“The AccelFoods organization continually seeks to bring together the key drivers in the food industry; manufacturers, distribution agents, retailers, and investors; all joining forces in an unprecedented willingness to cooperate,” said Gaspar when the expansion was announced.  “Our expanded resources will have considerable impact on the next generation of food and beverage products being introduced to consumers.”

 

 

-Lynda Kiernan

Lynda Kiernan is editor with GAI Media and daily contributor to GAI News. If you would like to submit a contribution for consideration, please contact Ms. Kiernan at lkiernan@globalaginvesting.com.

 

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