NCN News for May 22, 2018

Recent transactions in the nutrition and health & wellness industry

Good Eggs secures $50 million for California expansion

Good Eggs (San Francisco, California), the online grocer and meal-kit-delivery service, announced $50 million in new funding led by Benchmark, with participation from existing investors. The online grocery market is estimated to be a $7 billion-plus market opportunity in California alone, according to Good Eggs. The company plans to use the funds to quadruple capacity in the Bay Area and expand geographically. It also expects to re-launch in Southern California in 2019. “Our team was deeply impressed by the operational discipline that [Bentley Hall, CEO,] and the team at Good Eggs have implemented to transform this business,” said Bill Gurley, general partner at Benchmark who joins Good Eggs’ board of directors. Formerly associated with Plum Organics and Clif Bar, Hall was brought in as CEO in 2015. During the past two years, Good Eggs has added more than 1,000 items and expanded its delivery footprint throughout the Bay Area.

Soothe raises $31 million Series C to expand massage platform

Soothe (Las Vegas, Nevada), an online provider of massage services, has raised a $31 million Series C round led by The Riverside Company, according to the company’s blog. Launched in 2013, Soothe matches massage requests with vetted massage therapists in more than 60 major cities across the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Additional capital will allow Soothe to pay its massage therapists at a favorable rate compared to traditional spa work, and to innovate its technology to match more therapists with clients. The company also announced that CFO Simon Heyrick has taken over as CEO after growing the business by 80 percent in 2017.

Harvest One Cannabis to acquire sleep-aid manufacturer

Harvest One Cannabis Inc. (Vancouver, Canada) has agreed to acquire supplement sleep aid manufacturer Dream Water USA (Hollywood, Florida) and Dream Water Canada in a cash and stock transaction valued at CA$34.5 million (US$27 million). Dream Water makes liquid shots with GABA, 5-HTP and melatonin to promote relaxation and sleep. The company sells online and at retail, generating approximately $6 million in annual revenue, according to a statement from Harvest One Cannabis. Dream Water recently introduced Dream Water Beauty, a nighttime liquid shot for hair, skin, nail and collagen support, while Dream Water Canada has established a cannabis-based product development program. Harvest One plans to expand Dream Water into cannabidiol products. The acquisition adds a ready-made consumer goods marketing, distribution and product development division, Harvest One said.

Ample Foods secures $2 million seed funding for drinkable meals

Ample Foods (San Francisco, California), a maker of “drinkable superfood meals,” announced an additional $2 million in seed funding, led by Slow Ventures, bringing Ample’s total funding to $4 million. Ample Foods’ powdered meal replacements contain ingredients such as probiotics, plant-based micronutrients and protein from grass-fed, rBST-free whey and collagen. The products also are available in vegan and ketogenic formulas. Ample Foods was founded by CEO Connor Young to provide convenient nutrition for young entrepreneurs working long start-up hours.

Synergy acquires Janoušek to expand natural flavorings business

Synergy Flavours Ltd. (High Wycombe, United Kingdom) has acquired Janoušek (Trieste, Italy), a supplier of herbal extracts and natural flavorings, as it pursues a strategy of global expansion. Janoušek has been in business for 135 years in Italy and operates across Eastern Europe. Synergy is part of the Carbery Group, a cheese producer and international manufacturer of specialty food ingredients and flavorings owned by four Irish dairy co-operatives.

Thryve secures $1.4 million to expand personalized probiotics based on microbiome testing

Thryve (San Francisco, California), a provider of microbiotics and microbiome testing, has secured $1.4 million from investors including PivotNorth Capital, Unilever Ventures, Darling Ventures, Candela Paramount, Abstract Ventures and Joyance Partners. Thryve is a monthly subscription service that combines microbiome testing with customized probiotics. Subscribers receive monthly reports on the health impacts of the bacteria levels found in their stomach, in addition to a Gut Wellness Score to benchmark progress. Thryve says its probiotics contain strains not commonly found in off-the-shelf brands and are also more potent. “Thryve’s goal is to accentuate the importance of gut health and provide consumers with an easy, accurate and affordable way to learn about and improve their own gut health,” said Richard Lin, founder and CEO.

NomNomNow raises $13 million for custom dog food

NomNomNow (San Francisco, California)—a provider of fresh, custom, veterinarian-formulated meals for dogs—has raised $13 million with participation from Bullish, CircleUp,, Tandem Capital, Greycroft and others. This financing includes $10 million in Series A funding and a previously unannounced $3 million seed round. Founded in 2015, NomNomNow says it is the only made-to-order fresh pet food company with its own U.S.-based dedicated facility. The company plans to use the funds to expand operations and production across the country. Veterinary nutritionist Dr. Justin Shmalberg, chief nutrition officer, who develops the company’s recipes, said, “Owners and veterinary professionals are asking for fresh products for the wellness of their pets and to address a range of health issues.”

Forever Labs receives $2 million to combat aging

Forever Labs (Ann Arbor, Michigan), a longevity company that banks young adults’ stem cells for future therapies to combat aging and age-related diseases, has closed $2 million in financing. The new round includes Northwestern Mutual, Silicon Badia Ventures and Babel Ventures. Founded in 2015, Forever Labs has a proprietary outpatient procedure for collecting mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which are then cryogenically frozen and stored in an FDA-compliant, clinical grade bio-repository. “As someone who has been developing therapies using these cells for more than 15 years, I expect that stem-cell banking will become a cornerstone of good medicine,” said Mark Katakowski, co-founder and president. The global stem cell market is expected to reach $15.63 billion by 2025, the company said.

Series B round closes for biometric baby monitor

Owlet Baby Care (Lehi, Utah) announced the closing of a $24 million Series B investment led by Trilogy Equity Partners with participation from existing investors—including Eclipse Ventures, Broadway Angels, Enfield Ventures—with the addition of Pelion Venture Partners. Owlet makes the Smart Sock baby monitor which uses pulse oximetry to track heart rate, oxygen levels and other measures during sleep, delivering feedback to parents via Owlet’s Connected Care platform. The company plans to release two new products this year, and will accelerate its growth with the new funding.

Biscuit International rolls up free-from cookie manufacturer in the U.K.

Biscuit International, a player in the European private-label sweet biscuit market, has acquired Northumbrian Fine Foods (Gateshead, United Kingdom) from CriSeren Foods Ltd. Created in 1936, NFF says it is the U.K.’s largest gluten- and milk-free cookie manufacturer, with annual revenues exceeding £27 million (US$36.3 million on May 21) in 2017. The acquisition is in line with Biscuit International’s strategy to respond to consumption trends in Europe such as organic and free-from products. Gluten- and milk-free products are expected to generate £8.7 billion in sales (US$11.7 billion) in Europe by 2021, up 60 percent compared to 2016, according to a Euromonitor study cited by NFF. Biscuit International is owned by Qualium Investissement (Paris, France) and generated sales of €300 million in 2017 (US$353.8 million on May 21), half of which was outside France. Biscuit International also owns Poult in France, Banketgroep in the Netherlands, and A&W in Germany.

Brynwood builds capacity in contract manufacturing for the beverage sector

Brynwood Partners’ wholly owned portfolio company, Cold Spring Brewing (Cold Spring, Minnesota) has acquired Carolina Beverage Group LLC (Mooresville, North Carolina) from SunTx Capital Partners, creating one of the largest independently owned contract manufacturers in the beverage sector. Terms were not disclosed. The combined company will take the Carolina Beverage Group name and be headquartered in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area. According to a statement released by Brynwood, Carolina Beverage Group’s blue-chip customers include brand owners of well-known energy drinks, sparkling waters, teas, cocktails, flavored malt beverages, craft beers and other ready-to-drink beverages.  

mPulse Mobile raises $11 million to activate healthy behavioral change

mPulse Mobile (Encino, California) has raised an $11 million Series B financing, which was led by SJF Ventures and included existing investors HLM Venture Partners, EchoHealth Ventures, OCA Ventures and Bonfire Ventures. The funding brings the company’s total raised capital to more than $25 million, which will support market growth through strategic acquisitions and further investment in data science and artificial intelligence (AI). mPulse Mobile combines technology, analytics and industry expertise to help healthcare organizations move members to adopt healthy behaviors. The company also announced Activation Intelligence, a product that enables automated conversations to drive behavioral change and is being used in a study of diabetes self-management. “mPulse Mobile … is driving a new era of personalized, conversational engagement leveraging AI and the convenience of text messaging,” said SJF Ventures Managing Director Cody Nystrom, who will be joining the mPulse Mobile board.

LaSalle Capital funds Fresh Origins microgreens

LaSalle Capital has completed a strategic investment in Fresh Origins LLC (San Marcos, California), a grower of microgreens and edible flowers primarily serving the foodservice market. Fresh Origins’ brands include MicroGreens, Petite Greens, Edible Flowers, Shoots and Tiny Veggies. Its produce is hand-harvested daily to order. Fresh Origins’ founder and CEO David Sasuga will continue to lead the company. “Partnering with LaSalle was natural for us given their substantial expertise in the food sector and especially working with businesses serving diverse foodservice customers,” Sasuga said.

Kraft Heinz names participants in first incubator program

Springboard, a platform launched by Kraft Heinz in March to scale next-generation food and beverage brands, has announced companies for its inaugural Incubator Program. Participants include Ayoba-Yo, a brand of biltong that is an alternative to traditional beef jerky; Cleveland Kraut, a maker of healthy, raw, unpasteurized sauerkrauts in a variety of flavors; Kumana, a maker of plant-based, non-GMO sauces that represent tastes from different cultures; Poppilu, an antioxidant lemonade brand with aronia berries, available in different flavors; and Quevos protein-heavy, crunchy egg-white chips. The Springboard platform focuses on four categories: natural & organic, specialty & craft, health & performance, and experiential.

Disclaimer: NCN does not warrant the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any NCN news item. Before relying on any NCN News item the information should be independently verified.


NCN Canada II

June 27-28, Marriott Toronto Eaton Centre, 525 Bay Street Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The second annual Nutrition Capital Network–Natural Products Canada  Investor Meeting will showcase Canadian products and companies, providing valuable opportunities for partnering and capital financing. A half-day conference on market, investment and new product trends with an evening networking event takes place on June 27. More than 20 innovative companies in the natural product and nutrition science space present their business plans on June 28. Learn more about applying to present or attending as an investor. The deadline for applications is May 28.