Danone Manifesto Ventures makes first UK-based investment8 Apr 2021
Danone’s VC arm, Danone Manifesto Ventures (DMV) made its first investment in a UK-based business with its commitment to a £2.5m funding round for the healthy drinks brand Moju. Moju said the French Dairy giant’s minority investment in the company will be used to accelerate the growth of its functional juice shots platform.
Other investor in the round include former Graze COO Tom Carroll, former HelloFresh COO Roger Hassan, and Dave Nolan and Kevin Glynn, founders of DTC fresh dog food brand Butternut Box, as well as Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin.
Moju was founded in 2015 on the premise of offering a range of functional juice options to people looking for a healthier, functional drink. Since its inception, the brand has grown its sales steadily. For 2021, the company expects to continue this trend and is forecasting its retail sales will reach around £9m. The brand, which sells four flavors of ready-to-drink shots in 60ml portions (ginger, turmeric, vitamin C and vitamin D) as well as 500ml bottles of juice, is available at both online and offline retailers in the UK as well as specialty cafes, delis and indies.
“We’ve built Moju from a kitchen table to trailblazing the insurgent functional shots category that’s been in high double-digit growth year-on-year since 2016,” co-founder Rich Goldsmith said in a statement.
This fast-growing functional beverages brand is not the only investment that DMV has made recently. Since launching in 2016, the venture capital arm has made investments in over 15 companies. In the U.S., the venture arm has taken stakes in Harmless Harvest, Laird Superfood, Forager Project and Nature’s Fynd. In France, where Danone is headquartered, the company’s venture arm has invested in Yooji, Agricool, Phenix and Nous-Antigaspi.
As consumers become increasingly focused on feeding themselves functionally, Danone has pivoted through investment to align with companies that are catering to what people want. The mission of its VC arm is to support burgeoning companies that encourage healthier eating and drinking in categories with high-growth potential.
With legacy brands continuing to struggle to carve out a path forward amid startups and trendy brands, this approach to competing in areas outside its core brands in order to promote overall growth has proven to be at least successful enough to prompt Danone to pursue this path in yet another market outside of France.
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