Two plant-based investment arms are created and invest in ice cream28 Jul 2020
Two plant-based startups have migrated into the ranks of venture capitalists. Perfect Day recently created The Urgent Company in order to develop CPG products from its animal-free dairy proteins, and Jason Karp, the co-founder of Hu snacks started HumanCo, a CPG holding company. Both spinoffs are independent of their CPG brand roots.
The Urgent Company, which received its seed funding from Perfect Day but has an independent board of directors and executives, released its first product – Brave Robot ice cream. Launching an ice cream through this new spinoff company makes sense as Perfect Day ran a trial run of its own ice cream last summer, which, although it was priced at $20 per pint, sold out in a matter of hours.
However, Perfect Day chose to operate as an ingredients company rather than a manufacturer. Already, the company’s lab-grown dairy protein is used in Smitten N’Ice Cream. The creation of The Urgent Company further expands the possibilities for production using Perfect Day's lab-grown animal dairy protein. While there is no indication what products are next, on the company’s partner page on its website, there are photos of yogurt, cheese, cream cheese and ice cream suggesting potential applications for its protein.
HumanCo is approaching growth through a more acquisitive method. The aim of this firm is to promote healthier living, transparency and sustainability through its investments, and, following a $15 million series A funding round, it has been working to fulfill that goal. In July, the holding company took a majority stake in Coconut Bliss, a plant-based ice cream. Late last year, the holding company acquired Monty’s, a plant-based cheese made from cashews.
Spinoffs of CPG companies are common in today’s market. By investing in smaller companies that already exist, larger entities are able to dip their toes into a category that they may not have otherwise been able to branch into. At the same time that M&A provides ready access to a market, it also lowers the risk for companies looking to experiment or augment their portfolios without having to spend the time and money developing in-house expertise.
While this approach has generally been reserved for Big Food, the launch of these two spinoffs indicate that this popular method of investment may become an appealing approach even for companies that others may consider startups themselves.
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