LIVEKINDLY Collective, the shouty parent company behind a family of plant-based food brands, has snagged cash from the global impact investing arm of $103 billion investment firm TPG to close its latest round of funding at $335 million.
The company's fundraising shows that investors still have high hopes for plant-based food brands and that despite the money that's flowed to companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods -- and the resurgence of older brands in the category like Quorn or Kelloggs' Morningstar Farms -- there's still a healthy appetite among investors for more brands.
LIVEKINDLY Collective was founded by some heavy hitters from the food industry, including Kees Kruythoff, the former president of Unilever North America; Roger Lienhard, the founder of Blue Horizon; and Jodi Monelle, the chief executive and founder of LIVEKINDLY Media. Food industry veterans like Mick Van Ettinger, a former Unilever employee, and Aldo Uva, a former Nestlé employee, rounded out the founding team (according to a spokesperson Uva left the company in January 2021).
Founded as a rollup for a number of different vegetarian and alternative protein food brands, the LIVEKINDLY Collective is now one of the largest plant-based food companies, by funding.
The company said it would use the money to expand into the U.S. and China and to power additional acquisitions, partnerships and investments in plant-based foods.
The company raised money previously from S2G Ventures and Rabo Corporate Investments, the investment arm of the giant Dutch financial services firm, Rabobank.
Fundamentally, the founding investors behind LIVEKINDLY Collective believe that the technology has a long way to go before it matures. And it's likely that this latest round will be LIVEKINDLY Collective's last before an initial public offering of its own.
“We are building a global pureplay in plant-based alternatives -- which we believe is the future of food,” said Roger Lienhard, founder and executive chairman of Blue Horizon and founder of LIVEKINDLY Collective. “In just one year, we have raised a significant amount of capital, which testifies to the urgency of our mission and the enormous investment opportunity it represents. We believe the momentum behind plant-based living will continue to grow in both the private and public markets.”
As a result of its investment, Steve Ellis, co-managing partner of The Rise Fund, has joined the LIVEKINDLY Collective board of directors, effective March 1, 2021.
“We are excited to work with LIVEKINDLY Collective and its ecosystem of innovative companies and world-class leaders to meet the growing global demand for healthy, plant-based, clean-label options,” said Ellis. “The company’s unique, mission-driven model operates across the entire value chain, from seed to fork, to drive worldwide adoption of plant-based alternatives and create a healthier planet for all.”