Jüsto Announces USD $65 Million Investment Led by General Atlantic, Marking Largest Series A Raised in Latin America

General Atlantic

Growth capital to fuel Jüsto’s expansion into a leading online grocer across Mexico and Latin America

Jüsto (or “the Company”), a leading online grocer in Mexico, today announced it has raised a USD $65 million Series A investment led by General Atlantic, a leading global growth equity firm, with participation from existing investors including Foundation Capital and Mountain Nazca. The growth investment marks the largest Series A round raised in Latin America[1] and will support Jüsto’s future strategic initiatives, including the expansion of the Company’s geographic footprint across Mexico and Latin America, the enhancement of its last-mile logistics infrastructure, marketing initiatives, and additional working capital needs.

Jüsto was founded in 2019 by CEO Ricardo Weder as one of Mexico’s first vertically-integrated, online grocery platforms with no physical store presence. Over the past 18 months, Jüsto has developed into an emerging leader in the transformation of the digitally-enabled online grocery experience, powered by its cutting-edge technology and seamless purchasing platform. The business experienced significant acceleration over the course of 2020, with 16x revenue growth and positive traction across user retention, frequency, and average order value.

With this growth investment, Jüsto will focus on accelerating its next phase of growth as it aims to disrupt the existing grocery ecosystem in Latin America, a market that represents a USD $325 billion opportunity. Jüsto, which translates to “fair” in Spanish, is committed to providing high-quality products, fair practices, and new distribution avenues to suppliers, as well as competitive prices, lower transaction costs, and improved convenience to consumers by eliminating intermediaries in the supply chain.

“Our mission at Jüsto is to become Latin America’s favorite supermarket within the next decade. We strongly believe that this vision, combined with our expertise in technology, logistics, and customer service, will lead to an even more seamless, more affordable online shopping experience for our consumers,” said Ricardo Weder, Founder & CEO, Jüsto. “We are beyond thrilled to take our vision to the next level alongside General Atlantic and look forward to harnessing the firm’s global resources and expertise in consumer businesses and technological enablement to aid Jüsto in meeting the rapidly-growing demand for our services.”

Mr. Weder brings strategic and digital expertise, having previously served as President of Cabify, a leading ride-hailing platform in Spain and Latin America, where he led its operations and expansion efforts. Mr. Weder has prioritized fostering a socially and environmentally responsible culture at Jüsto, as demonstrated by the Company’s efforts to develop fair trade agreements with its suppliers; leverage AI to forecast demand, create efficiencies, and reduce food waste at its micro-fulfillment centers; and reduce single-use plastic from packaging. Jüsto also contributes to its communities by offering a high-quality, broad offering of products from both large consumer products companies, as well as from smaller local producers – helping to strengthen the economic activity of rural and semi-rural communities – at competitive and fair prices.

“Mexico is at an inflection point in its transition to a digital economy, and we see Jüsto as leading the way in the high-growth online grocery space with its technology-centric, mission-driven approach,” said Luis Cervantes, Managing Director and Head of Mexico City, General Atlantic. “Under Ricardo’s leadership, we believe Jüsto is positioned for significant expansion as it disrupts and transforms the legacy grocery value chain.”

“In the time since its establishment, the Jüsto model has quickly resonated with consumers, who are looking for new ways to buy groceries digitally, as well as with suppliers, who are seeking more direct engagement within the ecosystem,” added Martin Escobari, Co-President, Managing Director and Head of Latin America, General Atlantic. “We look forward to leveraging our deep expertise in helping businesses scale across Latin America in support of Jüsto’s next chapter of growth.”

As part of the transaction, Luis Cervantes and Zeev Thepris, Vice President at General Atlantic, will join Justo’s Board of Directors. Jüsto marks General Atlantic’s fifth investment in Mexico since 2014, when it first entered the country. Since then, General Atlantic has invested nearly USD $1 billion in high-growth Mexican companies.

Since its inception in 2019, Jüsto has raised more than USD $100 million, including a $27 million Seed Round last year led by Foundation Capital, alongside Mountain Nazca and with participation from FEMSA Ventures, S7V, Elevar Equity, Bimbo Ventures, Quiet Capital, Sweet Capital, H2O Capital, and SV LatAm Capital, among others.

Additional terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

[1] Source: Pitchbook. Includes Series A raised in Latin America in the past decade (January 2011 to January 2021) by a technology company.

Media Contacts

Mary Armstrong & Emily Japlon
General Atlantic media@generalatlantic.com

Manolo Fernandez
Jüsto manolo@justo.mx

Categories: News


9TH build-up for Alliance Etiquettes with the acquisition of ETIQ’ETAINS

Activa Capital

Alliance Etiquettes, the French leader in label printing for the wine & spirits industry, continues its consolidation strategy and announces the acquisition of Etiq’Etains. With this new build-up, Alliance Etiquettes reinforces its leading position in the pewter label printing market in France.
Created in 1998 and based in Nontron (Southwestern France), Etiq’Etains addresses a diversified clientele in the wine & spirits, food and cosmetics label markets.

Alliance Etiquettes thus completes its 9th external growth operation since 2015, bringing its turnover
to over €70m. The group also continues to identify and screen new potential build-ups, both in France and abroad, particularly in Italy and Spain.

Olivier Laulan, President of Alliance Etiquettes, stated: « Etiq’Etains is of great strategic interest to the Alliance Etiquettes group. The strengthening of our positions in pewter, the integration of new customer accounts in the wine, spirits and food-processing segments and the complementarities of production techniques are all assets that will enable us to bring ever greater value and satisfaction to our customers. We are delighted and proud to welcome the Etiq’Etains team to the Alliance Etiquettes group. »
Alexandre Masson et Christophe Parier, Managing Partners of Activa Capital, added: « In line with the plan and ambition of the Alliance Etiquettes project when it was created and in line with previous acquisitions, Etiq’Etains is a further step in the project to consolidate the label publishing and printing sector in France. The company is perfectly in line with our consolidation platform and once again demonstrates Alliance Etiquettes’ ability to unite the best label printing professionals around its project.»

Alliance Etiquettes: Olivier Laulan, Erik de Woillemont
Activa Capital: Alexandre Masson, Christophe Parier, David Quatrepoint, Camille Emin
Financial Due Diligence: 8 Advisory (Bertrand Perrette, Jean-Baptiste Blanco)
Tax and Legal Due Diligence / Legal Advisor: Altaïr Avocats (Sébastien Péronne, Jeanne Mucchielli)
Social Due Diligence: Ellipse Avocats (Arnaud Pilloix)

Etiq’Etains: Jacques-Hervé et Olivier Vandenbosch
Legal Advisor: Fimeco (Christophe Alberola, Anaïs Jaumard)

About Alliance Etiquettes
Alliance Etiquettes is a French company specialized in the design and production of premium labels for the wine, spirits, agri-food and cosmetic market. Managed by Olivier Laulan, the group generates a turnover of
more than €70m in France and overseas. For further information, please visit our website www.allianceetiquettes.com
About Activa Capital
Activa Capital is an independent private equity firm, owned by its partners, characterized by a proactive build-up strategy. It currently manages more than €300 million on behalf of institutional investors by investing in French SMEs and ETIs with high growth potential and an enterprise value of between €20 and €100 million. Activa Capital assists them to accelerate their development and international presence. To find
out more about Activa Capital, visit www.activacapital.com

Press contacts
Alexandre Masson Christophe Parier Christelle Piatto
Managing Partner Managing Partner Communications Manager
+33 1 43 12 50 12 +33 1 43 12 50 12 +33 1 43 12 50 12
alexandre.masson@activacapital.com christophe.parier@activacapital.com christelle.piatto@activacapital.com

Categories: News


Biotalys Submits First Protein-Based Biocontrol Registration Package to the EPA


Ghent, BELGIUM and Research Triangle Park, NC, UNITED STATES – 21 January 2021 – Today, Biotalys NV, a transformative food and crop protection company, announces that it has submitted its first protein-based biocontrol, Evoca™, to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States for approval. Pending EPA registration, this biocontrol will offer U.S. fruit and vegetable growers a new way to combat major diseases to maximize yields and extend the shelf life after harvest of produce with substantially lower residues.

“Biotalys is thrilled to have begun the EPA registration process for its first product. While Evoca targets diseases like Botrytis cinerea and powdery mildew, we are leveraging the flexibility of our technology platform to advance a broad pipeline of products with new modes of action that will safely and reliably address key crop pests and diseases across the food value chain,” commented Luc Maertens, COO of Biotalys.
Evoca will help growers effectively control key pathogens in the field, as well as in the food value chain to protect fruits and vegetables post harvest, extending shelf life and reducing decay and food loss. With its new mode of action and favourable safety profile, Evoca provides growers with additional rotational options to manage resistance in a more sustainable way.

The submission follows Biotalys’ successful completion of an extensive field product development program and regulatory studies on Evoca. More than 200 field and greenhouse trials globally demonstrated high consistency in effective control of key pathogens in fruit and vegetables crops. With this submission and pending regulatory approvals, Biotalys is on track to introduce Evoca to select regions in the U.S. market in late 2022. Biotalys will proceed with international registrations on its own, maintaining full ownership of all rights. Aligned with the go-to-market strategy for Evoca, the submission in the United States will be followed by a submission in the European Union. Major agricultural markets in Latin America and Asia are in scope for future registrations. Evoca™: Pending Registration. This product is not currently registered for sale or use in the United States and is not being offered for sale.

About Biotalys

Biotalys is a rapidly growing and transformative food and crop protection company developing a new generation of protein-based biocontrol solutions, shaping the future of sustainable and safe food supply. Based on its groundbreaking technology platform, Biotalys has developed a broad pipeline of effective and safe candidate products that aim to address key crop pests and diseases across the whole value chain, from soil to plate. Combining the high-performance characteristics and consistency of chemicals with the clean safety profile
of biologicals, Biotalys goal is to provide ideal crop protection agents for both pre- and post-harvest applications. Based in the biotech cluster in Ghent, Belgium, Biotalys was founded in 2013 as a spin-off from the VIB (Flanders Institute for Biotechnology) and has raised €61 million ($66m USD) to date from specialist international investors. More information can be found on www.biotalys.com.

Media Contacts:
Erica Camilo
Connexa Communications for Biotalys
T: +1 (610) 639 5644
E: erica@connexacommunications.com

Categories: News


Pembroke VCT exits its investment in Pasta Evangelists


Majority stake in innovative pasta delivery business acquired by Italian food giant

Pembroke VCT, the venture capital trust focused on building the consumer brands of tomorrow, has successfully exited its investment in Pasta Evangelists, which delivers restaurant-quality pasta direct to customers by post. The innovative meal kit business has agreed a deal whereby Italian firm, Barilla Group, will acquire a majority stake. The value of the deal is undisclosed.

Since 2016, Pasta Evangelists has been delivering boxes of fresh, high quality pasta across the UK, to enable customers to prepare five-star homemade dishes in five minutes, using only the freshest ingredients, and Italian where possible.

Pembroke VCT invested £2million in Pasta Evangelists in January 2020. Since then, the home delivery sector has thrived during the pandemic, as consumers have sought interesting ways to cook at home during lockdown.

Pembroke VCT has sold its stake in Pasta Evangelists as part of the deal with Barilla. The exit represents a 2.3x return in the twelve months since Pembroke initiated its investment.

Andrew Wolfson, CEO of Pembroke commented; “Pasta Evangelists is a success story for UK entrepreneurship. Pembroke backs exceptional founders and this outcome demonstrates that innovative companies with strong leadership can flourish in even the most challenging of times. This is an exciting start to the next chapter for Pasta Evangelists and we wish it every success in the future.”  

Press Office

Zoe Powell
dd: 020 7071 3932
m: 07866 639014

Sarah Plevnik
dd: 020 7074 3571
m: 07789 725585

Categories: News


Open Farm Receives $65MM+ Minority Growth Investment Led By General Atlantic

General Atlantic

Funding Supports Open Farm’s Mission to Deliver Premium, Ethically Sourced Nutrition to More Pets & Will Help Drive Continued Brand Expansion

Open Farm, a premium pet food brand committed to raising the bar on the way we feed our pets, has raised $65MM+ USD ($80 MM+ CAD) in its latest round of funding, led by leading global growth equity firm General Atlantic. This marks General Atlantic’s first investment in the pet industry, and they join the company’s leadership team and existing minority partner, Encore Consumer Capital, on Open Farm’s long-term growth journey. The funding will be used to accelerate Open Farm’s mission to Do Some Good for animals and the planet, introduce the brand to millions of new pet parents, and support continued innovation to transform the way pets are fed through high-quality nutrition.

“Today’s pet parent is looking for strong nutrition that also aligns with their values,” said Isaac Langleben, Co-Founder and CEO of Open Farm. “We go to great lengths to create amazing foods, using ethically sourced ingredients, and take pride that every ingredient, in every bag of Open Farm, can be traced back to the source. We are so excited to partner with the team at General Atlantic as we continue to push our mission forward and establish Open Farm as the global leader in the premium pet food space.”

Since 2014, Open Farm has worked to make premium quality pet food offerings accessible and customizable to every pet and pet parent’s needs. With annualized growth exceeding 100% over the last five years, Open Farm can now be found in over 5,500 neighborhood pet retailers across North America, as well as online at OpenFarmPet.com. Open Farm started out with three products and is now recognized as a category-leader in product innovation, with a full suite of premium offerings ranging from dry dog food to fresh meals and supplements.

Throughout this growth trajectory, Open Farm has stayed true to its values, partnering with international recycling leader TerraCycle™ to offer a national pet food bag recycling program, and becoming the first pet food brand in North America to offer reusable packaging on the Loop platform. Additionally, Open Farm works with ethical sourcing partners Certified Humane®, Global Animal Partnership, and Ocean Wise Seafood to not only provide better quality ingredients to pets, but to ensure that the brand is sourcing ingredients in a way that respects farm animals and the planet.

“Mission-driven brands are a key focus for General Atlantic, and we are thrilled to partner with the Open Farm team, a group of passionate entrepreneurs who have built an authentic brand on the global and growing interest in better pet food options,” said Andrew Ferrer, Managing Director at General Atlantic. “Open Farm is well-positioned to deliver on the modern food values of its customers with its diverse portfolio of ethically and sustainably sourced premium products.”

“Open Farm is a highly differentiated brand and a leader within the growing pet food sector,” added Ben Sherman, Vice President at General Atlantic. “We are excited to support the team as they look to drive consumer awareness, enhance retailer support, and continue to deliver new product innovation and transparency around the world.”

Open Farm’s nutrient-dense recipes for dogs and cats include Dry Food, Freeze Dried Raw, Gently Cooked Fresh Meals, Rustic Stews and Blends, Treats, and Supplements such as Bone Broth and Kefir. Open Farm is available in neighborhood pet stores across the US and Canada and online at OpenFarmPet.com.

Open Farm was advised by Cascadia Capital LLC and Goodmans LLP. General Atlantic was advised by McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

About Open Farm

Open Farm is a Toronto-based pet food company on a mission to Do Some Good® for pets, farm animals and the planet. Every Open Farm recipe is designed to deliver high-quality nutrition, and is committed to raising the bar on the way we feed our pets with even stricter standards than what we eat ourselves. Open Farm delivers on its nutritional promise across 7 different product categories with an unmatched approach to ingredient transparency.  Since 2014, Open Farm has extended its presence to over 5,500 neighborhood pet stores across North America and at OpenFarmPet.com. Join our mission at OpenFarmPet.com or on Instagram and Facebook.

About General Atlantic

General Atlantic is a leading global growth equity firm providing capital and strategic support for growth companies. Established in 1980, General Atlantic combines a collaborative global approach, sector specific expertise, a long-term investment horizon and a deep understanding of growth drivers to partner with great entrepreneurs and management teams to build market-leading businesses worldwide. General Atlantic has more than 175 investment professionals based in New York, Amsterdam, Beijing, Greenwich, Hong Kong, Jakarta, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Munich, Palo Alto, São Paulo, Shanghai and Singapore. For more information on General Atlantic, please visit the website: www.generalatlantic.com.

Media Contacts

Mary Armstrong & Emily Japlon
General Atlantic media@generalatlantic.com

Carolyn Kocjan
Open Farm openfarmpet@powerdigital.com

Categories: News


IK Investment Partners to sell Signature Foods to Pamplona Capital Management


IK Investment Partners (“IK”) is pleased to announce that the IK VII Fund has reached an agreement to sell Signature Foods (“the Company”) to Pamplona Capital Management (“Pamplona”). Financial terms of the transaction are not disclosed.

Signature Foods is a leading chilled convenience food Company active in the growing European market, offering a unique combination of A-brands and a private label offering in the categories of spreads and dips, bites and tapas and meal solutions. It owns several leading consumer brands, including Johma and Délio.

The Company has a very strong presence in Benelux, particularly in the spreads category and a rapidly growing European footprint, having recently expanded into France, Germany and Poland. It has long-established and trusted relationships with its customer base, which spans retailers (from premium to discounters) and the foodservice channel. Headquartered in Hilversum, the Netherlands, Signature Foods employs over 600 people across seven manufacturing sites in the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland.

IK invested in Signature Foods in January 2016 and over the past five years the Company has expanded into new products and markets, completing four strategic acquisitions, and growing revenues in excess of €300 million.

Erik Bras, CEO Signature Foods, commented: “Over the last five years the Company has transformed substantially, as we acquired and launched new brands and products, invested substantially in our production capabilities and grew our footprint in Europe. We are extremely grateful to everyone at IK for their partnership and support, enabling us to be where we are today.”

Norman Bremer, Partner at IK and advisor to the IK VII Fund added: “We are incredibly proud of our successful partnership with Signature Foods. In addition to a strategic buy and build programme, the Company has persistently invested in its brands and products, streamlined its supply chain and manufacturing processes while maintaining its focus on quality and sustainability, which have all contributed to the leading market position it enjoys today. The business has an exciting pipeline of further growth ahead and we wish Erik and the team every success in the future.”

The transaction remains subject to the approval of the competent antitrust authorities

Parties involved in the transaction:

IK Investment Partners: Norman Bremer, Remko Hilhorst, Frederik Jacobs, Gerbert Bos
Financial advisors: J.P. Morgan (lead), ING
Legal advisor: Allen & Overy
Management financial advisor: Jamieson
Management legal advisor: Vriman
Management tax advisor: PwC
Strategic VDD: OC&C
Financial and Tax VDD: PwC
ESG VDD: Ramboll

For further questions, please contact:

IK Investment Partners
James McFarlane
Phone: +44 (0)7584 142 665

About Signature Foods
Signature Foods is a leading branded and private label food franchise in the chilled packaged convenience categories of spreads and dips, bites and tapas, and meal solutions.

Signature Foods owns a unique portfolio of A-brands including Johma, Délio, Hamal, and Heks’nkaas. Headquartered in Hilversum, the Netherlands, the company operates production sites across the Benelux and Poland with sales across Europe.

For more information visit: www.signaturefoods.com

About IK Investment Partners
IK Investment Partners (“IK”) is a Pan-European private equity firm focused on investments in the Benelux, DACH, France, Nordics and the UK. Since 1989, IK has raised more than €13 billion of capital and invested in over 140 European companies. IK funds support companies with strong underlying potential, partnering with management teams and investors to create robust, well-positioned businesses with excellent long-term prospects. For more information, visit www.ikinvest.com

Categories: News


Kinnevik leads funding round in HungryPanda


30 Nov 2020, 9:00 AM

Kinnevik AB (publ) (“Kinnevik”) today announced that it is investing USD 35m in a USD 70m funding round in HungryPanda, the global leader in online Asian food delivery.

HungryPanda provides a specialist online ordering platform for Chinese customers living abroad, with a tailored user experience, including language and payment options, to help overcome cultural barriers.

HungryPanda, headquartered in London, was launched in 2017 by Founder Eric Liu, a computer science graduate at the University of Nottingham who wanted to fix a problem he experienced first-hand – getting hold of authentic Chinese food on-demand away from home. The business has quickly grown 30x in three years with a 500-person strong team operating in 6 countries across the world.

The company’s community-focused approach allows it to create an attractive sub-segment within the overall online food delivery market. The business is already profitable in the UK and other major cities such as New York. The investment also furthers Kinnevik’s food strategy and complements our existing investments by adding exposure to the out-of-home space, particularly popular with younger users, in addition to our existing investments in online grocers focused on at-home cooking.

Kinnevik is joining previous investors 83North and Felix Capital, who between them have experience of building sector-leading platforms including Wolt, Deliveroo and Just Eat. Other investors joining this round include Piton Capital, VNV Global and BurdaPrincipal Investments.

Kinnevik CEO Georgi Ganev commented: “As digital adoption advances, we see an opportunity for community-oriented marketplaces that have a deeper understanding of targeted audiences and a more tailored product. We have been impressed by how Eric and team have leveraged their first-hand user empathy to rapidly scale HungryPanda while remaining capital efficient. We look forward to helping the team expand across products, regions and audiences.”

For further information, visit www.kinnevik.com or contact:

Torun Litzén, Director Investor Relations
Phone +46 (0)70 762 00 50
Email press@kinnevik.com

Kinnevik is an industry focused investment company with an entrepreneurial spirit. Our purpose is to make people’s lives better by providing more and better choice. In partnership with talented founders and management teams we build challenger businesses that use disruptive technology to address material, everyday consumer needs. As active owners, we believe in delivering both shareholder and social value by building long-term sustainable businesses that contribute positively to society. We invest in Europe, with a focus on the Nordics, the US, and selectively in other markets. Kinnevik was founded in 1936 by the Stenbeck, Klingspor and von Horn families. Kinnevik’s shares are listed on Nasdaq Stockholm’s list for large cap companies under the ticker codes KINV A and KINV B.

IK completes CSR-linked financing for Kersia’s acquisition

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IK Investment Partners (“IK”) yesterday allocated the financing for the IK IX Fund to acquire a majority stake in Kersia. Kersia was created in 2016 and has become a global leader in biosecurity solutions for the food and beverage, farming and healthcare industries with a strong focus on sustainability. It also benefits from superior and differentiated innovation and R&D capabilities combined with leading operational and regulatory best-practices.

The acquisition of Kersia has been financed through a Corporate Social Responsibility (‘CSR’) – linked syndicated term loan B placed with institutional investors in the European leveraged loan markets.

The Company has an existing and far-reaching CSR strategy that centres around its ‘Act for Positive Impact’ program, embracing the need to establish a fully circular economy and in the long-term, to mitigate the negative impact companies can have on communities and the environment. The strategy is led by a dedicated CSR Operational Committee, supported by managers who are responsible for rolling the CSR program in each of the Group’s markets.

Kersia will adhere to three Key Performance Indicators (‘KPIs’) that will be tracked, monitored, and externally verified. Firstly, the Company will be required to implement systems to collect and recycle customers’ packaging. Secondly, Kersia will continue to increase its share of green products. Finally, it will maintain and expand its employee shareholding scheme.

The Company’s evaluation of these KPIs will be carried out by an independent auditor, which will determine the premium or discount on the margin of the debt and provide a financial incentive to achieve these goals.

Thierry Aoun, Capital Markets Director at IK said: “We are immensely proud to be one of the earliest adopters of this unique financing – the first of its kind for a company and for a financial sponsor in France – and we are excited to work with Kersia to deliver measurable outcomes across environmental and social considerations. By incorporating CSR-linked KPIs that are clear and binding, we are aligning Kersia’s ‘Act for Positive Impact’ program with IK’s ESG commitments for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

Dan Soudry, Managing Partner at IK and advisor to the IK IX Fund said: “Kersia’s business model revolves around biosecurity in crucial end-market, namely food, farm and healthcare, and for this reason CSR has been all-along at the heart of the Company’s strategy. As part of our ongoing partnership we will be supporting the management team’s continuing focus on these areas, and this innovative financing will play a key part in enabling Kersia’s sustainable growth.”

For further questions, please contact:

IK Investment Partners
James McFarlane
Phone: +44 (0) 7584 142 665

About IK Investment Partners

IK Investment Partners (“IK”) is a Pan-European private equity firm focused on investments in the Benelux, DACH, France, Nordics and the UK. Since 1989, IK has raised more than €13 billion of capital and invested in over 135 European companies. IK supports companies with strong underlying potential, partnering with management teams and investors to create robust, well-positioned businesses with excellent long-term prospects. For more information, visit www.ikinvest.com

About Kersia

Kersia is a global leader in biosecurity and food safety with value added products and solutions to prevent diseases or contamination in both animals and humans at every stage of the food supply chain. The company also offers solutions to the healthcare sector. Kersia operates in more than 120 countries with a workforce of over 1,500 people and a turnover of more than 300 million euros. For more information, visit www.kersia-group.com

Categories: News


American Seafoods backer Bregal joins Nutreco in land-based salmon farming investment

Bregal Partners


Private equity group Bregal joins one of the world’s largest feed companies and others in a private placement ahead of a potential IPO, top executives at the project told IntraFish.

Netherlands-based Nutreco, one of the world’s largest aquaculture feed producers, has joined German-owned private equity group Bregal Partners, a key investor in US firms American Seafoods and Blue Harvest Fisheries, in anchoring a private placement into a massive land-based salmon farming project to be built in Nevada.

The private placement, which also includes funding from land-based salmon farming equipment supplier AquaMaof and investment group Beach Point Capital Management, secures enough financing for the group to begin detailed design, planning and fundraising activities for its 50,000-metric-ton project, which it hopes to start in mid-2021 [intrafish.com], the two executives spearheading the project told IntraFish.

West Coast Salmon CEO Johan Henrik Krefting and chairman Hallvard Muri have been developing the recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) project for over a year, and said bringing Nutreco and Bregal on as anchor investors was a hard-fought milestone, particularly in the COVID era.

“Obviously its hard work attracting the right quality investors to evaluate and finally commit to a very capital intensive greenfield project,” Krefting told IntraFish.

“This is the result of five to six months of exceptionally extensive due diligence work on the project and the business plan.”

The first two to three months after Krefting, Muri and CFO Karl Johan Standal joined in late 2019 were spent developing a detailed project plan, which it first took to Nutreco for initial discussions.

“Nutreco has obviously an industrial interest in the salmon farming sector and in land-based,” Krefting said.

The project is the latest in Nutreco’s continued push to advance the land-based salmon farming sector, which it sees as a huge potential segment for subsidiary Skretting’s future sales.

Prior to its West Coast Salmon investment, Nutreco took a stake in Nordic Aqua Partners, a land-based salmon farming project near Shanghai [intrafish.no], as well as Kingfish Zeeland, a Netherlands-based kingfish farming group currently planning farming operations in the United States [intrafish.com].

As part of its investment, Skretting will provide specially formulated RAS feed for the project.

Muri calls the Bregal investment “a bit of a coincidence,” based on casual discussions at the end of 2019.

The two investments were run in a structured process without Nutreco or Bregal knowing about the other partner at the outset.

Bregal’s stake in West Coast is the private equity fund’s first direct investment into the salmon farming sector, and is a pivot from the group’s current portfolio, which includes a significant stake in wild fisheries harvesters and processors American Seafoods [intrafish.com], the largest holder of at-sea Alaska pollock quota, and Blue Harvest Fisheries, a leading producer of wild scallops and groundfish on the US East Coast.

Bregal, the private equity arm of German retail, real estate and investment group COFRA, has around $1.25 billion (€1.1 billion) under management.

Bregal recruited two executives from its portfolio to join the West Coast Salmon board of directors: Blue Harvest Fisheries CEO Keith Decker and Bristol Bay Seafoods CEO Amy Humphreys [intrafish.com]. Both executives sit on the American Seafoods board, and Humphreys has held an equity stake in the group since 2015 [intrafish.com]. Both executives will also take an equity stake in West Coast Salmon, according to Muri and Krefting.

Muri and Humphreys are also both former American Seafoods executives, and have worked with Kjell Inge Rokke-owned Aker Group companies as executives or board members.

Artist’s rendering of West Coast Salmon’s proposed land-based operation in Pershing County, Nevada. Photo: West Coast Salmon

·       Land-based salmon fever

West Coast Salmon’s private placement caps a stunning run of investment into the exploding land-based salmon farming sector [intrafish.com]. Since mid-summer, two land-based salmon farming companies, Salmon Evolution [intrafish.com] and Andfjord Salmon [intrafish.com], have listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange’s Merkur Market, and two others – AquaCon, another US land-based salmon farming project, [intrafish.com] and Proximar Seafood, a Japan-based project backed by Grieg Seafood Chairman Per Grieg [intrafish.com] – are planning to list in the coming months.

In addition, seafood companies including Korean giant Dongwon [intrafish.com], and Japanese groups Nippon Suisan Kaisha (Nissui) and Marubeni [intrafish.com] have all invested into the sector.

More than 1 million metric tons of land-based farmed salmon has been proposed for production, though only a fraction of that will likely receive financing and even less will actually come to market, experts agree.

Krefting and Muri note that the risk of the projects underscores the need for a strong management team, excellent site selection and patient investors.

“It’s not possible to initiate the development of this kind of industrial-scale project without having a solid fundamental platform in place, here under strong and competent partners on the capital side,” Krefting said.

·       Operations first, IPO next?

The West Coast Salmon project ultimately hopes to reach a 50,000-metric-ton production capacity, with a first phase production of 12,600 metric tons.

Though the group will consider an initial public offering (IPO) in late 2021 or early 2022, Muri said that’s a board decision that will come after it completes its second phase of financing.

“Our focus is 100 percent on the execution side right now,” he said. “We want to finalize all engineering and build the team before construction starts.”

With the first harvest planned for the end of 2024, and given the average 22-24-month egg-to-harvest time for land-based salmon, the timeline for getting the project operational from a biological standpoint is roughly two years away.

However, Krefting noted that construction doesn’t need to be 100-percent finalized when eggs are introduced into the system.

“We have a plan that is extremely well-controlled from a risk perspective, in terms of introducing biology into the system during the construction period,” he said.

Krefting noted that Nutreco and Bregal were perfect fits for the group in part because they understand the early-stage nature of the land-based salmon sector.

“It’s an immature industry in the early phase development and investors like Nutreco and Bregal are very aware of the challenges that we will face, and what’s important to focus on in terms of delivering on our plan,” Krefting said.

“So there is no guarantee – we’ll definitely have challenges that need to be solved — but I believe our investors are well informed about this, and the reward down the road is extremely attractive. It’s a risk-reward decision. It will take another 3, 4, 5 years or even longer before you can say the land-based farming industry has produced a production model or an operational set up that is proven.”

DNB Markets, Pareto Securities acted as joint coordinators of the private placement, while SEB and Danske Bank served as co-managers.

17 September 2020 4:32 GMT

6 October 2020 5:00 GMT Updated 7 October 2020 19:02 GMT

By Drew Cherry



Categories: News


Healthy smoothies Made by Robots – America’s first food automation service goes mainstream at Walmart


Following a successful launch at three locations last year, innovative food automation solutions company  Blendid has just opened the company’s fourth food robotics kiosk, at Walmart, in Fremont, California. Blendid is the country’s first food automation service to go mainstream with a major national chain and the company just launched a financing round, that includes a crowdfunding component, to support the rollout.

Now that Blendid has established product-market fit (the company has served over 40,000 smoothies) the plan is to raise five million dollars to aggressively expand to other retail chains, supermarkets, health clubs, corporations, hospitals and colleges. In fact, the company has already signed an agreement with a major food retailer to jointly bring Blendid to market by the end of this year. With the Covid-19 global pandemic driving consumer desire for safe, contactless food preparation and delivery, Blendid is ideally positioned to grow quickly.

Real Food, Artificial Intelligence

California-based Blendid has created a proprietary food automation platform (foodOS) to efficiently and safely prepare and serve a range of healthy, fresh, and tasty foods. Using machine learning, robotics and artificial intelligence, Blendid’s first product is a fully autonomous robotic kiosk that prepares nutrient-packed, delicious smoothies. The smoothies use whole fruits and vegetables, offering fiber, probiotics and protein, made on-demand by a robot and customized to meet the unique health and taste preferences of individual consumers. Blendid creates a tasty, healthy, touchless, affordable and convenient meal or snack for the consumer – exactly how and when they want it.

How does the Blendid robotic kiosk actually work?

Consumers can place orders on site, at the kiosk, or in advance, by using their mobile device and choosing a time to pick up their smoothie. They are able to select all their favorite ingredients and customize it to their taste. The Blendid robot confirms the pickup time and once it starts to prepare the smoothie, the customer is alerted. On arrival at the kiosk, the customer scans a QR code and  the robot pushes the order out of the window. Prices are a very reasonable $4.97 – $5.97 per 12-ounce drink.

Who are the experts behind Blendid?

Blendid was founded in 2015 by Vipin Jain, Venki Ayalur, and Vijay Dodd, seasoned Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who spent four years perfecting the Blendid concept. Their first robotic kiosk was commercially launched in March 2019. Their team also includes nutritionists and chefs led by Blendid’s executive chef Kristen Rasmussen de Vasquez, a registered dietician, food scientist, and aand , a culinary expert with a focus on sustainability. Kristen formulates Blendid’s core recipes, assisted by artificial intelligence, that are plant-forward with vegan and gluten free options, that the consumer is able to customize to their own needs. As a pioneer of the future of foodservice, Blendid is improving the consumer experience by offering safe, cost-effective and personalized food on-demand, while also reducing complexity  and costs for the operators.

Competition in the food automation market

Blendid is the first of its kind to successfully combine food processing and AI in a consumer-facing  setting. Other companies that have attempted automated food processing and delivery have fallen short. Zume pizza had ambitious plans but now manufactures packaging, CafeX is a simplistic coffee maker, while Chowbotics is a fairly basic salad vending machine that doesn’t use robotics. Blendid is the only company to incorporate a fully digital experience with a complex automation process that includes multi-tasking (a Blendid robot can process an impressive 45 drinks an hour and up to 9 orders simultaneously).

Investment Opportunity

While Blendid already has significant venture capital behind it, the company is keen to also offer consumers the chance to invest in the next stage of their expansion through a crowdfunding opportunity. For as little as $100, an individual investor can become a shareholder in Blendid through the company’s current crowdfunding campaign. The company wants to attract investors who are already their actual or future customers. At $300 billion, the on-the-go food market in the United States presents a massive  opportunity. Already a successful startup, Blendid is a sophisticated company with a product that has been field tested and is NSF-certified.

For a limited time, Blendid is raising funds through an equity crowdfunding campaign on the Microventures platform. Given the latest modifications to the Reg CF and Reg D JOBS Act, the barriers to entry have lowered for the public to participate in innovative early stage companies, allowing new or first-time investors to invest in these higher risk and higher reward opportunities.  While many of the most reputable VC funds in the tech space tend to provide early stage capital for deep tech, cloud native infrastructure, or hard to grasp infrastructure solutions (that are often incredibly complex, even for sophisticated investors), Bendid represents a hands-on, consumer facing opportunity that is easy to grasp and easy to impact.  This is a particularly attractive opportunity for the public to partner with high profile VC firms that have already conducted rigorous due diligence in a team and a plan to bring a complete full-stack solution to market that they can taste, touch and experience for themselves.

Categories: News