Renewal Mill, a startup that makes baking products out of upcycled ingredients, launched an equity crowdfunding campaign today in an effort to raise $1 million.
Founded in 2016, Renewal Mill takes manufacturing byproducts that typically go to waste and turns them into upcycled ingredients that can be used for baking. For instance it turns the soybean pulp leftover from a company making tofu into gluten-free, high-fiber okara flour.
Renewal Mill has previously raised $1.7 million in Seed funding, and has been a participant in the Techstars Farm to Fork accelerator as well as Barilla’s Good Food Makers program and the Systems 6 accelerator. Renewal Mill products have been used by companies like Pulp Pantry, Humphry Slocombe and Tia Lupita Foods, and the company sells its own product line directly through its website and retailers like Good Eggs and Whole Foods.
Through this crowdfunding effort, Renewal Mill is looking to commercialize its second ingredient product, “oat oakara,” which is made from the oat pulp leftover when oatmilk is made. The company also wants to expand its upcycled baking mixes.
Today’s news puts Renewal Mill at the center of a couple trends happening in food tech. First, the company is one of a handful of companies upcycling everything from salmon skins to banana peels to imperfect apples and pears into new products. Not only does this upcycling result in new and unique foods, it also helps eliminate food waste.
But Renewal Mill is also joining in the trend of food tech startups turning to equity crowdfunding to raise fresh capital. Kiwibot, Piestro, and Winc have all launched equity crowdfunding campaigns this year. Equity crowdfunding is a way for startups to grow without the pressure to scale that comes with traditional VC backing. But it also comes without the valuable institutional knowledge and relationships that a traditional VC can bring.
In an email sent to The Spoon, Renewal Mill Co-Founder and COO Caroline Cotto said that the company had the option of getting additional money as part of its initial Seed round, but decided against it to retain ownership of the company. Cotto said that they went the equity crowdfunding route to diversify the cap table and use it as a marketing opportunity as they work to expand their retail presence nationally.
The Spoon does not provide any investment advice and, as with any investing, there is always risk. Those interested in investing in Renewal Mill can do so for as little as $50 at Republic.co through November 30, 2020.