Plant-based holding company Kale United announced today that its latest funding round, which launched on the crowdfunding site FundedByMe, is fully subscribed and has raised €350,000 ($380,000). The holding group currently has over 100 public and private investors.
Based in Sweden, Kale United has invested in 30 startups making plant-based meat, dairy, and more. Its portfolio currently includes Hooray Foods (meatless bacon), Noquo Foods (vegan cheese), Ocean Hugger Foods (plant-based fish for sushi), and LiveKindly (vegan media platform). According to a press release on their site Kale United’s most successful investment thus far is Astrid Och Aporna, a range of plant-based meat sold in Swedish retailers. The fund will use its fresh capital to expand its portfolio with new early-stage plant-based companies.
$380,000 seems like a pretty modest sum when compared with other plant-based venture firms, like Big Idea Ventures or Agfunder, whose funds are up in the tens of millions. However, it’s intriguing to see that Kale United has turned to a crowdfunding site to raise its sum, meaning that regular folks like you or me could get in on the investment action. Other venture funds require people to be an established investor or pay high entry fees to participate.
This pairs well with the recent trend we’ve been seeing in equity crowdfunding, which is when companies let people buy a stake of the company itself. Kale United isn’t doing exactly the same thing — rather it’s opening its doors to allow people to participate in their fund, which the company will then allocate to startups — but it is democratizing the investment process in a similar way.
It might be an opportune time for people to invest more heavily in animal-free products, despite the circumstances (you know, the global pandemic). Coronavirus is disrupting almost every corner of the food world, but it’s actually spurring sales of plant-based foods, specifically milk and meat. If that trend continues more investment in the space there will be more opportunity for new startups — and for the funds backing them.