Livekindly Collective’s US$335M funding to hasten plant-based expansion in US and China

30 Mar 2021 — Livekindly Collective, a collection of heritage and start-up brands, has closed a funding round of US$335 million which will accelerate its expansion into growth geographies, such as the US and China. The financing will also fuel Livekindly’s acquisitions, key partnerships and investments in plant-based innovation.

With this latest investment, Livekindly Collective reveals that it has become one of the top three highest-funded and fastest-growing plant-based food companies in the world.

“Financial firepower”
Commenting on the untapped potential of the plant-based sector, Kees Kruythoff, chairman and CEO of Livekindly Collective, says there’s a long way to go. 

Click to EnlargeKees Kruythoff, chairman and CEO of Livekindly Collective.“We are just at the beginning of the journey from both perspectives: revolutionizing and fixing the broken food systems to changing people’s minds and habits. There’s a great need for game changers such as ourselves to push the change forward. This financial firepower we received today makes that goal that much more achievable,” he tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

“If we want to keep living on our planet, we should not only raise awareness but also change behaviors. The time to do this is now,” Kruythoff urges.

“Our mission is critical to making sustainability and sustainable eating and living the new norm. Raising awareness is step one. We do that with our platform which is the voice of the plant-based industry but also with our brands communicating the mission with consumers and with our collective accelerating the change.”

Growing existing business and expanding into new markets are both critically strategic. For all the brands in the Livekindly Collective, the company is looking to expand to new markets including the US and China.

This latest closing, which included US$135 million converted from a previous round, brings the total funds raised by Livekindly Collective in its first year to US$535 million. 

Last June, Livekindly acquired Swedish brand Oumph! and earlier in 2020, the company also acquired German plant-based meat company LikeMeat. Its other brands include The Fry Family Food Co and No Meat.

According to Kruythoff, Oumph! will be launching in Germany in this quarter.

Future of food?
With the company’s international portfolio that meets local tastes, it eyes a “more sustainable global food system,” explains David Knopf, CFO of Livekindly Collective. 

“With the close of this funding round, we are ideally positioned to rapidly scale our model and lead the global consumer shift toward healthy, delicious and sustainable plant-based alternatives.”

“We are building a global pure-play in plant-based alternatives – which we believe is the future of food,” adds Roger Lienhard, founder of Livekindly Collective and founder and executive chairman of Blue Horizon Group. 

“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.”

Support from global investors
The Rise Fund, a global impact investing platform, leads the latest capital raise. The round was also joined by existing investor Rabo Corporate Investments, the investment arm of Rabobank; S2G Ventures; and other existing and additional mission-aligned investors.

The Rise Fund works with growth-stage, high-potential, mission-driven companies seeking to generate meaningful returns while advancing toward achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Click to EnlargeThe Livekindly Collective is a portfolio of plant-based heritage and start-up brands, including The Fry Family Food Co, LikeMeat and Oumph!.

This investment in Livekindly Collective is The Rise Fund’s second significant investment in the global plant-based ecosystem. Steve Ellis, a co-managing partner of The Rise Fund, has joined the Livekindly Collective Board of Directors.

“We’re excited to work with Livekindly Collective and its ecosystem of innovative companies and leaders to meet the growing global demand for healthy, plant-based, clean label options,” explains Ellis. 

“The company’s 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.”

In addition to Ellis, the company has recently seated six new directors, Suzy Amis Cameron, Barbara Kux, Shujun Li, Paul Polman, Walter Robb and Gaby Sulzberger.

Speed, at scale
According to the company, Livekindly Collective is positioned to create impact with speed, and at scale. There have been key partnerships and moves made by the company in the past year alone.

Last month, Puris Holdings, an early pioneer in plant-based food systems, began two new joint ventures with the Livekindly Collective. The ventures involve soil-enhancing, protein-rich crops and innovation with plant protein industry waste streams.

Last year, Livekindly Collective was rebranded from Foods United, having raised US$135 million in October to develop plant-based chicken alternatives. 

The burgeoning plant-based sector is moving at a rapid scale. The adoption of plant-based meat is gaining traction globally, mainly driven by consumers’ environmental concerns, as evidenced by one of Innova Market Insights’ Top Trends for 2020, “Plant-Forward.” 

Even amid a global crisis, more people are turning to plant-based foods, which is pushing up demand for alternative plant proteins to feed the world’s ballooning population.

A big part of this is plant-based eating, and big brands and manufacturers have been tapping into opportunities for NPD over the last year.

By Elizabeth Green 

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