Partake Foods, a fledgling US firm marketing a range of allergen-free biscuits, has attracted seed funding from investors including the chief growth officer of Beyond Meat.
Chuck Muth, who joined Beyond Meat from Coca-Cola Co. in 2017, is among a group of investors – which also includes Marcy Venture Partners, the US venture-capital fund backed by hip-hop artist Jay Z.
New York-based Partake has secured US$1m in funding, which will be used to hire more staff, add new pack sizes to its product range and try to accelerate its growth in “targeted markets” in the US.
Set up in by former Coca-Cola executive Denise Woodward in 2016 when her daughter was diagnosed with multiple food allergies, Partake’s products are sold in more than 300 stores in the US, including at Whole Foods Market and Wegmans outlets.
The company uses a co-manufacturer that makes the products in a “top eight allergen-free facility”, Woodward said. Partake’s biscuits are free from gluten and from the eight other major food allergens, including wheat, milk, peanuts and eggs.
“When I left my career at Coca-Cola in 2017, I literally sold cookies out of my car for six months, demoing every day and meeting store managers and customers. Our products can now be found in over 300 stores, and we expect to finish this year with a new pack offering and in over 1,000 stores,” Woodward, Partake’s only full-time employee, said.
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Woodward set out to just-food how she sees Partake’s products stacking up against the competition. “From a nutritional perspective, our cookies have 20-40% less sugar than most of the allergy-friendly cookies on the market, and are made with sprouted ancient grains, real fruits and veggies, and without any gums, stabilisers, or artificial ingredients. From a taste perspective, we think that our cookies can compete with any ‘normal’ cookie,” she said.
Marcy Venture Partners led the round of investment, although specific figures for the amount each backer has put into the business have not been disclosed.
“Partake has the ingredients to build a mass-market brand: compelling values, a great-tasting product and a tenacious and experienced operator,” Marcy Venture Partners co-founder and managing director Larry Marcus said.
SoFi Ventures, incubator The Factory and Backstage Capital, a US fund that backs company founders who identify as women, people of colour or LGBT, also took part in the funding round.