Meal-replacement start-up YFood Labs has secured EUR4.2m (US$4.7m) in funding from a group of investors to expand the Germany-based firm’s product range and take on more staff.

YFood said it plans to use the cash to “further strengthen its market position as a leading provider of functional complete meals” in the so-called DACH region consisting of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Founders Noel Bollmann and Benjamin Kremer launched YFood late in 2017 “with the goal of creating a healthy and convenient full-meal solution” in a drinkable format. A spokesperson told just-food its product range is available in 25 countries within the European Union, and in Germany, stockists include Edeka, Rewe, Globus, Kaufland, Tegut, Müller and Rossmann.

The meal-replacement drinks come in 330-ml and 500-ml sizes in Smooth Vanilla, Alpine Chocolate, Fresh Berry, Cold Brew Coffee, Apple-Cinnamon and Happy Banana. They are free-from both lactose and gluten and have no added sugar.

Five Seasons Ventures, a European food-tech fund, led the series A investment round. It was joined by New Ground Ventures in the US and existing investor Frank Thelen from Germany’s equivalent of the American TV series Shark Tank, where entrepreneurs bid to secure investment.

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Niccolo Manzoni and Ivan Farneti, partners at Five Seasons Ventures, said: “We were impressed by the drive and achievements of Ben and Noel, their focus on the large and unexploited German-speaking market and their ability to activate a ‘tribe’ of consumers and followers.”

Munich-based YFood’s founders came up with the business idea while employed in the financial services industry. The company reaches customers through direct-to-consumer sales along with more than 6,000 points-of-sale in the DACH region.