Happy Friday, everyone! Large CPG companies continue to dominate headlines this week with Hershey acquiring Lily’s Sweets in a move to compete against the other market leader Mondelēz, which has just announced nine startups participating its recently launched incubator CoLab, with meat alternatives and sustainable products gaining steam among environmentally conscious investors and… of course celebrities 🙂 Also, Expo West is happening virtually next week, and there should be more exciting new deals coming soon!
- Oprah- and Blackstone-backed Oatly surged to a nearly $13 billion market cap after an initial public offering that raised $1.4 billion for the Swedish consumer brand. The proceeds are expected to help the company expand its production capacity — Forbes
- Mondelēz’s venture arm SnackFutures has announced the first nine startups participating in its recently launched CoLab, a program for early-stage well-being snack brands, with each brand expected to participate in a 12-week curriculum and receive a $20,000 grant. These companies include 12 Tides, Better Bites, Chasin’ Dreams Farms, Elite Sweets, Love Corn, Numa, NuSkool, Snacklins, and Sourse (we’ve spoken to some of the them, happy to set up calls with the rest) — FoodDive
- Shortly after Mondelēz acquired Hu Chocolate, Hershey made a similar move in the premium chocolate space by acquiring low-sugar brand Lily’s Sweets for an undisclosed sum. My guess is $400m based on multiples of recent transactions in the space — Global Newswire
- Tea Drops, a California-based startup that offers a line of bagless, dissolvable tea blends, has raised a $5 million series A funding led by BrandProject, with additional participations from its previous investors AF Ventures, Cue Ball Capital, and Halogen Ventures, as well as new investor Siddhi Capital. This round brings the company’s total funding to $8.4 million, which is expected to help expand Tea Drops from its current direct-to-consumer model to an omni-channel business. — Forbes
- Faux-meat continues to gain momentum with plant-based chicken company Daring closing $40m series B with participation from rapper Drake. Founder Ross Mackay just told me he will focus on product/market expansion with no near-term plans of entering other meat categories. Other investors in the round include D1 Capital Partners and Maveron and Palm Tree Crew. — Bloomberg
- Brazilian vegan meat company Future Farm is also gearing up for its U.S. launch, and their CEO recently told me their pricing will be competitive against Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat! Making an intro call with SV soon.
- On the plant-based ingredient side, Terviva – a California-based firm commercializing ingredients from low-input, high-yielding Pongamia trees – has raised $54m in equity capital, with an additional $24m in equity and debt capital to follow this quarter, and announced a collaboration with Danone. — FoodNavigator-USA
- Herb-infused sparkling water company Aura Bora, and dried fruit snacks company RIND will both announce their upcoming fundraising soon. I will share them in slack once they are available!
- Moving onto the beauty sector, former assistant to President Biden and Chief of Staff to the Domestic Policy Council in White House Meridith Webster has joined The Estée Lauder Company as EVP, replacing the company’s top two communications roles. — CosmeticsDesign North America
- Hemp-infused skincare brand Prima has closed a $9.2 million seed-plus financing round led by Greycroft, H Ventures, Lerer Hippeau and Defy Partners, a backer of Prima co-founder Chris Gavigan’s previous company that went public earlier this month in a $412.8 million IPO, The Honest Co. — Beauty Independent
- Nøie has now raised $12 million in a Series A funding round led by Talis Capital, with participation from Inventure, as well as existing investors including Thomas Ryge Mikkelsen, former CMO of Pandora, and Kristian Schrøder Hart-Hansen, former CEO of LEO Pharma’s Innovation Lab. Nøie’s customized skincare products target sensitive skin conditions including acne, psoriasis and eczema. — TechCrunch
- New Delhi-based fashion house, High Street Essentials (HSE), the parent company behind women’s fashion brands FabAlley and Indya, has raised INR 25.50 crore in a round of funding led by its existing investors Elevation Capital, India Quotient, Dominor Holding and family offices, to help expand the brands’ D2C footprint both domestically and internationally by adding more personalized solutions to proprietary web and app products and expanding brands’ presence with global e-commerce conglomerates. — Entrepreneur