AccelFoods Announces Fund Expansion, New Investments

Martín Caballero

Accel_970-320x320Food and beverage venture capital fund AccelFoods today announced a $15 million expansion of its second fund, and new investment in several emerging brands.

AccelFoods, launched in 2014, started with a $4 million fund before increasing to $20 million in 2016. After this latest round of investment, the second fund’s size is $35 million. The group has also shifted from a class-based model to a more traditional investment platform.

In an e-mail to BevNET, Jordan Gaspar, co-founder and managing partner at AccelFoods, said that the move represented an evolution of the fund to better serve the specific needs of each company and its founders.

“With an operational approach to venture investing, we feel that we are now better able to respond to the evolving needs and opportunities presented to our founders,” she said.

New investments in beverage include organic craft fountain soda company Tractor Soda Co., plant-based protein drink Koia and Aloe Gloe, makers of an organic aloe vera beverage. Non-GMO chocolate-based supplement makers Good Day Chocolate and Bou, producers of gluten-free, non-GMO bouillon cubes, also received investment.

AccelFoods added that the group would soon be announcing an additional investment in Wandering Bear Coffee, a cold-brew coffee brand that was already part of Accel’s existing portfolio.

In recent investments, AccelFoods has taken part in larger raises by brands. Terms of this slate of investments was not disclosed.

For Aloe Gloe, AccelFoods is the latest to join the brand’s diverse group of strategic co-investors. After launching through beverage incubator L.A. Libations, the company became an independent brand in June 2016 after direct investment through Coca-Cola’s Venturing & Emerging Brands Group.

Gaspar said that the investment will help Aloe Gloe expand its staff and “roll out a robust marketing program focused on trial and education.”

The investment marks another stride forward for Koia, which launched in 2013 on the back of a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. The brand of almond milk-based, vegan protein drinks has subsequently secured investment from Zico founder Mark Rampolla and Bill Weiland, owner of natural foods broker Presence Marketing.

Koia represents AccelFoods first investment in the plant-based protein drink category, and Gaspar said the fund would continue to make investments in “plant-based, functional beverages, both fresh and shelf-stable.”

“I feel that plant based products are the future and will continue to expand in the years to come,” said Dino Sarti, co-founder and CEO of Aloe Gloe, in an e-mail to BevNET. “Our brand has been fortunate enough to secure investments from a couple large strategic players. Those players, and their influence over the marketplace, position us well to execute our mission of offering healthy, low calorie, organic products to the masses.”

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