Heura tucks into $20M funding chunk for its plant-based proteins ahead of beefier B round next year • TechCrunch


What’s going on with the demand for vegetarian meat? If you take a look at its headquarters in Barcelona Hyura The picture looks rosy — with the alternative protein company claiming “non-stop” momentum and nearly doubling revenue from sales of chicken, beef and pork products in the first half of 2022.

In the middle of the year, the startup established in 2017 reported it reached €14.7 million in sales, up from €7.6 million during the same period last year, after posting the most successful first half of the year in its five-year history and Packing a number of major vegan food stocking retailers (including Ocado in the UK, Migros in Switzerland, Carrefour in Italy, E.Leclerc, Intermarché and Super U in France). More new partnerships with “major” European retailers are identified as incoming this year, touting “triple-digit growth” of more than 100% year-over-year.

It has also had some notable success in its home market by persuading diners to add its products (and its brand name) to their menus – as vegan ingredients, enabling them to offer vegan alternatives to meat dishes, from tacos and Bocadels For curries, poke bowls, and more. And Heura gets 80% of the growth of the native plant category (although it should be noted that Spain remains One of the largest consumers of animal meat in Europe So the growth of alternative proteins starts from a low base). It adds that it expects to end the year with a domestic market share of 30% as it ramps up its efforts to expand into Europe.

It will also spark a Series B round next year – which it expects will be one of the biggest 2023 B rounds in Europe in the alternative protein industry (for some context, another European startup, Planted, has teased $72 million from Round B earlier this fall). Today it is announcing a new €20 million bridging funding round, ahead of the expected (larger) B. He notes that this (previous) Series B financing includes the issuance of convertible bonds which will lead to capital next year in the full Series B. So it’s clear that a group of investors were bought into their sales growth move.

Hiura says the bridging tour includes contributions from NBA star Ricky Rubio, footballers Serge Busquets and Sergi Roberto, and comedian David Broncano, as well as Onovice Capital. Much of the funding was raised earlier this year when He. She It raised over €4 million in 12 hours with its Equity for Good Rebels crowdfunding campaign – and attracted support from over 5,000 individual backers.

The tour will help it as it continues to expand in the region – with a focus on deepening its presence in key markets such as France, Italy and the UK, and adding new European regions, including Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and more, over the coming years. “With new funding on hand, the main focus is on Hyura It will position itself as the vegan leader in Europe by 2027,” he notes in a press release.

Directly on its list for 2023: New Products in “New Segments”, after filing the first patents in November 2022 – although exactly what is set up is unclear. Her PR says her focus will be on introducing new foods next year that are “nature-positive, nutrient-dense and culinary excellence”.

So far it looks pretty tasty, if we can put it that way. But the vegetarian meat category has started to shrink somewhat recently after the hype earlier.

Which may explain why Heura is making noise about this bridging round and the bigger bucks to come next year. Continuing momentum is not necessarily a given.

To intelligence: US giant Beyond Meat has revealed that it will reduce its workforce by almost a fifth in advance this monthciting declining sales.

While Bloomberg reported that the demand for cooling hits the plant-based category Last monthQuoted by Deloitte report which postulated that ‘stagnant’ demand could be due to factors such as the addressable market being more limited than originally thought (including the result of ‘cultural resistance’, possibly related to rising political polarization across many societies); to inflation (and specifically high food price inflation) affecting consumers’ appetite to pay a premium for eating plant-based meat alternatives (which still typically cost more than non-premium meat options); and changes in consumers’ perceptions of the health of plant proteins.

Some of these suggestions may point to the meat lobby’s success in negative advertising campaigns targeting plant-based alternatives in an effort to prevent the kind of wholesale shift to the diet that is much needed if humanity is to reduce carbon emissions in line with climate goals.

The meat industry, for example, has been spending money on advertising campaigns that seek to paint plant-based products as “Frankenfoods” — framing animal-based meat as a simple, honest (relatively) healthy choice. like this American offensive advertising campaign (reported by ZME Science last year) — which attacks plant proteins by suggesting that the products are intensely processed and filled with chemicals that seem more intimidating than similar meat products (with absolutely no mention of the health problems associated with consuming meat products like bacon, such as ham bacon) The risks of a number of cancers that the World Health Organization has linked to the consumption of red meat and processed meat for years); While running all these self-interest claims under the Astroturf-y banner of “cleanfoodfacts.com,” that is, rather than explicitly disclosing their obvious vested commercial interest.

Plant-based startups will likely need to ramp up their business games and product development (and it is better to lift the lid off production methods, such as Some already) to counter this type of cynical attack tactics.

Plant-based startups are at least in a position to rely on support from (broader) environmental campaign groups and movements to amplify their pro-climate messages.

“Clear communication of the benefits of protein transition along with getting more people together to vote with their forks will help lead the way in [our] Growth across the continent,” is how Heura’s PR frames its growth prospects at this point in the PBP (plant protein) hype cycle.

There is certainly a very clear and loud story PBP brands can tell selling meat alternatives to climate-conscious consumers.

Heura alone, for example, could save about 55.9 million liters of water used and 3.6 million kg of carbon dioxide – plus spare 509,000 chickens, pigs and cows – just in the first half of this year. So expect noisier counter-messages from more alternative protein brands in response to offensive “tobacco”-style lobbying marketing tactics.

The Deloitte report advised vegan/alternative meat producers “to explore ways to expand the routable market, reduce relative costs, and create formulations that deliver health benefits while preserving taste” to spur growth — noting what it says has been rapid growth in venture capital investments and consumer brands. major in this category over the past year (and suggest that the resulting innovations may pave a smoother growth path for the market).

On the cost side, while plant proteins still typically have the problem of higher prices compared to meat (at least given the level of subsidies that underpin traditional food production methods)—certainly a problem given the rising food inflation (and cost) of a livelihood crisis), it may The scales will turn. Especially in Europe, where the region remains highly vulnerable to high energy costs stemming from the Russian war in Ukraine and the country’s response to Western sanctions as the bloc seeks to reduce its dependence on Russian gas imports.

Bottom line: Higher energy costs tend to affect the price of meat more than plant food production since the former is a much less efficient way to produce protein for human consumption versus raising animals for slaughter – flesh and blood organisms that must be feeding the same proteins. Which means if you feed plant proteins directly to humans, you’re eliminating one very costly step.

This dynamic suggests that the difference in price between animal meat and (at least some) plant proteins should continue to shrink — as start-ups like Heura continue to proliferate and grow, enabling them to unlock greater economies of scale at their production facilities.

So how far the “slack” in the PBP industry is due to the meat industry’s sarcastic attacks and subjective hype about tough climate realities (and cost of living) remains to be seen.

Commenting on its growth prospects in a statement, Marc Coloma, CEO and Co-Founder of Heuro, was elated, writing: “Having message-driven investors on board that are daring to take bold action to accelerate the plant protein transition gives us the resources to continue driving the growth of Category across Europe We have a clear vision and this new funding will help us transition from a successful Spanish vegetarian company to a net positive food technology startup driving the protein transition across Europe This growth path is designed to take us into 2023 in a position to close The largest Series B rides in the industry, ushering in a better future for people, planet and animals.”

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