Cricket protein bar maker Exo raises $4 mln


New York-based Exo, which is developing alternative protein sources based on insects, announced it has raised $4 million in a Series A funding round led by AccelFoods. Others participating in the round include new and previous investors, such as Collaborative Fund and individuals Tim Ferriss, Start Garden, rapper Nas and endurance athlete Amelia Boone. The company has now raised $5.6 million in total funding. Exo, which makes a protein bar using crickets, was one of four food startups in AccelFoods’ inaugural accelerator program in 2014.

PRESS RELEASE

EXO, INSECT PROTEIN COMPANY, RAISES $4M SERIES A

Top-tier investors support insects as the future of protein

New York, NY – Today, Exo (www.exoprotein.com), the leading company developing insects as an alternative protein source, announced it closed a $4M round of Series A funding. The round was led by AccelFoods (http://www.accelfoods.com), an early-stage venture capital firm focused on food and beverage companies, with participation by existing and new investors Collaborative Fund, Tim Ferriss, Start Garden, best-selling musician Nas, and endurance athlete Amelia Boone.

Previously, Exo raised $400,000 in pre-seed funding and $1.2M in seed funding in October 2014, bringing their total financing to $5.6M. Exo’s Series A will be used to execute a national retail expansion plan, dramatically scale production, and expand its product line.

New York-based Exo was founded by Greg Sewitz and Gabi Lewis, who started the company as Brown University graduates, after understanding the potential of insects as a mainstream, tasty, and sustainable protein source. The company makes nutritious and delicious food products designed to be approachable vehicles for consumers to incorporate insect protein into their diets.

“We’ve spent the last two years perfecting our product and growing the community around Exo; we’re barely keeping up with demand,” says Greg Sewitz, co-founder of Exo. “This new capital will help us accelerate the edible insect movement and execute on our huge vision for insect protein in all its potential forms.”

Exo’s team includes Kyle Connaughton, former Head Chef of R&D at The Fat Duck, which became the #1-ranked restaurant in the world according to San Pellegrino during his tenure, and Zac Goldberg, who was on the founding team at Groupon and leads Exo’s digital marketing and growth. World-class talent and investors are betting that consumers will adopt insects as a mainstream protein source.

“Exo is leading the charge on developing sustainable food for the future. We’ve supported them from the start, and are excited to continue on this journey with them as they grow,” says Lauren Jupiter, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at AccelFoods. “This is true innovation in the food space with transformative global implications. Exo is reimagining the food system, and protein bars are just the beginning,” added Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Jordan Gaspar.

Exo bars are available online at http://www.exoprotein.com and in select retail stores.

About Exo:

Launched in 2014, Exo is the market leader in insect-based protein. Exo makes nutritious, tasty, and sustainable food products using cricket protein and simple, ultra-premium ingredients. Formulated by a three-Michelin-starred chef, the bars are designed as a meal replacement, on-the-go snack, or pre/post exercise nutrient boost. All products are free of gluten, soy, dairy, artificial preservatives and refined sugars.

About AccelFoods:

AccelFoods invests in innovative, cutting-edge, high growth, early-stage brands in the packaged food and beverage space, partnering with founders representing the highest standards of professionalism, quality, and disruption. To learn more please visit the AccelFoods website at: http://www.accelfoods.com.

About insect protein:

Crickets are a complete protein source, containing all the essential amino acids, and are high in micronutrients such as omega-3s, calcium, B12, iron and magnesium. Gram for gram, crickets have more iron than beef and more calcium than milk. Already consumed by 80% of the world’s population, crickets are also a highly sustainable food source. They produce 100x less greenhouse gases than cows, require a fraction of the space, and are far more efficient at converting feed to protein.