- Hampton Creek is attempting to raise about $200 million at a $1.1 billion valuation, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
- The company plans to use the funds to expand into what Bloomberg calls a "vegan conglomerate," increasing its portfolio from 64 products today to more than 600 across a wide range of categories, according to a fundraising presentation obtained by Bloomberg.
- Part of those plans include a 95,000-square-foot R&D facility that will employ robotics and artificial intelligence to discover and develop new plant-based protein products, such as Just Oysters, Just Blue Cheese, and a line of kids' snacks where an egg substitute in a microwavable pod could be cooked into different shapes, such as Batman, Darth Vader, or a toy car.
Though Hampton Creek anticipates it will quadruple sales to more than $100 million this year, the company expects it will lose about $63 million. That's due to more than $20 million spent on promotions, $8.8 million on R&D (almost double last year's spending), triple the manufacturing costs, and almost double the operating expenses, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg.
These costs almost necessitate an outside investment, because while Hampton Creek is still a startup making about $100 million in sales. If it wants to be the next Hain Celestial or WhiteWave Foods, Hampton Creek needs the financial boost to make these plans a reality.
But where that investment will come from is less clear. General Mills' 301 Inc. has been an active investor in better-for-you companies in recent months, and General Mills relied on Hampton Creek's egg substitute during last year's egg shortage, so the relationship is already there. Hain Celestial recently launched its investment arm Cultivate Ventures, and Hampton Creek fits the profile of a company Hain might be interested in.
Food technology is a popular category for investment, having raised a record $5.7 billion last year, according to CB Insights. However, a more widespread tightening of funding dollars has also hit food tech, and in the first quarter of this year, food tech companies raised only $684 million, the lowest quarterly funding total since 2014.