- LiveKindly Collective, a multi-brand plant-based platform, closed out a $335 million funding round Monday, including $200 million in new funding. The latest round announced this week was led by The Rise Fund, which is the global impact investing platform managed by TPG. The round also included new funds from existing investors such as Rabo Corporate Investments and S2G Ventures.
- Money from this round, which includes $135 million of fundraising from last year, will be used to accelerate LiveKindly Collective's brands into new geographic locations — including the U.S. and China — and fuel future acquisitions and partnerships, as well as invest in plant-based innovation. With this funding round, Steve Ellis, co-managing partner of The Rise Fund, will join LiveKindly Collective's board of directors.
- LiveKindly Collective first formed about a year ago, when a group of high-level investors and veterans of the food industry came together to create a platform to fund and advocate for plant-based eating worldwide. In a year, the company has raised $535 million; acquired South Africa's Fry Family Food Co., Germany-based LikeMeat, Sweden-based Oumph and Iceland's No Meat; and partnered with Puris Holdings for research on growing protein-rich crops worldwide and reducing waste in the manufacturing process.
As LiveKindly Collective's global platform was being announced last year, Chairman and CEO Kees Kruythoff said in an interview its goal was to extend plant-based eating to the world. In just a year, it's become one of the highest funded and fastest growing plant-based platforms anywhere.
It's also been able to deliver on that mission with product expansions. Like Meat and Fry's products first arrived in Sprouts Farmers Markets stores in the U.S. this month. LiveKindly Collective also entered a joint venture with South African manufacturer RCL Foods for marketing and distribution in sub-Saharan Africa. It has plans to extend its product lines in new countries in Europe. The platform also has a partnership with Switzerland's Ospelt Group to create plant-based convenience meals, and is working with Germany's Rival Foods, which produces whole cuts of plant-based meat, to develop plant-based chicken products.
An agenda this sprawling not only needs funding — which the company has been able to get so far — but also guidance. LiveKindly Collective has been adding people to its ranks and governing board that have experience with the food business, funding and global markets. The company has 470 employees worldwide, according to the release announcing the newest funding. While The Rise Fund's Ellis is the newest addition to the platform's governing board, the board added six other members earlier this year. They include former Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb, former Unilever CEO Paul Polman, veteran investor Shujun Li, and sustainability and business leaders Suzy Amis Cameron, Barbara Kux and Gabrielle Sulzberger.
Plant-based eating has been on the rise worldwide as consumers become more interested both in sustainability and health. At a virtual event earlier this month, Kruythoff predicted plant-based food could bring in $400 billion to $500 billion in global sales by 2040 — a figure much higher than the 2019 UBS estimate that the market would reach $85 billion by 2030.
Sales figures from 2020 are still being tallied, but the plant-based segment — especially meat alternatives — saw sharp growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. As more U.S. consumers are becoming interested in plant-based foods, the timing is good to introduce new brands here. LiveKindly seems to be gearing up to do just that, and with its ongoing research partnerships and R&D projects, it is also getting prepared to continue the segment's growth in the future.