- Animal-free dairy company Perfect Day created The Urgent Company, which will develop its proteins into CPG products.
- The Urgent Company is run by Paul Kollesoff, an entrepreneur who has worked with Glanbia and operates a contract manufacturing company in Southern California. The Urgent Company is independent of Perfect Day, with its own executives and its own board. Perfect Day provided some funds to get it going and organized a seed round of funding, but Perfect Day CEO Ryan Pandya wrote on Medium that The Urgent Company will run on its own.
- The first brand launch from The Urgent Company is Brave Robot, an ice cream company that will launch later this month in stores in the Pacific Northwest and can be ordered online.
When Perfect Day announced earlier this month that its latest funding round had increased by $160 million and now added up to $300 million, the company did not say what it was going to do with the money. With the launch of The Urgent Company, part of that question is answered.
In his Medium post, Pandya writes that the new company helps Perfect Day do something it could not otherwise. Perfect Day made the conscious decision to become an ingredients provider four years ago, and has been concentrating on making and scaling animal-free dairy proteins. While Pandya said he's focused on bringing meaning to Perfect Day as a brand, he wrote that not being in the branded products sphere makes that harder.
"Consumer brands are powerful — they interact with the world and its many cultures in a way that’s simply impossible for an ingredients supplier," Pandya wrote. "More importantly, they can drive culture in meaningful ways. If our vision is so broad, how can we achieve it without taking active steps across the entire value chain? It’s not just ingredients that need to be re-thought. It’s the products themselves: the brand identities, the packaging, the distribution networks, the waste management. All of it."
The Urgent Company gives a quick outlet for Perfect Day's animal-free dairy to be turned into products and sold in stores, but without pulling the company itself from its goals of making better products that are accessible in many diverse places. It's been about a year since Perfect Day's first product — a limited number of ice cream pints under the Perfect Day brand — hit the market. The ice cream sold out in one day, and the company has been experimenting with other products ever since. It's never said what would come next, but teased what those products might be, sending media photos of milk, cheese and spreads in a folder called "Future Project Portfolio" in December. Perfect Day's website features photos of yogurt, a bagel spread with cream cheese, a cheese pizza and a slice of pie à la mode next to a callout asking food manufacturers to partner with them.
And while Perfect Day has only made ice cream so far — it's also used in Smitten's N'Ice Cream, which can be ordered online — there are myriad possibilities for other products. Perfect Day is working to get the word out about the protein it makes, with executives speaking at conferences and through a partnership with Archer Daniels Midland to scale and commercialize its products.
Working through The Urgent Company, Perfect Day doesn't have to wait for a slow-moving food company to bring products on the market. Kollesoff told Food Navigator, "Not many CPG companies can get a product from concept to launch in 16 weeks." As an agile startup, The Urgent Company can be quick, and through the e-commerce capabilities it has built from the beginning, it can get its products to consumers nationwide. Not only does this get products out to consumers, but it also can show Big Food what can be done with Perfect Day's dairy, which could lead to bigger launches in the future.
It's common for food companies to launch spinoffs that help accomplish tasks that are related and important to their core mission. Many spinoffs are more about extending a manufacturer's umbrella to provide funding and expertise to unaffiliated startups, like General Mills' 301 Inc, or creating a space in a large company for a group to do business like a startup and try to create the next trendy brand, like Mondelez's SnackFutures. Some are for branding reasons, like Tofurky's Moocho, which branched off earlier this year for the established plant-based meat brand to move into vegan dairy.
Correction: In a previous version of the article the headline misidentified the relationship of Perfect Day and The Urgent Company. The Urgent Company is not the CPG arm of Perfect Day. They are run as separate companies.