- Laird Superfood, a creator of plant-based superfood products, filed for a $40 million IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In its S-1 filing, Laird said it had revenue of $13.1 million in 2019 compared to $8.3 million a year earlier. In the first six months of 2020, revenue increased to $11.1 million. The 5-year-old company has proposed trading under the ticker symbol LSF.
- Laird's products are currently sold in about 5,500 stores. In its filing, Laird said its goal is "to build the first scale-level and widely recognized brand that authentically focuses on natural ingredients, nutritional density and functionality." It estimated the market for the natural, organic and functional foods and beverages at $152 billion.
- Laird's biggest investor is Danone Manifesto Ventures, the corporate venture arm of the global food products giant. It has a 13.4% stake in the company. In April, Danone Manifesto Ventures invested $10 million in the company.
Co-founded in 2015 by big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, his decision to closely watch what he ate evolved into a brand with a goal to bring clean, simple superfoods to the masses. Laird Superfood's portfolio includes creamers and hot chocolates with functional mushrooms, organic coconut sugar, coconut water with calcified red marine sea algae and coffees.
While the company is small, Laird could be moving forward with an IPO while demand for the types of products it makes is especially popular. Even before the coronavirus, natural, organic and functional foods were being sought out by shoppers more concerned about what goes into their bodies than ever before. The ongoing pandemic has only heightened that awareness, which places Laird in a position to capitalize on the surge in demand. Laird noted in its SEC filing that sales have increased as consumers prepare more meals in their homes.
A major source of its revenue comes online, making up nearly 60% of sales in 2019, and during the first six months of 2020 coming through its own website and Amazon. With e-commerce increasing in popularity, and online shopping expected to command a larger share of the shopping dollar even after the pandemic has abated, Larid's foothold in this channel could give it an advantage.
Another advantage could be the products it makes. Laird noted that because the consumption of coffee, creamers and hydration products is a daily ritual for many people, Laird has long benefited from repeat orders. Laird, which noted subscriptions and repeat customers on its website made up 61% of its revenue through the end of June, said growing this figure is a strong focus for the company.
In its S-1 filing, Laird shared an outlook similar to what plant-based food companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods say publicly about growing market share. They are not after other plant-based manufacturers, but rather large meat processors whose products they say are harmful for the environment and human health.
Laird said it doesn't view its competition as other better-for-you, less processed creamer companies, for example, but instead products from CPGs such as Nestlé and Danone, which it said are sugar-laden, highly processed and have undecipherable ingredient lists. In hydration, it targeted PepsiCo's Gatorade and Coca-Cola's PowerAde as its chief competitors because of their use of artificial sugars, ingredients and colors.
Despite competing against Danone in some areas, Laird has likely benefited from the company's large scale and market insight. It's uncertain why Danone, Laird's largest shareholder, didn't decide to buy the rest of the company it doesn't own, especially after increasing its stake just a few months ago and the apparent success Laird has had recently with increasing sales during the pandemic.
A public sale of stock would no doubt give Laird millions of dollars it could use to expand its business, invest in product development and increase its rate of repeat customers. But the segments where Laird operates are loaded with competitors, ranging from large CPGs to smaller players like Harmless Harvest and Vita Coco in hydration and Califia Farms and Coca-Cola's Fairlife in creamers.