- Bimbo Ventures, the venture capital arm of Grupo Bimbo, made a minority investment in Olyra Foods, a producer of organic and nutritional breakfast biscuits made with stone-milled ancient Greek grains, the companies said in a statement.
- The undisclosed investment, part of a larger $4 million funding round for Olyra, according to CEO Yannis Varellas, will help the company expand its presence in retail and on-line marketplaces. Grupo Bimbo was the lead investor in the round, he said in an interview.
- While Grupo Bimbo is best known for Entenmann’s and Sara Lee baked goods and Thomas’ English muffins, the company has been investing in and purchasing smaller upstarts that play in trendier categories.
Grupo Bimbo is one of the largest baking companies in the world with a portfolio chock full of buns, breads and doughnuts and other offerings. Despite this expansive presence, the baker has been actively expanding its reach into other areas popular with consumers.
In recent years, the company has made investments in Rule Breaker Snacks, a maker of vegan, gluten-free and allergy-friendly treats that are high in protein and fiber; and LiveKuna, a manufacturer of natural products made from superfood ingredients including quinoa and chia. It also purchased gourmet popcorn brand Popcornopolis, giving it a bigger presence in fast-growing snack category.
The minority investment in Olyra, which was founded in 2017, immediately gives Grupo Bimbo a bigger presence in the morning with biscuits that are organic, non-GMO and made with natural ingredients. Olyra also promotes its products’ nutritional profiles with 4 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein and 6 grams of sugar per serving. Its biscuits include ancient grains, such as barley, oat, spelt and lupine.
Olyra, which has a presence online and can be found in more than 5,000 retail locations, previously only raised capital from friends and family. This is the first time the business has raised money from outside investors, Varellas said.
He said his company has been growing rapidly but hasn’t invested much money in brand awareness. The funding the company raised will be used for that purpose as well as to hire employees. Varellas said Grupo Bimbo, with its “huge muscles and resources,” will help provide Olyra with vauable insight and provide connections as it grows.
While Grupo Bimbo has better-for-you offerings such as Thomas English muffins with whole grain, Sara Lee bread made with veggies and Arnold organic bread containing 22 whole grains and seeds, Olyra expands that significantly through its focus on nutritional breakfast options. Having Grupo Bimbo as an investor will enable the six-year old Olyra to tap into the bakery giant’s market expertise, and if the upstart’s growth remains robust, provide an attractive acquisition target later on.
“Olyra, in a very authentic way, has tapped into a consumer need for more nutritious and delicious breakfast solutions,” Constantino Matouk, vice president of Bimbo Ventures, said in a statement. “We are excited to work with them to help grow the business and expand availability of Olyra’s products to more consumers.”