It’s a good day for Insectivores! Exo, a foodtech company developing insects as an alternative protein source, announced the close of a $1.2 million seed round. Investors include Collaborative Fund, Start Garden, and Silicon Valley heavyweight Tim Ferriss, the author of the 4-Hour Work Week (Oh, if only!) and whose prior investments include Twitter, Uber, Alibaba.
The New York-based company was started by two recent Brown University graduates, Greg Sewitz and Gabi Lewis, who are betting that consumers will adopt insects as a mainstream, tasty and sustainable alternative (or complementary) protein source.
Since launching its cricket protein bars in March, Exo said that they’ve been overwhelmed by demand and the new funding will be used to dramatically scale production and expand its product line. Co-Founder Gabi Lewis says, “This capital will help us take insect protein from novelty to daily conversation on a national scale. We’ve only scratched the surface of insects as food. The possibilities are massive.”
“I’m investing in Exo because they could create and dominate an entirely new food category. An opportunity like this comes along perhaps once every few decades,” says Ferriss. “This could be the future of protein, and I’ve helped assemble influencers to pour promotional gasoline on the fire they’ve already started with a world-class
Also on the Exo team are Kyle Connaughton, former Head Chef of R&D a The Fat Duck, which became the #1-ranked restaurant in the world during his tenure, and Zac Goldberg, who was on the founding team at Groupon and will lead digital marketing and growth.
This investment comes fresh-off the founders’ completion of AccelFoods’ accelerator program, where they received funding and support from mentors including Tom Colicchio (Owner, craft restaurants and ‘wichcraft and Head Judge on Bravo’s Top Chef) and Bob Burke (Former VP, Sales and Marketing at Stonyfield Farms).
AccelFoods co-founders Lauren Jupiter and Lauren Gaspar add, “We saw potential in Exo early on, and are thrilled to continue supporting them in their “Cricket protein bars are just the tip of the iceberg for Exo,” says Greg Sewitz. “Edible insects are exceptionally nutritious and leave a tiny environmental footprint. They are the future. We’re excited to have investors who recognize and believe in our mission, our products, and our team. Now it’s time to grow.”
Who knows, next time you’re at a restaurant, there really may be a bug in your soup.
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