Alternative dairy foodtech startup Vly, which creates milk from pea protein, has raised EUR€6.1M(approx. US$7.4M) in a Series A round led by Five Seasons Ventures. The capital raised will help the company scale its R&D and drive growth across the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and into new European markets, including the United Kingdom.
Berlin-based Vly, which is the sixth biggest plant milk brand in Germany, saw a capital injection from foodtech investors including Five Seasons Ventures, Global Founders Capital and Good Seed Ventures.
Founded in 2018, the startup went through 400 iterations before creating its alternative dairy milk from yellow split pea protein that is neutral in taste, high in protein and low in sugar. Vly claims the milk is very similar to the nutrients, taste, and functionality of cow’s milk albeit with a much more favourite environmental footprint. To produce one litre of vly requires 15x less CO2, 13x less water and 5x less land than its dairy counterpart.
The startups offers its product in three flavours – Original, Unsweetened, and Barista, and is priced at EUR€2.50 (approx. US$3.05) per carton a range that appeals to consumers, retailers and the food & beverage industry.
In January 2020, Vly launched in 25 stores. A mere 12 months later, its milk is stocked in over 10,000 stores including major German supermarkets like Rewe and Edeka and is serving customers in Austria, Estonia, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.
Managing director and co-founder of Vly Nicolas Hartmann said in a statement: “From the beginning health has been a critical component of our vision for vly, experimenting with macro and micronutrients for the optimal product. We continue to invest in research and development for our products, innovating from within the company every day and staying close to the process. We have started with milk, but we want to create a range of new dairy alternative products, providing tasty and healthy options that will accelerate the plant-based shift. This funding and the industry expertise of our investors play a key part in moving us forward in this mission.”
We have started with milk, but we want to create a range of new dairy alternative products, providing tasty and healthy options that will accelerate the plant-based shift. This funding and the industry expertise of our investors play a key part in moving us forward in this missionNicolas Hartmann, co-founder of Vly
The investment will help the company penetrate existing markets more deeply and expand to new international markets. In addition, the company will hire talent across all its departments to increase its current team of 15 to 40 and will scale its R&D and enter new product categories like chocolate drink and fermented products that are scheduled to launch this year.
Founding partner of Five Seasons Ventures and lead investor for the Series A round Niccolo Manzoni, added,: “We scanned the entire European market for an innovative dairy alternative and decided to invest in vly because of its superior nutrition, functional profile and impressive team. In such a short period of time vly has experienced exceptional traction in the market. We see huge potential for the vly team, who are committed to making category-defining plant-based products.”
Pea dairy is slowly but steadily gaining momentum with companies like Sweden-based vegan milk company Sproud raising £4.8 million (US$6.57 million) to further scale its pea milk production and even Swiss food behemoth Nestlé recently unveiled a new pea-based milk – Wunda, that is created out of yellow peas sourced from France and Belgium with the company claiming that it is high in fibre and a good source of protein.
Lead image -(from L to R)Vly co-founders Nicolas Hartmann, Moritz Braunwarth and Niklas Katter, courtesy of Vly.