KBW Ventures, founded by Saudi royal and chief executive officer Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, made its first investment in French startup Furahaa Group, which focuses on addressing France’s market needs for plant-based foods and alternative meat.
U.A.E-based KBW Ventures recently invested in a Paris-based company for the first time. Furahaa Group, founded by entrepreneur Arthur Devillers, and has three operating subsidiaries – PlantB2B, ViVeg, and its dining venue, Furahaa.
Plant B2B supplies and distributes plant-based products as well as stocks the Group’s restaurants, ViVeg is the group’s B2C arm that is based on a vegan food subscription box business model and Furahaa is a vegan fast food chain offering several plant-based options to consumers in the country.
In the past, KBW Ventures has supported several food techs in the alternative protein sector including Beyond Meat, Memphis Meats, Rebellyous Foods,lab-grown milk maker TurtleTree Labs, cultivated seafood maker BlueNalu, U.S. fast food mainstay Veggie Grill, vegan jerky company Moku Foods, and animal-free pet food firm Bond Pet Foods.
In a press release seen by Green Queen, Prince Alwaleed who also serves on the Advisory Board of the Feed The Next Billion Challenge organized by XPRIZE, a four-year competition dedicated to alternative proteins, said: “This is my first investment in the French market. Furahaa Group, driven by Arthur’s vision for an inclusive and diverse workplace, while giving both consumers and other vendors a route to choose plant-based options, had me interested in the business immediately. The distribution business is strong, and during the pandemic I saw a swift and organized pivot– something any investor would find very attractive in a portfolio company.”
Furahaa Group, driven by Arthur’s vision for an inclusive and diverse workplace, while giving both consumers and other vendors a route to choose plant-based options, had me interested in the business immediatelyPrince Khaled bin Alwaleed, founder & CEO, KBW Ventures
Previously, KBW Ventures participated in the Furahaa Group’s seed round alongside private investors. Devillers said that the group was initially looking for investors that believe in the same goals as they do to ensure its stock stability. “We wanted to better meet shortages of plant-based foodstuffs, as in France alternative proteins – meat and dairy alternatives – are not yet widely available at competitive price points. Sourcing quality ingredients at price parity was a challenge, so this led to Furahaa Group developing our own supply chain and distribution streams.”
In France, alternative proteins are not yet widely available at competitive price points. Sourcing quality ingredients at price parity was a challenge, so this led to Furahaa Group developing our own supply chain and distribution streamsArthur Devillers, founder, Furahaa Group
Devillers added that the fast-food segment especially will witness new menu items in the near future embracing the latest developments in food science for the vegan ecosystem. Going forward the group aims to expand across the country, open new Furahaa outlets and set up a franchise model. “Furahaa would like to be the first plant-based chain in France. It’s simple: we want to be everywhere that mainstream fast food is, but offering plant-based, delicious, ethical alternatives.”
While France boasts an increasing number of alt protein players, the country’s agriculture minister has spoken out against cellular agriculture and any moves by French politicians to reduce the consumption of animal protein cause major furor, despite scientific evidence to the contrary. In fact, in the country’s new “food sovereignty” plan, despite the E.U.’s sustainable food system strategy having a focus on alternative proteins, Denormandie left the sector out of his plans entirely and instead is looking to ramp up soybean and protein crop production for livestock animal feed in order to limit dependence on imports, a blow for the climate crisis given the heavy carbon emissions toll this move will entail.
Lead image – Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, courtesy of KBW Ventures.