Seattle-based vegan food startup Rebellyous Foods says it has raised $9.5 million in new funding, bringing its total funding to more than $30 million.
The new funding for Rebellyous Foods follows a $5.35 million raise in 2021, and a $6 million Series A round in 2020, according to Pitchbook.
In public regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Rebellyous said it’s aiming to raise more than $30.7 million in total. Previously investors include YB Choi of Cercano Management, angel investor Owen Gunden, and Mike Miller of Liquid 2 Ventures. There were at least 55 undisclosed investors in the latest round.
The company, which was launched in 2017 by former Boeing engineer Christie Lagally, says the new funding will be directed toward equipment for its plant-based meat. Rebellyous has been focused on vegan chicken nuggets, patties, and tenders to date.
It’s now working to develop what it’s calling “Mock 2” — production equipment that can bring Rebellyous’ products to commercial scale.
“It’s food-processing equipment at its core,” Lagally told Geekwire. “But the whole point is not using old style meat processing equipment to make plant-based meat, which is not a very good fit.”
The funding comes as Rebellyous had a record-setting year in 2022, even as sales were down for category leaders including Beyond Meat.
‘You can’t fool kids’
Rebellyous saw retail increase to 1,100 stores in 2022. But the bulk of its business comes from food service; it’s a primary supplier of vegan nuggets for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), serving 108 major school districts across the U.S.
The NSLP has been increasing its plant-based offerings to improve the health and sustainability of its meals in recent years.
Last July, California earmarked more than $700 million to overhaul school lunch programs in the state, bringing an emphasis to increasing plant-based offerings.
“Many school districts across our state have a sizable student population that requires or wants plant-based or restricted diet options and cannot afford the sometimes-higher prices,” former Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian of Van Nuys said in a statement. Nazarian pushed the legislation forward, saying it’s a “sizable step” toward empowering schools to respond to their students’ needs.
“School lunch has been a fantastic place for us because it’s a good match for our model of price parity and profitability,” Legally said. “And you can’t fool kids — it has to be high quality.”