After bagging €16 million (US$19 million) in funding, Spanish food tech Heura is aiming for vegan pork. Funds from the round will also go towards fuelling its global expansion, with the British and American as its main focus. It comes just weeks after Heura’s crowdfunding campaign raised €4 million (US$4.8 million) in just 24 hours.
Heura, the Barcelona-based startup best known for its vegan chicken, has secured €16 million in a new round led by Impact Fooding. Other investors who backed Heura include Capital V, Unovis, Lever VC and Green Monday. Notably, football stars Chris Smalling, Sergi Roberto and Cesc Fábregas joined as angel investors.
Eyeing the U.S. market
The food tech will be using the funds to support its global expansion plans, with particular emphasis on the U.K. market as its “springboard” to reach American diners. Heura entered British supermarket shelves last year, and plans to double down its presence there in the coming months.
“We are jumping to the U.K. in order to create global awareness — in English — about our mission and vision, in order to prove a concept there to then jump to the States,” said Heura’s co-founder and CEO Marc Coloma, in an interview with Sifted.
It will also be looking for new hires to fuel its international growth, Coloma added.
We are jumping to the U.K. in order to create global awareness…[and] prove a concept there to then jump to the States.Marc Coloma, Co-Founder & CEO, Heura
Plant-based pork is next
Currently, Heura’s line-up of plant-based meat analogues include chicken strips and chunks, and beef burgers. Now that they’ve secured extra funds, the company is going to ramp up R&D to produce vegan pork too.
After launching plant-based pork, Heura has plans to continually increase its product quality and variety. It recently released a healthier “2.0” version of its vegan beef burger, which boasts a lower saturated fat and higher protein content. To achieve this, Heura’s R&D team used extra virgin olive oil to innovate a new fat that could mimic the juiciness of animal-based fats, while still ticking the boxes in terms of nutrition.
Heura is likely to use this technology in its future products to make healthier plant-based products. It will appeal to the growing numbers of nutrition-focused consumers who are driving the clean label movement.
“Our products have a clean label, are among the healthiest available,” Coloma is quoted saying in a previous statement. “And our Mediterranean heritage means that we are the only plant-based meat made with olive oil.”
Investors keen to back Heura
Heura’s latest financing news just weeks after the startup secured €4 million (US$4.8 million) through a crowdfunding campaign. It raised the amount from over 3,000 investors within just 24 hours on Crowdcube. The Barcelona company originally aimed for €3 million, but had to raise the amount to the maximum after breaking its target in 8 hours.
Commenting on its additional €16 million venture capital funding, Coloma said: “Having such a mission-driven profile of investors who trust and believe in our purpose means we’ll be able to boost the protein transition and accelerate the change we want to see in the world.”
“Our mission is clear, and now we have gas to get there faster,” Coloma added.
We’ll be able to boost the protein transition and accelerate the change we want to see in the world.Marc Coloma, Co-Founder & CEO, Heura
Record sales in 2020
Investment interest in Heura is driven by its impressive growth figures. In 2020, the company closed the year with a turnover of €8 million—triple that of the year before. It has established a footprint in 16 countries globally, including Italy, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands and Chile.
The brand also stands as the fastest-growing plant-based startup in Europe, and has increased its fanbase to more than 190,000 in the past twelve months amid the pandemic-driven rise in demand in vegan food from mainstream consumers.
All images courtesy of Heura.