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Los Angeles- based allergen-friendly ice cream brand Sunscoop has raised $2 million seed financing round led by Vibrant Ventures. H/L Ventures, Torch Capital and early angel investors also participated. The fresh capital will be used to lend support to upcoming product developments, new launches and commercial outreach strategies.
Sunscoop is a female-founded brand focused on developing superfood ice cream products suitable for almost every eater. The inclusive nature of the brand is something that has made it appealing to consumers and investors alike. Contemporary riffs on conventional flavours are a company trait as well.
Championing the future of inclusive foods
Founders Carli Blum and Chealsea Fisher have acknowledged that the new seed funding allows the next phase of company growth to begin in earnest. Launched at the open-air Smorgasburg market in 2017, the brand now has more than 700 retailers in place; Erewhon and Whole Foods included. Retail expansion is a primary concern, alongside a move to direct-to-consumer availability. The company plans to hire more team members to assist with outreach plans, while supporting the launch of five new products.
Stephen Juarez has recently joined Sunscoop as its first vice president of sales. He comes from a beverage background and represents the first of, hopefully, many new hires. A chief operating officer has been slated as being the next priority, to oversee the next phase of growth.
“Through years of innovation and perseverance, Carli and Chelsea attained the holy grail of clean ingredients, delicious taste, and a creamy texture using only plants,” Jarret Christie, CFA, managing partner at Vibrant Ventures and an angel investor in Sunscoop since 2018, said in a statement.
“Revolutionizing a food category with plant-based ingredients is an immense challenge and it’s particularly difficult in frozen desserts. This seed round represents a monumental milestone for the Sunscoop team, who has worked tirelessly to establish product-market fit with a captivating brand that consumers are drawn to while making ethical decisions with their dollars, and without compromising on taste.”
Changing habits and healing diets
The funding comes as figures show a shift in U.S. consumers’ spending habits. 39 percent are thought to be making active efforts to choose more plant-based foods, while 36 percent suffer from some degree of lactose intolerance. Together, the figures point to positive growth for companies such as Sunscoop, which has reported 142 percent year-on-year sales growth.
“Since our early days at Smorgasburg [market], it’s been incredible to see the response and growing demand from our customers, from those who can finally safely enjoy ice cream free of allergens, to those that are just looking to eat more plant-based,” co-founder and CEO Carli Blum said in a company statement.
“We’re so excited to have the support of industry leaders who fully believe in Sunscoop’s mission and the future of plant-based foods. Their capital and expertise will help us sustain growth, grow our internal team, support distribution into new regions, and develop new products that encourage people to reset their expectations of what plant-based, allergen-friendly products can offer.”
Sunscoop’s e-commerce platform is reopening this month with the launch of two new superfood-charged flavours, the first of five for this year.
Plant-based ice cream in the market
Dairy-free ice cream is having a moment right now, with big and indie brands all looking to snare a healthy share of the frozen dessert space. As a result, new names are launching, unique products are being showcased and existing companies are totally switching up their methodologies.
Coolhaus revealed last December that, following its acquisition by The Urgent Company, it is moving to an animal-product free production style. As a woman and LGBTQIA+ founded company, Coolhaus has focused on representation from the start. As part of The Urgent Company, it will seek to align with parent company values and go entirely plant-based, while still offering the same flavours that brand fans already enjoy.
Also in December, NadaMoo! revealed it had successfully secured $10 million in a Series B funding round. Existing investors doubled down to support extensive brand-building activities and an increased distribution network.
All photos by Sunscoop.