Lisa Curtis. Photo via fb.com
Kellogg Company’s venture fund has invested more in a West Coast food startup.
Eighteen94 capital, the venture fund of Battle Creek-based Kellogg Company, participated in a $5-million Series B funding round for Oakland, California-based Kuli Kuli, which makes products from the superfood moringa, according to Kellogg today.
Alsip, Illinois-based Griffith Foods, a global product development company, led the funding round.
It follows Kuli Kuli’s Series A financing round, which eighteen94 capital led in 2017.
“We’re thrilled to continue to partner with Kellogg to grow our retail business, while partnering with Griffith Foods to expand into the food service and ingredient space,” said Lisa Curtis, founder and CEO, Kuli Kuli.
Simon Burton, managing director at eighteen94 Capital, said Kuli Kuli was eighteen94’s first investment.
“(It) has served as a model for how large food companies can partner with startups to the benefit of both,” Burton said. “We’re thrilled to grow and strengthen our partnership with Kuli Kuli.”
The investment will help Kuli Kuli launch its new moringa ingredient business, while continuing to scale its moringa powder, bars and shots business. The company currently sells moringa products in 7,000 stores nationwide.
Similar in taste to matcha, moringa is an ingredient containing “complete protein” and an “array of vitamins and health benefits” with commercial applications ranging from savory to sweet.
Griffith Foods plans to include moringa in its ingredient offerings for the company’s food service customers, processors, retailers and distributors across 30 countries.
Kuli Kuli and Griffith Foods will showcase moringa food and beverage products at the Natural Products Expo from March 7-9 in Anaheim, California.
Kuli Kuli was founded in 2011.
A number of institutional investors participated in the Series B funding round: Toronto-based InvestEco; Chicago-based S2G Ventures; Oakland, California-based Authentic Ventures; Washington, D.C.-based VilCap Investments; and Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands-based Rocana Venture Partners.
Kuli Kuli also received investment capital from several women-focused groups: Menlo Park, California-based Portfolia; San Francisco-based Astia Angels; Denver-based Next Wave Impact; and individuals from New York-based Golden Seeds.