SAN FRANCISCO, NEW YORK—Nutrition Capital Network (NCN) presented 64 companies to its investor-members at four different investor meetings in 2014.
Since NCN was founded in 2007, 407 companies have been presented at 23 total investor meetings. Presenting companies were selected from more than 2,000 applicants.
Investors favor beverages, snacks and condition-specific supplements
Of the 40 companies that presented at NCN’s two day-long investor meetings in 2014—NCN XIV in New York and NCN XV in San Francisco—55 percent were natural, organic or functional packaged food & beverage; 15 percent supplements/medical food; 15 percent ingredients; 5 percent personal care & household brands; 5 percent IT-related; and 5 percent retail, according to Grant Ferrier, the company’s CEO and principal. “Overall our dealflow database is somewhat similar in terms of segment breakdown," he noted.
“Investors continue to be interested in innovative brands in wellness and nutrition that are past proof of concept and ready to scale or go beyond regional distribution," said Ferrier. “The numbers show that beverages, snacks, and condition-specific supplements that are consumed frequently are favored by investors, but our meetings also prove that a unique product concept with an authentic story and a seasoned, well organized management team has the best odds of raising capital."
Ingredients and science attract pharma, biotech and life science investors
NCN also held two half-day investor meetings in 2014 dedicated to science and ingredients and principally aimed at functional foods, supplements and consumer health; 24 companies presented.
“Healthy and functional foods are a battleground for marketshare between the world's biggest food and beverage companies, and consumer health is increasingly a serious endeavor for leading pharmaceutical companies," Ferrier observed. “This is making the science, intellectual property and ingredients behind new nutrition and health & wellness products of utmost importance."
Among NCN investor-members are leading ingredient suppliers like DSM, BASF, Ingredion and others, in addition to life science and biotech investors looking for natural or faster-to- market compounds compared to the conventional drug track.
More than half of NCN companies complete a transaction
Analyzing the flow of companies that have presented at NCN investor meetings from 2007 to 2013, 195 out of 330, or 59 percent, have raised capital or completed some sort of transaction, suggesting that more than 35 of the 64 NCN 2014 presenters will have completed a transaction by this time next year.
“Although not all transactions are directly or exclusively attributable to NCN, a success rate of nearly 60 percent is indicative of the talents of our 20-member selection committee in choosing and advising companies that appeal to a range of investors in the nutrition and health & wellness industry," said Ferrier. “It also reflects the support of NCN’s evolving network that creates a productive ecosystem for young growth companies."
Highlights of NCN past presenting companies announced in 2014
Grower’s Secret, a specialist in organic plant growth enhancers and eco-friendly fertilizers, received an investment that positioned it acquire Midwestern BioAg in June 2014, a company with more than $30 million in revenues from biological farming. [Grower’s Secret was an NCN presenting company in 2012.]
KeVita, the sparkling probiotics drinks brand, closed a $6 million Series D financing led by SPK Capital LLC. [Kevita was an NCN presenter in 2012.]
Freshpet Inc. raised USD $180 million in a November 2014 initial public offering. MidOcean Partners acquired a significant equity position in Freshpet
in 2011. [Freshpet was an NCN presenter in 2010.]
Runa LLC, a company that sells beverages made from guayusa, a naturally caffeinated Amazonian tree leaf brewed like tea, received a $5.75 million investment from MetaBrand Capital and others. [Runa was an NCN presenter in 2014.]
Ecologic Brands, maker of a recycled paper bottle and eco bottle line, closed a $7 million financing in which Kruger Inc., a major Canadian manufacturer of paper, cardboard and recycled products, participated along with angel investors DBL Investors, Catamount Ventures, and Black Bear Partners. [Ecologic was an NCN presenter in 2013.]
Essentia Water LLC, a brand of bottled alkaline water, closed a $3.2 million convertible note in 2014 with participation from a select group of investors. [Essentia was an NCN presenter in 2013.
Suja Juice, a company that makes organic, non-GMO juice using high pressure processing technology, announced an undisclosed minority investment reported to be in excess of $10 million in a company that now has over $50 million in annualized sales. [Suja was an NCN presenting company in 2013.]
General Mills agreed to buy Annie’s Homegrown for about $820 million in cash in September 2014. [Annie’s was an NCN presenting company in 2009.]
Angie’s Artisan Treats was purchased by TPG Growth in October 2014 from the founder owners and NCN Cornerstone Investor Sherbrooke Capital. [Angie’s was an NCN presenting company in 2013.]