[NEW YORK] Manna Tree Partners, the investment firm co-founded and led by Gabrielle Rubenstein, the daughter of billionaire private equity magnate David Rubenstein, said on Wednesday it has invested in plant-based ingredient maker Nutriati.
It is a bet on the growing market for meat substitutes and gluten-free foods, and follows the successful initial public offering (IPO) earlier this year of plant-based meat maker Beyond Meat.
Manna Tree is leading a US$12.7 million series C round in Nutriati, with private equity firm Open Prairie also investing.
Whereas companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods make plant-based burgers to sell to restaurants and consumers, Nutriati sells ingredients which can be used by food producers. It uses pulses, such as chickpeas and lentils, as replacements for meats, eggs and the gluten in pasta.
"What is cornerstone to each one of those companies is getting the right ingredients. So we feel like investing in the ingredients is the right play," Manna Tree chief operating officer Brent Drever said in a telephone interview.
Nutriati, Manna Tree's third investment, expects to grow revenues fivefold year on year in 2019, according to Nutriati chief executive Michael Todd.
"For 2020 we're targeting 10 times growth. This infusion of capital really allows us to expand our capacity to meet the market demand," Mr Todd said.
The company declined to disclose the valuation for the fundraising round.
Manna Tree was founded in 2018 by Mr Drever, Ross Iverson and Gabrielle Rubenstein, who is also chief executive. Ms Rubenstein is the daughter of David Rubenstein, co-founder of private equity giant Carlyle Group.
Vail, Colorado-based Manna Tree targets deals in the US food supply chain and plans to make four to six investments in 2020, Mr Drever said.
In addition to Beyond Meat's IPO, Impossible Foods raised US$300 million in a private fundraising round in May and is in talks with investors about a new round of fundraising that could more than double the US$2 billion valuation, Reuters reported last month.