Little Spoon Inc., a direct-to-consumer baby food company targeting Millennial parents, has raised $ 44 million in a round of venture capital funding.
The so-called Series B funding round values the company at around $ 200 million, people familiar with the matter said. It was led by Valor Equity Partners.
Little Spoon ships organic purees, toddler meals and vitamins to customers, bypassing grocery stores and other distribution points. Last year, Little Spoon launched Plates, its meals for toddlers and adults. The company also offers a virtual community that offers caregivers a platform to connect and interact.
“Packaged baby food has not evolved in keeping with the modern parent,” CEO Ben Lewis said in an interview. “It was this glaring void that we couldn’t ignore,” added Lewis, who co-founded Little Spoon in 2017 with Lisa Barnett, Michelle Muller and Angela Vranich.
Little Spoon is one of many newbie baby food companies to jump on the organic trend, with the goal of attracting the growing demographics of millennial parents. Recent reports of high levels of toxic metals in several major brands of baby food have opened the door to new safety-focused competitors.
Little Spoon also emphasizes that this is a mission-driven company. During the Covid-19 pandemic, it donated over $ 100,000 of its products to pantries and set up a program to provide the products at cost to first responders and anyone who experienced financial difficulties linked to the pandemic, according to the co-founders.
“This is exactly the kind of company that we like to invest in,” said Jon Shulkin, board member and partner of Valor Equity Partners, who also invested in Little Spoon on his series fundraiser. A. “They solve a problem and do a good job. He said he was optimistic about the company’s growth prospects as there are “always ways to evolve” for baby and child food manufacturers.
Little Spoon said it is growing rapidly, delivering seven million meals since the start of the pandemic out of the 15 million delivered since the company was founded. Big baby food manufacturers have had to adapt as some parents prepare theirs and others embrace baby-directed weaning, in which infants are given chunks of real food rather than purees.
While overall food sales increased during the pandemic-related shutdowns in the United States, the baby food segment has not received the same boost, according to market research firm IRI. Baby food sales fell in the spring of 2020, and although they have since increased, growth continued to lag behind the broader food segment.
—Annie Gasparro contributed to this article.
Write to Corrie Driebusch at [email protected]
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