The vegan and plant-based business sector is seeing huge growth, with even multi-national corporations jumping on the bandwagon to get a piece of the animal-free pie!
You could argue that there’s no better time to start and grow a vegan business – a topic I cover in my book Vegan Ventures: Start and Grow an Ethical Business
Funding and capital raising is one of the challenges I hear most from aspiring and existing vegan entrepreneurs. I’m constantly asked how people can find investors willing to support their ventures. My first recommendation is to direct them to this comprehensive list of vegan and vegan-friendly investors that I maintain.
Here’s the scoop.
Who are these virtual pitch events for?
Vegan Investors is looking to focus on seed stage companies raising $100K to $1M.
According to the website, the group is looking for vegan entrepreneurs who are looking to scale vegan companies.
As such, it does NOT fund “vegan food trucks or restaurants, non-profit organizations, or companies that do not have the potential to address a large market or create a meaningful positive impact in our world.”
What I particularly love is that Vegan Investors is keen to fund companies led by women, people of color, or gender non-conforming.
They’re also interested in entrepreneurs who are using sustainable packaging for their products, and companies that are directly removing animals from the supply chain by providing alternatives.
“We have everything from CPG to tech but our niche is investing in vegan entrepreneurs leading vegan companies who are not afraid to own their veganism and promote a more compassionate, sustainable, plant-based world,” Robb told me.
How does it work?
According to Robb, this new initiative will shortly move to bi-monthly events and have two to four companies pitch to investors each time. “Everyone gets to listen in to everyone else,” she said. “After the event, investors will indicate their interest in learning more and we’ll go into due diligence on companies where there is investor interest. Investors can invest $5K or more.”
Vegan Investors will put together a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for each company investment they make. “This allows the company to aggregate smaller investors into one line item on their cap table,” Robb explained.
Now, while this may sound like an online version of Shark Tank, don’t worry, it’s not quite as intense as that! Investors don’t decide then and there on the call who will get investment. “Individuals have different interests, investment theses and so on, so not everyone will be interested in the same deal or deals,” says Robb. “Due diligence could take a couple weeks or a couple months, so it will be a case by case basis.
You’ll need to prepare an investor deck and a one-page summary.
Who are the investors?
Robb is bringing together investors with a common interest in investing in vegan-led vegan businesses. “Currently there are investors from the US, Canada, and Europe, but I expect there will be others as well,” she said.
All investors in the Vegan Investor group are accredited investors. According the group’s website, an accredited investor is “in the context of a natural person, includes anyone who earned income that exceeded $200,000 (or $300,000 together with a spouse) in each of the prior two years, and reasonably expects the same for the current year, OR has a net worth over $1 million, either alone or together with a spouse (excluding the value of the person’s primary residence)”.
Aside from Robb, other investors currently listed on the website include Caroline Bushnell, Associate Director of Corporate Engagement at the Good Food Institute (GFI); Caroline Love, an advisor and growth consultant working with plant-based food companies and venture capital funds investing in food; Verity Noble, a Boulder-based vegan and anti-plastic campaigner; and Michiel van Deursen, a former tech entrepreneur behind the largest classifieds internet platform in Belgium, as well as an Amsterdam-based internet agency and a tech incubator, who now invests solely in plant-based businesses.
How to apply
To apply for a spot in one of these upcoming virtual pitch events, go here where you’ll find a link to an application form on Google Docs.
The next event takes place on 26 September, 2019, and will move to bi-monthly events shortly after that.
Visit the Vegan Investors website for more information and to keep up to date.