Ever since our culture started putting such an emphasis on finding non-animal protein, we’ve discovered and re-appreciated some of earth’s greatest foods. But while we’ve relearned to love almonds and avocados, we’ve missed out on this ancient super-bean that’s about to join the discussion. BRAMI, the lupini bean company is an age-old energizing snack that is making an epic comeback 2,000 years later. From ancient Rome until today a lot may have changed but the high protein content and the incredible taste of these beans have stayed the same for your benefit.
AlleyWatch spoke with founder Aaron Gatti about the company and its latest round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised $1.5M from Lerer Hippeau Ventures, AccelFoods, and Enlightened Capital
Tell us about your product or service.
We make packaged food products. Specifically, Snacking Lupini–an ancient Mediterranean legume that is lightly fermented and pickled, easy to digest, and great for clean plant-protein snacking.
What inspired you to start the company?
Being half Italian, I always wanted to bring some of the magic of Italian food back to the States with me. I have also always been concerned about the impact our overreliance on animal-protein has on the health of people and our planet. It doesn’t get more simple and wholesome than BRAMI Beans, and with the highest protein density of any plant on earth, they could really be a force for good.
How is it different?
BRAMI Beans are the only shelf-stable snack that aren’t baked, fried or dried. The powerful simplicity of lupini beans also makes BRAMI’s nutritional profile unparalleled – with just a small fraction of the usual fat, calories and starch of others snacks in the space.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
The snack food market is enormous. Over 100 billion in North America.
What’s your business model?
Establish brand equity in the Natural Retail channel and then expand online and into other retail channels.
How would you describe the taste?
Hard to explain. To me they taste a little like halloumi cheese, though they do have a little tang like a pickle. Definitely very umami.
What was the funding process like?
It definitely takes a lot of bandwidth but it is also a healthy process for evaluating your position and model.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Managing your business at the same time.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Plant-protein snacking has a lot of potential and BRAMI Beans are very differentiated within that segment. Loving the product themselves also helps a lot.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We are now in 5 regions across the country. We want to see noticeable growth in velocity in each.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Don’t take on fixed costs too early and be realistic in projecting how much time and money you can afford to invest.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Our focus is growing our consumer base in the regions we are in.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Sauce in the LES. Simple delicious food. Hard to get home-style food at good prices in the city like that.