Most people want to eat healthier and the discussion always revolves around the optimal mix of fruits, veggies, and protein. Most meat and dairy substitutes that provide protein taste like the awful taste of protein powder. Until Protes. It’s a high protein, vegan, gluten free and low carb snack in the form of chips to make it easier for you to maintain a balanced diet.
AlleyWatch sat down with CEO and cofounder Krik Angacian to discuss the tasty protein snacks as well as their most recent funding round.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We ~$1.2M in our Series A led by one of the largest CPG company’s in the world (can’t disclose who) as well as SOSV.
Tell us about your product or service.
We are committed to creating the world’s premier protein snacks. Our first product line is Protes protein chips. They are baked chips made from pea protein isolate. The chips are vegan, Non-GMO Project Certified, gluten free, all natural, and kosher.
What inspired you to start the company?
Back in college I was eating a protein bar and just thinking how sick I was of the bars and shakes on the market and wished snacks were out there.
How is it different?
We are committed to creating functional foods with a focus on protein and snacking.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We initially were targeting the fitness market, but as the company has grown we are really looking at a much wider demographic of health conscious consumers.
What’s your business model?
We sell direct to retailer, distributor, and consumer (via our website).
Do these replace protein shakes?
They absolutely can. Our chips in a single serving have 15 grams of protein/28 gram serving. They are a crunchy tasty alternative to bars and shakes.
What was the funding process like?
We did a small seed round with SOSV a few months earlier and our growth was so strong that a much larger group started conversations soon after for a full Series A. We were already cash profitable at that point so we didn’t feel the need to run a full financial raise, but the right partners came along and we decided it was in the best interest of the company to engage with them in negotiations and an eventual deal.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The valuation is always the biggest component of any raise. We had a lot of back and forth on that and eventually we came to a mutually beneficial agreement. The follow on term sheet and full documents took a long time, but that was mostly down to lawyers at that point.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
The space we are in combined with the high growth of the business over the last year. I think our team, including Ryan my business partner, was a huge factor in us coming to an agreement. At the end of the day they were investing in a company, but they were also investing in the founders.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We just relaunched our brand and have our eyes set on launching further West! We have a new flavor coming out in a few months, and one or two product lines in the works that we’re very excited about.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Concentrate on your business. Forget about raising capital. If you’re running a profitable high growth business, investors will come. We were almost three times over committed in this round and had to turn away a lot of fantastic partners. The reason was because we were high growth with profitability.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We expect to continue to grow in the mass-market grocery retailers as well as strengthen our relationship with the sports nutrition category.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
I’m a Brooklyn/Williamsburg guy. After work I typically hit the gym, then go to my local bar, Duck Duck, for a whiskey or two. I’m a man of repetition.