A large portion of the nutrients that are found in fruits and vegetables are found in the skin. The skin is a rich source of antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Yet many of us prefer to consume fruits without the peels. RIND is a skin-on dried fruit snack brand that offers chewy snacks. The company currently offers six flavors, all made from California-grown organic fruit, that are vegan, non-GMO, kosher, and gluten-free. RIND can be found direct-to-consumer through its website as well as distributed online through Amazon, HungryRoot, FreshDirect, Good Eggs, Hive Brands, and Imperfect Foods and in-person at ~100 locations like select Whole Foods and Juice Press throughout the city. Through the pandemic, the company was able to grow revenue 5x and now plans to launch its first dried fruit snack chip. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Founder Matt Weiss to learn more about the benefits of skin-on dried fruit snacks, the company’s strategic plans, recent round of funding from investors that include Valor Siren Ventures and Melitas Ventures.
The robotics industry is at an inflection point where the baton is being passed from the scientists to the practitioners. In historical terms, we are witnessing the Edisons of the world harness the innovations of the likes of Faraday to create life-changing businesses and wealth. Automation has moved from smart manufacturing and logistics to fry cooking and salad tossing.
Plant-based milks are becoming a popular alternative to dairy-based options both for health reasons and environmental concerns; producing dairy milk results in three times more gas emissions than plant-based alternatives and requires nine times more land. Coconut, almond, soy, and oat are among the most common plant-based milks but there are other varieties available from hemp, pea, cashew, quinoa, macadamia, rice, flax, and even hazelnut. Numilk is bringing the benefits of plant-based milks to your home and to your café. Initially, the company started with large kiosks in supermarkets that allowed customers to make their own milk. Now Numilk is bringing that convenience to the home. They’ve developed an appliance that produces plant-based milk from the pouches similar to a Nespresso machine. The pouches only contain organic, pure, whole food without any preservatives, processed, sweeteners, gums, or fillers and produces 16oz for the consumer version; the industrial version forcafés produces 32oz. Numilk is currently taking pre-orders starting at $149 with the retail price expected to be $299 at launch. The team recently appeared on Shark Tank and closed $2M in funding from Mark Cuban. AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounders Ari Tolwin and Joe Savino to learn more about the benefits of plant-based milks, the company’s future plans, and much, more.
The pandemic has driven fundamental shifts in the business of alcoholic beverages as well as domestic behaviors within the home. With strict at-home orders, Americans began bringing more and more alcohol into their homes to combat stress in some cases and boredom in others; interest in at-home cocktail making rose sharply. Owen’s Craft Mixers is a premium mixer brand that offers an array of flavors and mixes to allow consumers to make the perfect cocktail from the comfort of their home. The mixers are available in 14,000 physical stores including Public, Kroger, and CVS, and online through the company’s website and Instacart. Owen’s Craft Mixers are also available at bars and restaurants, sports venues, and golf courses. This omnichannel strategy led to a 378% increase in sales year-to-date as compared to 2020. Alleywatch caught up with Cofounder and President Joshua Miller to learn more about the company’s impressive traction, future plans, latest round of funding from investors that include Levy Family Partners, Mario Lemieux, Maas Family Office, Lee Brice, Darius Rucker, and Ryan Hurd.
The pandemic has increased the adoption of digital technologies for a number of industries. But this adoption isn’t necessarily symmetric for all industries, especially mom and pop independent pizzerias that have traditionally shied away from technology. Slice empowers these businesses by enabling them to harness the power of technology at a time when these restaurants need it the most. At its core, the company features an end-to-end ordering and marketing platform that helps local pizzerias build their digital and online presence in order to address the preferences of today’s digital consumers. The company also offers “Slice Register” (a proprietary POS system), a networked rewards/loyalty platform for pizza lovers, and an acceleration program that invests directly into technology for its partners. Supporting pizzerias on the front end is the consumer app that allows users to order directly from and support over 15,000 pizzerias. Slice charges a nominal, flat per-order fee, saving these pizzerias from the onerous, hefty commissions charged by third-party apps that are percentage-based. By its estimate, the company has already saved its partners over $250M in fees. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Founder Ilir Sela to learn more about the immense impact Slice has on not only pizzerias but also local economies, the value that selecting the right investors has had on the company’s trajectory, latest round of funding from investors that include Cross Creek, Dick Costolo and Adam Bain of 01 Advisors, GGV Capital, KKR, and Primary Venture Partners.
Americans have an insatiable appetite for snacks and the idleness of the pandemic has only increased our yearning for snacks. There are countless subscription services for snack boxes and many of these companies offer gifting services to expand their market share beyond their primary customers. Recipients of a gift snack box never know what they are going to get until now. SnackMagic is a customizable snack box gifting service that allows the recipient to choose the contents of the box. All the sender needs to know is the amount they’d like to spend and the email address of the receiver. The company emerged out of a pandemic-induced pivot from a corporate lunch delivery service and is on track for a $20M ARR. SnackMagic focuses on edible gifts presently with plans to expand to meal kits, alcoholic beverages, desserts, and swag. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Shaunak Amin to learn more about the company’s pivot, traction, future plans, and recent round of funding led by Craft Ventures.
The benefits of clean eating are plentiful and include improved heart and brain health, weight control, stronger immune system, and increased energy levels just to name a few. But with our busy schedules, it’s often difficult to actually eat clean. This NYC startup makes it easier. Sakara Life provides a plant-based, completely organic nutrition service that’s ready-to-eat. Rather than building a simple meal delivery service, the company takes a holistic approach to nutrition by integrating modern science, ancient healing practices, and natural remedies into its offering, viewing “food as medicine”. Sakara also provides a growing set of functional snacks, supplements, and educational content to support the end-to-end customer journey focused on achieving full nutritional wellness. AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounders and Co-CEOs Danielle DuBoise and Whitney Tingle to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s expanding product offering, building a CPG brand beyond meal kits, the company’s latest funding from investors that include One Better Ventures, Silas Capital, and Annox Capital.
The pandemic has taken an unimaginable toll on the restaurant industry. Over 1000 restaurants have shuttered their doors permanently in NYC. Those in the industry have been forced to adapt and transform to survive. Innovation has come in many forms and virtual restaurants and ghost kitchens have proliferated. Mealco is the platform that allows chefs to quickly launch and manage high-quality virtual restaurants without the upfront costs of operating a physical space. The startup, founded in 2019, operates several kitchens throughout the city and chefs are able to manage delivery-first brands without even stepping foot into a kitchen; everything can be managed via the platform’s backend. Customers are able to order directly from the Mealco consumer platform or on one of their preferred dining apps. AlleyWatch caught up with Founder and CEO Daniel Simon to learn more about how his experience working in restaurants as a student inspired the business, the impact the pandemic has had on the business and industry, the company’s latest round of funding from investors that include Rucker Park Capital, FJLabs, Reshape, 2048.vc, Oceans Ventures, and Jonathan Zabusky.
COVID has made it easier to sit on the couch and order in without any guilt. But sometimes you want an elevated dining experience not found on Seamless or Uber Eats without having to go out to eat. CookUnity, founded in Brooklyn in 2018, brings gourmet meals from top and rising chefs in the culinary world delivered straight to your door. Structured as a weekly subscription service, the company offers over 300 meal options that start at a very reasonable $10.49 per meal. With the restaurant industry severely disrupted with lockdowns and fighting for survival, the service has been able to provide chefs much needed income, expand their followings, and avoid onerous and debilitating fees of the food delivery apps.
AlleyWatch caught up with Founder and CEO Mateo Marietti to learn more about the company’s progress during the pandemic (the company grew 5x YOY), expansion plans outside of its Brooklyn base to serve new markets, his restaurant picks, and the company’s recent funding from investors that include Fuel Venture Capital, IDC Ventures, Gaingels, Marcos Galperin, Martin Varsavsky, and David Kamenetzky.
As a society, spend so much time trying to get in shape and also spend billions on the latest and greatest when it comes to supplements to enhance fitness regimens. Yet most of these supplements are off-the-shelf solutions that do not take into account an individual’s physiology. Gainful, a personalized sports drink and nutrition company, provides tailored supplements, making pro-level sports nutrition accessible. All of the company’s products are made with natural and organic ingredients like pea protein, brown rice protein, oat powder, coconut oil, monk fruit, green tea extract, and micellar casein, a slow-release protein.
AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder and COO Eric Wu to learn more about how his own experience developing supplements led to the formation of Gainful, the experience of fundraising as a first-time founder and recent college graduate, and the company’s Series A funding round from investors that include BrandProject, Courtside VC, AF Ventures, Round13 Capital, Barrel Ventures, and the founder of Polaris Sports.
The restaurant industry has been devastated as a result of the pandemic with closures and layoffs. However, platforms that have emerged during the pandemic like WoodSpoon are giving chefs much-needed income and new forms of distribution while being safe. WoodSpoon is the craft, food marketplace that delivers homemade gourmet food from local home chefs. Chefs on the platform have worked and trained in the kitchens of NYC’s most coveted restaurants that include Cipriani, Jean-Georges’ Nougatine, Nobu, and more. AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder and CEO Merav Kalish Rozengarten to learn more about how the yearning for the taste of home from the founding team sparked the launch of the company, future plans, and recent round of funding from investors that include World Trade Ventures and Silvertech Ventures.