Unilever’s venture unit backs meal kit company Sun Basket

Unilever’s venture unit backs meal kit company Sun Basket

The private equity arm of global CPG giant Unilever, called Unilever Ventures, led the $9.2m Series C-2 funding of organic meal kit company Sun Basket.

This boosts Sun Basket’s Series C investment to $24.2m, having raised $15m in February. This added capital coincides with the launch of a new Midwest facility, giving the San Francisco-based company access to nearly 98% of the US, “reaching more zip codes than any grocery store and creating the largest distribution footprint of any direct-to-consumer organic food distributor in the US,” the company said in a release.

To date, Sun Basket's sales grew by 1,300% in 2016 and it added $124m in new annual revenue run rate since September 2016. Sun Basket differentiates itself in the burgeoning meal kit delivery category by offering organic and non-GMO ingredients priced at $11.49 a meal.

"Having reviewed a large number of meal kit players in the United States, we have been really impressed by Sun Basket's extremely fast growth and category leading customer retention rates," said Olivier Garel, head of Unilever Ventures.

"Over a relatively short period of time, Sun Basket has built a clear leadership position as the best healthy, organic meals service platform, addressing consumers' growing demand for healthy, tasty, diet-specific but convenient solutions,” he added. “That, coupled with Sun Basket's values and commitment to sustainability made it a natural fit into the Unilever Ventures family."

Backing from global firm sign that it’s on the ‘right track’

Adam Zbar, CEO and co-founder of Sun Basket, said that the investment “further validates that we're on the right track.”

"Being backed by a global venture firm, like Unilever Ventures, will help accelerate our product and user acquisition roadmap by leveraging their unrivaled expertise in CPG marketing, distribution, and logistics,” he added. “We're excited to partner with Unilever Ventures to realize our mission to fundamentally improve people's health by providing an easier and more delicious way to cook."

In total, Sun Basket has raised $52m. The Sun Basket C-1 and C-2 investors and growth partners include: Unilever Ventures, Baseline Ventures, PivotNorth Capital, Accolade Partners, Founders Circle Capital, Sapphire Ventures, Shea Ventures, Relevance Capital, Vulcan Capital, Filter 14, and Silicon Valley Bank.

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