Plant-based pudding startup Noops has announced a fresh $2 million round headed by Lerer Hippeau, just two months after obtaining $2 million in pre-seed funding. Gregory Harry Struck, the co-founder of Hungryroot, started the Long Island-based startup in 2019 after adopting a plant-based diet while battling cancer. Struck told TechCrunch, “It was created out of a necessity when a lot of things were gone for me.” “I was thinking about consumerism and how it affects our well-being and health system during this era of transition.”
Struck recalls a time when she was in the grocery store looking for yogurt and saw pudding and wondered why it had never been redesigned in terms of nutrition. He returned home, converted his home into a commercial kitchen, and began experimenting with recipes, sometimes with the help of his three young children. When Struck discovered a recipe that worked, he began giving the pudding away to friends and family, eventually launching Noops. The company’s first product is an oat milk-based line that is organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, prebiotic-rich, high in plant protein and fiber, and has no added sugar.
Chocolate, caramel, mocha, and vanilla are among the usual tastes available. Siddhi Capital, Idea Farm Ventures, Simple Food Ventures, Animal Capital, and American Pie executive Alan Mitzner join Lerer Hippeau in the venture. According to Struck, the latest round brings the company’s total funding to $5 million.
“Having a partner like Lerer Hippeau believe in us that we can be the next-generation is extremely important to us,” he continued. “As for us, we know exactly where we’re going and can see and participate in the future.”
Larry Appel, former CEO of The Fresh Market, and Benjamin McKean, CEO of Hungryroot, will join the company’s advisory board as part of the investment.
Andrea Hippeau, a partner at Lerer Hippeau, concurred, adding that it was Struck’s expertise and ability to make an effect on the plant-based food market that led to the firm’s view that he could develop a significant company. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, the market for plant-based meals was worth $29.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $74 billion by 2027.
Hippeau said the firm sees this category as “the next generation of consumables that will be touching every category” as an investment in space. And, while the food type has expanded into sectors such as meat and seafood, there isn’t much in the way of pudding, and incumbents haven’t come out with better-for-you alternatives, according to Hippeau.
In fact, Struck estimates that $50 billion of the $348 billion in yearly sales generated by the top 25 foods and beverage incumbents in the United States can be attributed to snack brands like Jell-O, which include animal byproducts and have been unchanged since their introduction in 1897.