Back to the Roots®, a California company pioneering the way people reconnect with food, announced that it has completed a strategic seed financing round, totaling $5 million. It will also be leaving the round open for investment for thirty days by accredited investors through a crowdfunding campaign on CircleUp led by Agency of Trillions. Previous investors, Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS, John Foraker, founder of Annie’s, and Nicolas Jammet, co-founder of Sweetgreen, also joining the round.
In a rare mix of private and public equity funding, $3 million of the round is being raised through the San Francisco-based technology company, CircleUp, which has quickly become a leader in the equity-based crowdfunding scene over the past year. "As we looked to raise this seed round, it was clear that we wanted to take a similar approach, and it has been so exciting to be able to bring this opportunity back to our passionate community." said co-founder, Nikhil Arora.
This is the first official round Back to the Roots has raised. It previously raised a $2 million convertible note in June 2015, but prior to that, had bootstrapped the company, using business plan competition prize money, Kickstarter, and bank loans. In fact, its initial funding was just a $5,000 grant, which came from UC Berkeley, the cofounders’ alma mater, over five years ago. With the new funding, Back to the Roots has plans for major growth. 2015 already saw it increase from three to eighteen total products, expand from Ready to Grow to Ready to Eat lines, with its new, award-winning 100% stoneground breakfast cereals and Organic Breakfast Toppers, and sign an exclusive national partnership with Sodexo to launch in K-12 schools.
The funding will be used to accelerate product development (10 new products in the pipeline for 2016), expand distribution into retailers and schools, and build the team at its Oakland headquarters. “We see an exciting opportunity to ‘Undo Food™’, and continue to create a food company for this next generation that goes beyond natural/organic and focuses on radical transparency, sustainability, and great design. We want to bring the same level of trust that families feel when they grow their own food, directly to the grocery aisle and ready to eat food,” said co-founder, Alejandro Velez.