Redd, the Brunswick-based energy bar company, has raised roughly $2 million in equity capital—approximately $500,000 more than it initially expected to raise.
The investment came from a mix of angel investors and venture capital funds, including two newcomers: Vermont-based FreshTracks Capital and Portland-based CEI Ventures.
I first reported on the company’s financing round back in April when it initially reported to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it had raised $867,861 out of what was supposed to be a $1.5 million offering.
However, CEO Peter Van Alstine told Maine Startups Insider on Tuesday that investor interest was so robust the company ended up increasing the size of its offering. Van Alstine wouldn’t disclose the exact amount the company raised, but said the round “was more than 30% oversubscribed.” Doing the math, a 30% oversubscribed round on a $1.5 million offering would put the total raise at $1.95 million.
Alden Blease founded Redd while he was in college and looking for a healthy energy bar. He couldn’t find one he liked, so he decided to make his own, eventually selling them out of his backpack to fellow students and local health food stores under the brand name Rawgasms. The company was rebranded in 2014 as Redd—which stands for Research Enhanced Design + Development. Van Alstine joined as CEO in 2016.
The company is competing in a market for food bars that’s estimated to generate roughly $6 billion in sales a year, according to Van Alstine. That market consists of everything from Nature’s Valley granola bars to premium protein and meal-replacement bars. While the market for traditional granola bars may be flat, Van Alstine said the “better-for-you segment” is growing 10% on average a year.
“This is a very crowded category we’re in and breaking out of it is not easy,” Van Alstine said. “We’re focused on delivering energizing, clean, and delicious food.”
West Coast Expansion
Van Alstine said Redd is using the new infusion of capital to fuel expansion into the western part of the United States. He said Redd is poised to begin selling its products in 280 Sprouts locations on the West Coast; 30 Gelson’s, a supermarket chain in southern California; 20 New Seasons Markets, a chain with locations in Oregon and Washington; and more than 100 Whole Foods locations on the West Coast. The company currently sells four flavors of bars, but is preparing to launch a fifth, yet-to-be-announced flavor in the fall, Van Alstine said.
The traction the company has gained in such a competitive market is one reason FreshTracks Capital, which usually focuses its investments on Vermont-based companies, invested in the company, according to T.J. Whalen, FreshTracks’ managing director.
“Given Redd’s on-trend product profile, effective formulations, strong brand, and proven team capabilities, I think Redd can be a real player in the rapidly growing $6+ billion food bar category,” Whalen said in a statement.
In addition to FreshTracks and CEI Ventures, several other prominent angel investors with significant experience in developing food brands also joined the round, but Van Alstine said he wasn’t at liberty to name them.
“We’d love to disclose them, but they don’t want to be public,” he said. “These are folks who have led and founded high-growth food and beverage companies and then sold them and are now investing in Redd. They’ve been through the journey. They have the scars to prove it and they can help us make fewer mistakes, be more efficient, and make better decisions.”
A number of significant angel investors who participated in Redd’s first financing round, which closed in 2016, also participated in this round, including Dan Nordstrom, former CEO of Nordstrom.com and Seattle-based Outdoor Research Inc.; Scott Elaine Case, co-founder of VMG Partners and now with the Next World Evergreen Fund; Chris Licata, former CEO of Concord, N.H.-based Blake’s All Natural Foods, which ConAgra acquired in 2015; and Tyler Ricks, who has held executive marketing positions at such food brands as Peet’s Coffee, Bear Naked Inc., and Plum Organic.
As a result of the round, Scott Elaine Case has joined the company’s board of directors. She joins Blease; Van Alstine; Pine State Trading President Keith Canning; and Greg Hanson, founder of Skyline Capital, a venture capital firm in Seattle. Nordstrom previously sat on the board, but has moved to an observer seat, according to Van Alstine.
Whipstitch Capital served as Redd’s financial advisor in the transaction. Whipstitch is based in Burlington, Mass., but co-founder Michael Burgmaier is based in Yarmouth and used to be a principal at CEI Community Ventures in Portland.