NEW YORK, Aug. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- S CAP announced this week that it is funding Wild Friends Foods, a natural nut and seed butter company, and Cusa Tea, a premium instant tea company. Both represent a continued mission of investing and partnering with disruptive F&B companies, following on the heels of investments in Bright Greens and Libre Naturals earlier this spring.
S CAP Managing Partner Kunal Sethi says the company is continuing active fundraising this summer while also deploying new investments. "We see a positive response from investors who share our commitment in making a positive impact on society through better nutrition, investing in brands with a low environmental impact and good governance," he says. "We see this as accelerating growth and earning premiums in the market - as do our investors. These latest investments illustrate our approach."
Wild Friends Foods, based in Portland, OR, is the brainchild of college friends Keeley Tillotson and Erika Welsh, student athletes who created their first product - peanut butter - in their University of Oregon apartment. With a commitment to creating products with a short list of clean ingredients, the company began in 2011 and has launched dozens of new flavors of nut and seed butters sold in thousands of stores across the country.
"One thing hasn't changed," says co-founder Keeley Tillotson, "and that's our passion for delicious products made with the healthiest wholesome ingredients. Ours is the only brand that is palm oil free, uses only U.S.-grown nuts and seeds, and incorporates our unique 'double grind' process for superior taste and consistency."
Wild Friends Foods offers a range of innovative products including nut butters with superfoods like chia, collagen, and flax. It recently launched "Nut Butter and Oats" oatmeal cups with a packet of nut butter to drizzle on top.
"The natural nut and seed market is part of the $4B nut butter category, growing more than 20% per year as consumers seek out higher quality and more natural products than the traditional alternatives," says S CAP General Partner Andrew Towle. "Wild Friends is one of the most visionary brands in natural butters and has an extremely loyal consumer following!"
Wild Friends Foods is both woman-owned and a Certified B-Corp. Through its pioneering giveback program, Fuel Her Future, the company donates 1% of sales to programs that help ensure women and girls have the environment and empowerment to make their dreams a reality.
Available today in Sprouts Farmers Market and other natural food stores nationwide, Wild Friends Foods plans expanding distribution across multiple retail channels over the next few months. Learn more by visiting www.wildfriendsfoods.com.
S CAP's second investment also illustrates its focus on impact investing with an organic tea that offers no sweeteners or artificial ingredients with zero calories, representing a healthy alternative to soft drinks, ready-to-drink teas, and other sweetened mixes.
Cusa Tea, based in Boulder, CO, was founded by Jim Lamancusa, who discovered his passion for tea while exploring the traditional tea shops of Hong Kong as a study-abroad student. Over the next two-and-a-half years, Lamancusa received a complete education in the craft and culture of tea, visiting tea plantations and shops throughout China and India simply because he loved the experience of a premium cup of tea.
After working with two startup companies, Lamancusa was inspired to start his own company after he experienced a "lightbulb" moment on a backpacking trip. While his friends enjoyed handy instant coffee sticks, he was using tea bags that got soggy after use and required packing out. "Why hasn't anyone invented an instant tea that actually tastes good?" he remembers thinking.
After nine months of trial-and-error experiments and twenty-two patents, Lamancusa discovered a completely new brewing and dehydration process that delivers a perfect cup of premium organic tea in seconds. This proprietary evaporative vacuum dehydration process ("Cold Steep Technology") creates the perfect cup of tea in any temperature of water, retaining all the taste and character of the original tea.
S CAP General Partner Jim Cali calls Cusa Tea a "breakthrough in the tea category, offering the potential for disruption across the broader functional and healthy beverage market. We're excited about the versatility of the platform, which can also be used as a water modifier and functional beverage. S CAP is thrilled to be part of the Cusa Tea team."
Lamancusa says recent investments will help the company aggressively expand its distribution, sales and marketing efforts, as well as broaden and accelerate product development. The company has commitments from over 3,000 new retailers to launch in Q3 and Q4 2019.
"Cusa Tea is innovating in a huge, but stagnant, category," said Lamancusa. "Retailers love the fact that we're bringing something new to the tea aisle, using only organic tea and real fruit and spices."
Cusa Tea has won four medals at the Global Tea Championship against the best loose leaf and bag competitors in the world. It is available in an increasing number of retailers in the US. Learn more at www.CusaTea.com
About S CAP
S CAP is a NY-based impact investor focused on investing in Food & Beverage and Clean Tech companies at the late Seed and Series A stages. We work with a diverse set of value-added investors including strategics, high net-worth individuals, family offices, corporates, and institutional limited partners located worldwide. We enable our investors to invest in the fund and/or co-invest with our fund all the way to exit. This provides our investors with access to select strategic investment opportunities and continued financial support for our portfolio companies.
We are committed to accelerating companies that are positively impacting our world with healthier, all-natural, environment friendly, and high-integrity products. Our goal is to achieve sustainability for entrepreneurs while accomplishing maximum ROI for our investors. Visit S CAP at www.scap.nyc.
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