New Barn, Inc., maker of a line of almond milks and almond-based ice cream alternatives, has raised $3.75 million in a Series A round led by New Food SPV, an investment company created to serve as a funding arm for the company.
Until now, New Barn has been funded entirely through friends, family, and angel investors. The new fund, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) created by New Barn CEO and chairman Ted Robb, has allowed Robb to take control of the company’s board of directors. Funds for the round were raised from family and several small groups, as well as personal investment from Robb, and placed in New Food SPV.
According to Robb, New Food SPV gives the company increased control over funding and cash flow while maintaining its existing corporate structure.
“I felt like we had to make it so this financing not only gave the company the capital it needed, but positioned it for future financings in a way that would allow us to accomplish the vision that we have as a group,” Robb told BevNET.
New Barn was founded in 2014 by Robb and former KeVita marketing VP Billie Thein, who currently serves as the company’s chief commercial officer.
According to Robb, the Series A funding will help facilitate growth as the company grows its product portfolio and seeks to expand its business. Earlier this year, the company hired a VP of operations and a national sales director.
The company unveiled new innovations earlier this month at Natural Products Expo West 2018, including chocolate and cold brew coffee almond milk flavors. It has also reformulated its AlmondCrème line of non-dairy ice cream to remove egg, making it a vegan-friendly product that fits the company’s mission to create wholly plant-based foods and beverages. The funding round will also go toward building out New Barn’s multi-channel strategy,” Robb said, noting there is a large innovation pipeline in the works.
“We feel that we’re focused very clearly on our customer,” Robb said. “We think that we have a strong sense of what they want, and one of things that they’re telling us clearly is that the channels are changing. They obviously like our almond milk, we have to find more ways to get it to them and ecommerce is a big area we’re going to work on this year, but we also know there’s other products they have a desire for that share some of the similar traits; organic, clean label, simple ingredients, plant-based.”
Robb added that the funding will go towards optimizing the company’s supply chain in preparation for future innovations.
New Barn is also seeking to expand its Barista Blend line, which Robb said has become its second best-selling product after its unsweetened almond milk.
Facing increased competition in a growing dairy alternative category, Robb said he believes that New Barn has the advantage of being early to market and certified organic across all SKUs. The brand is currently available in 4,000 stores nationwide, including Whole Foods, and is currently seeking regional distributors to grow its presence in on premise accounts.
“We’re feeling excited about the crossover into the mainstream, he said. “But we’re also being careful we don’t go too fast and fall in front of our skis.”