Huel Raises $24m in a Celebrity for Plant-Based Shake Startup-Heavy Series B
Investors include actors Sabrina and Idris Elba and TV presenter, Jonathan Ross.
Huel, the meal replacement startup that makes snacks and shakes for people who don’t have time to make a sandwich— is announcing today a new Series B funding round of $24m which values the eight-year-old startup at $560m.
Idris Elba, the actor who’s officially and probably not the next James Bond, and his wife Sabrina invested in the company. The UK comedian and TV presenter Jonathan Ross and activewear brand TALA’s CEO Grace Beverley also invested in the same. Some conventional investors also invested, like growth equity investor Highland Europe, leading Huel’s previous funding of around £20m in 2018.
Julian Hearn, the former founder of marketing company Mash-Up Media, exited in 2011 and founded Huel, a portmanteau of “human fuel.” It was neither the first meal replacement startup as the US’s Soylent got there first nor the last.
Makes way from e-commerce to off the shelf
Nowadays, it is common to see food replacement powder, shakes and bars in workplace kitchens. Based in Munich, and Alven-backed Feed, in Paris, there is also Felix Capital-backed yFood, competing alongside Huel and Soylent.
And whether you are in favor of the trend or not, it is significantly taking off. As per Huel, it’s prevalent among health-conscious millennials who don’t mind consuming meals that can be described as “gritty texture, weaker flavors and fart issues.”
Huel also states that he has seen annual revenue grow 40% this year, reaching $170m. But, of course, the biggest market is still the UK. Still, when the Sifted reporter informs she’s Swedish, James McMaster says that is where Huel has the highest penetration.
Starting as an e-commerce business, Huel sells its product in brick-and-mortar supermarkets. The future plan is to ramp the channel up and develop new products too.
Plant-based, low-carbon drinks, powders and protein bars are all made by Huel. Their branding is explicitly designed to appeal to people aiming to lose weight or beef up their muscles. However, it is also for people who care about tackling climate change and sustainable farming issues.
Now that is where great actors Idris and Sabrina Elba come in. Huel is getting in partnership with the Thespian couple on a climate change initiative that is aligned with a diet limiting global warming to 1.5C.
Idris stated that he had been a Hueligan for several years, starting his journey while preparing for his role in Thor, so coming on board with Huel was an easy decision.
IPO Plans Postponed
According to the FT, last year, Huel asked for advise on the London Stock Exchange’s listing from Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.
But, this year, in 2022, a market crunch happened, which made all the plans for IPOs become more or less history for most startups.
There are zero comments on IPO plans by McMaster currently. However, it still states that it intends to stay private and Huel is happy with its great investors.