Plant Based Cheese startup Willicroft raises €2m pre seed round led by PINC and Rockstart along side other co-investors

Amsterdam, May 17, 2022: Rockstart, global early stage investor, announces its co-investment in Willicroft, a Rockstart AgriFood portfolio company. The €2m pre seed round was led by PINC, Paulig’s venture arm alongside Rockstart and Döhler and Feast Ventures as co-investors. The Amsterdam based startup will use the funding to fuel its growth into new markets such as the UK, Germany and the Nordics.

Consumers have become increasingly aware of food's environmental footprint but the emissions of cheese are often overlooked. After beef and lamb, cheese is the 3rd largest emitting product. Willicroft, an Amsterdam based alternative cheese startup, is addressing this by producing planet-proof, plant-based alternatives that are just as tasty. Inspired by the founders’ dairy farming roots, Willicroft combines age-old techniques with high quality plant-based in such as bean and pulses, creating alternatives that are as good for consumers as they are for the environment. The plant-based cheese market has globally grown at a CAGR of 12-15% 2015-2020 and is expected to grow at similar paths going forward. 

Our new bean based range produces up to 5 times less CO2 than the dairy alternatives it's replacing. We need holistic solutions to tackle major changes in our food system - having recently secured B Corp status, we believe we’re on track to address these problems at their root cause. With this new raise locked in we'll be bringing our delicious, beautifully branded range of PBC's to 3 new markets: the UK, Germany and the Nordics, bringing in senior hires and continuing on our quest to become the world's first net positive plant-based cheese company. Our new investor group can help open up a number of new markets whilst also fast-tracking our products' continued evolution. Brad Vanstone, Co-Founder and CEO, Willicroft
Willicroft is by far the tastiest plant-based cheese range we have come across. It has a more nutritious and sustainable ingredient list than most alternatives available today and a high-powered team with traction in Europe, so we could not be more excited to support this venture Marika King, Head of PINC, the venture arm of Paulig 
Willicroft is taking plant-based dairy alternatives to the next level. Alongside making delicious products (I’ve tasted several, I recommend them!), they are helping farmers to transition to sustainable production by enabling a local supply chain without the need for monocropping or highly processed ingredients. They have spent the last years understanding their consumers and their footprint, and the next phase will be to put those learnings to scale. Mark Durno, Managing Partner AgriFood, Rockstart 

The AgriFood fund is Rockstart’s first fund launched in 2019 at €22m. Rockstart AgriFood has invested in 34 startups since its launch, making Rockstart one of the most active AgriFood investors in the world. The Rockstart AgriFood portfolio companies have collectively raised more than €25m in total thus far.

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About Willicroft

Willicroft is an Amsterdam based plant-based cheese company. Founded as a dairy farm in the UK in 1957, it was relaunched in its re-imagined form as a plant-based cheese company in Amsterdam in 2018. Willicroft is the first plant-based cheese company to become BCorp in Europe and is focused on making planet-proof cheese plant-based alternatives that are just as tasty as those they're replacing.

 

About PINC

PINC is Paulig’s venture arm for investments in early stage start-ups in and around the future of food. The objective of PINC is to help Paulig renew itself and prosper as well as contribute to a tastier and more sustainable planet.  Paulig is a Finnish food & beverage company with brands like Paulig coffee, Santa Maria, Risenta and PocoLoco.

About Rockstart

Rockstart is an early stage investor that empowers purpose-driven founders across three domains: Energy, AgriFood and Emerging Technologies. Rockstart invests in early-stage startups and provides access to capital, market, and expertise by connecting founders with co-investors, mentors, partners, corporates and the wider Rockstart network.

Rockstart has invested in more than 300 startups and its alumni value to date is more than $1bn. Rockstart is an international team of 45+ professionals dedicated to empowering purpose-driven founders to become scalable and drive positive change on a global scale. Rockstart has notable exits such as Wercker, Bouw7, iClinic, and in 2021, 3D Hubs, Brincr and Dan.com.

The company has offices in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Copenhagen, Denmark and Bogota, Colombia.

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