LONDON — The Supplant Co. raised nearly $18 million in a round of funding that saw the addition of actress Ayesha Curry, professional basketball player Chris Paul and health advocate Ryan Shadrick Wilson as early-stage investors.
The new investors join Manta Ray, EQT, Khosla, Felicis, Coatue, Y Combinator, Agfunder, Melitas, Mills Fabrica and Sake Bosch in backing The Supplant Co., which aims to “pioneer a new human and planet-friendly food category” by developing sugars from fiber, said founder Tom Simmons.
The London-based company offers a blend of sugars found naturally in plant fiber. The product is made by upcycling parts of plants that would otherwise be underutilized by the current food system, such as wheat straw, oat husks, corn cobs and rice straw.
The sugar blend bakes like cane sugar but has less than half the calories, enabling baked foods and other treats to maintain their original texture and taste. It has a lower glycemic response and is prebiotic, meaning it feeds on the gut’s good bacteria, Mr. Simmons said.
The company launched in the United States in June, debuting its sugar blend in dessert items developed by seven Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller at bakeries in California and New York City. It plans to market the product beyond chefs looking to serve better-for-you ingredients and supply the blend to packaged food manufacturers.
“Supplant is bringing us the solution we so desperately need,” said Ms. Wilson, who previously was chief strategy officer and general counsel at Partnership for a Healthier America, a nonprofit organization created in conjunction with former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative. “Today, diet-related chronic diseases are a leading cause of death, and our food system is one of the biggest contributors to environmental damage. Supplant is addressing both the health of people and the planet with this incredible sugar alternative that doesn't require us to sacrifice taste.”
The new funding round brings The Supplant Co.’s total funding to more than $27 million. In addition to raising awareness and sparking discussion about the underlying issues driving the company’s mission, The Supplant Co. will work with investors, including Ms. Curry and Mr. Paul, to expand access to more nutritious food options.
Ms. Curry in 2019 founded Eat.Learn.Play, a nonprofit focused on fighting childhood hunger. Mr. Paul has focused on tackling health issues in underserved communities.
“Sugar is in almost everything we eat,” Mr. Paul said. “If we are going to transition to healthier food options for all — especially for people that experience high rates of diabetes and obesity like we do in Black and Brown communities — we’re going to need to change how things are made. It’s not going to happen by people magically waking up and not liking the things they like. I look forward to working with The Supplant Co. to move the food system in a better, more sustainable direction.”