Celebrities are making their presence felt in the vegan foods sector by making considerable investments in noteworthy startups. Stars Natalie Portman and Tom Felton are among the latest to hop onto the bandwagon.
Tom Felton for Jack & Bry
Felton, whose career got a serious boost from playing Draco Malfoy throughout the Harry Potter film franchise and who has also appeared in various superhero shows on television, recently put his money where his mouth was. He participated in the Series A investment round for British food tech company Jack & Bry. The funding round is expected to secure around $8 million in investments by the end of Q1-2022.
When Felton’s participation as both investor and brand ambassador was announced, the actor expressed his enthusiasm for the brand and looked forward to watching the company’s further growth.
Founded in 2019 by Bryony Tinn-Disbury and Jennifer Purdoe, Jack & Bry specializes in gourmet meats formulated from jackfruit fibers. It currently supplies plant-based ingredients for several popular food chains in the United Kingdom, namely Papa John’s, Pizza Express, Prezzo, and Zizzi.
During Jack and Bry’s last funding round in the first quarter of last year, the company received $1.7 million in capital investments from Clive Sharpe, former chairman of vegan brand Quorn; Beyond Impact, and KM Capital. Company executives also announced that they had sold their 45 millionth slice of vegan pizza as of mid-January 2022.
Natalie Portman Adds French Company La Vie to Her Investment Portfolio
On the other hand, Portman is no stranger to investing in vegan startups. The actress, best known for her work in films like Thor and Black Swan, already has a considerable investment portfolio. She was one of the first to invest in the now-global vegan milk brand Oatly and the mushroom leather maker Mycowork.
As of mid-January, Portman has also added the French plant-based meats company La Vie to her growing list of vegan startup investments.
La Vie, formerly known as 77 Foods, recently closed its Series A funding round with a total of $28.3 million in total investments, making it the biggest-earning funding round in France’s alternative proteins industry. Company executives say that the funds earned will go towards production expansion throughout France and the rest of Europe and in the UK as soon as possible.
Best known for creating vegan pork substitutes, La Vie products are compounded from soy, sunflower, oil, and konyakku (conjac) gel yet have the sensory qualities of real pork products. So much, in fact, that those participating in blind taste tests are unable to tell the difference between actual ham and bacon and their vegan counterparts.
Its said to be the largest funding round in the French alternative protein category to date, and a milestone in the country’s plant-based foods industry.