Business

Chilean-origin Live Green Co raises $7 million to set up a U.S. headquarters

The food tech startup will also use the new funding to develop strong licensing partnerships with players in the country's food industry

A woman with a t-shirt and several plant-based products at front of her
Co-founder of The Live Green Co (TGLC), a food tech startup, Priyanka Srivinas. Photo: TLGC/Courtesy.

The Live Green Co has closed a $7 million Pre-Series A round to advance its vision of making additive-free, sustainably-produced, healthily-formulated, and clean-label foods easily and widely available. The Chilean-origin food-tech startup will use the new funding to set up a U.S. headquarters, form strong B2B licensing partnerships in the country as well as strengthen the company’s IP protection. 

The investment was led by DRADS Capital, a Boston-based venture fund investing in life sciences, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence (AI) companies. Other investors in the Pre-Series A include seed-round investors Draco Capital, Fondo Alerce Venture Capital from Chile, and NOA Capital from Mexico, as well as new investors Goshen Capital Inc. from Canada, Fen Ventures from Chile, and Flambeau Capital Partners from Argentina. Some select global angel investors also participated in the new round.

Founded in 2018, The Live Green Co has been developing its own AI recommendation engine that uses ancestral data about plants to prescribe 100% natural plant alternatives to the animal, synthetic, and ultra-processed additives in food products. It has already done successful pilots with global food manufacturers like the Mexican multinational Sigma

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How Live Green Co’s software works

Called Charaka, the company’s software uses sources as the existing scientific base that has validated certain plants, plant parts, and compounds (of the more than 500,000 plants and plant parts that exist, it is estimated that only about 2-3% have been explored by modern science) and ancestral wisdom about plants (“Charaka” comes from Charaka Samhita, one of the oldest and the most important ancient authoritative writings on Indian philosophy Ayurveda).

“One great example of Charaka in action can be found in the development of our latest line of 100% plant-based ice cream, which was created using the platform in just 90 days and $15,000,” said the startup‘s co-founder and CEO Priyanka Srivinas in an interview with LABS last year.

With Charaka, every plant and plant part is scientifically validated, and their benefits are quantified using biotech, and machine learning is leveraged to find even more plants and combinations of plants that can make the food system innately healthy and sustainable. The Live Green Co hopes to make the repository a “unique global reference point for the future of food on our planet.” 

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Live Green Co’s next steps

As an early-stage startup, Livre Green Co started off commercializing a few products under its own label in major retailers in Chile (Jumbo, Lider (Walmart), and Tottus), Peru (in the popular supermarket chains Plaza Vea and Vivanda), and in the U.S. via Amazon

The startup’s goal now is to scale through to a collaborative business model, that is, through the franchising/licensing of product formulations developed with Charaka and the sale of the base mixes of these products to retailers and food manufactures. “This will help them respond quickly to the market needs and consumer trends without having to invest in R&D and technology. In a way, it’s like how Coca-Cola sells its syrups to regional distributors,” Srinivas told LABS last year.

Currently, Chile is the pilot market for the startup, and Mexico is its main growth market.

READ ALSO: Brazilian food tech firm Yamo creates yam-based ice cream

Going to the United States makes perfect sense. Many Latin American food-tech startups chose to head to the United States before continuing to expand in the region because the plant-based market there is more mature, ideal for testing products and filing patents.

The startup currently protects its IP via secret trade agreements and selling base mixes. The new funding is also the kickoff for registering patents. The startup is also planning to R&D more formulations using Charaka, including dairy, chicken, snacks, and natural supplements.

“Overall, we have identified over 30 product lines and more than 150 additives that are being consumed the most across the globe, and we are currently focused on creating tastier, healthier, and more sustainable plant-only alternatives for these using Charaka,” said Sasikanth Chemalamudi, co-founder and chief operating officer at The Live Green Co in a press statement.

Revenue-wise, The Live Green Co has grown ten times since its $1.2 million seed round in 2020 after the breakout of the coronavirus pandemic. The startup said it’s on its way to an “exponential Series A round in the next 12 to 15 months.”

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