On Tuesday, April 15, moringa-based nutrition bar brand Kuli Kuli launched an online crowdfunding campaign to raise $350,000 in growth capital. The campaign is hosted through AgFunder, a new online crowfunding platform for accredited investors in the food and agriculture sectors.
If the capital raise is successful, it would make Kuli Kuli one of the first startup food brands to be funded entirely by the crowd, said founder Lisa Curtis. Previously, in June 2013, the company raised $53,000 from 800 people through crowdfunding site Indiegogo, making it the second most popular campaign in the site's history.
"I think it's a cool trend that more and more companies are turning to democratized sources of financing," Curtis said.
The trend is bolstered by recent changes to laws on company disclosure of fundraising. With the passage of the JOBS Act, the implementation of a provision on general solicitation now allows companies to announce publicly that they are raising money, which should prove to be a boon for crowdfunding through accredited investors.
Democratized capital fits well into Kuli Kuli's larger mission. The company sources its moringa—a tropical superfood—from women's growing co-ops in West Africa, and aims to help build local economies and communities and to empower women.
The product itself is a date-and-nut-based bar that is fortified with moringa—a powder or dry leaf that is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium. The brand is sold through Whole Foods Market and other independent retailers in 40 stores around the Bay Area, and Kuli Kuli plans to use the crowdfunding capital to expand its footprint throughout California.