Nutrition Capital Network (NCN), an organization that connects growth companies with investors, saw evidence of the blurring between food and pharma at its recent Investor Meeting on May 22-23 in Washington D.C. Five ingredient development and biotech companies with a focus on food rather than pharmaceutical pathways to market were among the 18 professionally screened companies seeking investment.
“This reflects market conditions,” observed NCN principal and cofounder Grant Ferrier. “The healthy food market has continued to grow faster than the general food market through the recession years of 2009 and 2010. Moreover, growth rates for dietary supplements have exceeded pharmaceutical sales growth for the last five years. In addition, taking the food or nutrition route to market can mean faster commercialization for science-based companies.”
The NCN Spring investor Meeting also introduced several larger, consumer-branded companies to investors prior to a potential sell-off, including a $25 million natural snack food company. Three other sizable consumer-branded companies with proven market success sought growth capital, including two natural frozen entree and appetizer brands and a healthy beverage in the probiotic drinks category.
In addition to facilitating the financing process for entrepreneurs and growth companies, NCN Investor Meetings are becoming a venue where companies positioning for an exit within one to two years can present themselves publicly to a range of qualified investors, according to Ferrier. At previous NCN meetings, Annie’s and Food Should Taste Good (FSTG) similarly elevated their visibility to investors and both sold at impressive valuations in early 2012.
Other presenting companies generating strong interest among investors included web-based platforms for health and nutrition management; a novel aerosol delivery platform; an organic, water-soluble plant food for home-gardeners; and a kids’ 100 percent juice slush product going retail from a strong distribution in K-12 schools.
“NCN Investor Meetings present a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and growth companies to access 60-70 investor groups representing $30 billion of capital in a single day, in a relaxed and collegial atmosphere,” said Ferrier.
Since the organization’s inception in 2007, 252 growth businesses from pre-revenues to $100 million in sales have presented at 13 NCN investor meetings, 41 percent of which have found financing or completed a transaction. Investor meetings are typically held three times yearly. This was the first NCN Investor Meeting to take place in Washington D.C., cohosted by NCN Law Firm Sponsor, Venable LLP.