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​Austin healthy foods company catches the eyes of celebrity investors

From top left to bottom right, Venus Williams, Jason Karp, Scarlett Johansson, Andy Roddick, Brooklyn Decker, and Cindy Crawford are all investors in HumanCo. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

With a goal of making healthy goodies available to the masses, HumanCo LLC has caught the attention of famous Austinites.

The Austin-based investment firm and holding company that incubates, acquires and scales consumer packaged health foods just closed a $35 million bridge funding round that included some well-known backers from the capital city and beyond according to co-founder and CEO Jason Karp.

Even since the beginning of its launch in May 2020, HumanCo had gained a new board of advisers member and an undisclosed investment from professional tennis superstar Venus Williams.

This most recent round welcomed a vetted round of investors who share a love of healthy food: co-founder of Austin-based private equity firm Vista Equity Partners Brian Sheth, Austin-based venture capital firm 8VC general partner Joe Lonsdale, actress Scarlett Johansson, Whole Foods Market Inc. co-CEO Walter Robb, model Cindy Crawford, Thrive Market co-founder and CEO Nick Green, San Francisco venture capital firm Jazz Venture Partners, former PepsiCo CEO and chairwoman Indra Nooyi, U.S. Open winner and former Austinite Andy Roddick, model and actress Brooklyn Decker, and Vital Proteins founder and CEO Kurt Seidensticker.

Founded in 2019, the company secured a $15 million Series A funding round in January 2020. Come late 2022, the company is planning "a much bigger" round of funding. According to HumanCo officials, targeting well-known influencers and celebrities was a deliberate choice—they have the influence money can't buy.

Some of the brands under the company's umbrella include organic, grain-free and gluten-free Snow Days Pizza bites, which feature Johansson as the creative director; wholesale gluten-free baked goods manufacturer Against the Grain Gourmet Foods and organic and plant-based ice cream brand Coconut Bliss.

The company employs 22 people, nine of which work in Austin at 98 San Jacinto Center. The rest of the employees are spread across at least four cities, including Chicago and Los Angeles, for the time being.

HumanCo plans to hire around 10 more in the next year, according to Karp, and go public in "a few years." The company currently has two jobs open in Austin.


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