- After chickpea-based snack brand Hippeas raised $50 million in an investment round, it named industry veteran Greg Buscher its global CFO, replacing Steven Sacchinelli.
- Hippeas, which has been on the market since 2016, said it would use the money to increase innovation, expand production and grow distribution.
- The company also added César Melo to its board of directors. Melo, an investor and advisor to early-stage companies in the areas of better-food, better-planet, and better-technology, was previously an executive at companies including Mondelez International and PepsiCo.
Buscher brings 25 years of finance leadership experience, with a background in operations, manufacturing and distribution within the food space. Over the past decade, he has served as CFO of Skinny Dipped Almonds, Essentia Water and beverage company Neurobrands, LLC, all of which he defined as "hyper-growth companies" on his LinkedIn page.
Buscher joins Hippeas at a time of rapid growth; according to Crunchbase, the five-year-old brand has received a total of $22 million in funding prior to this most recent investment.
Even though Hippeas has been rumored as an acquisition target, it has yet to be purchased despite claiming shelf space in 50,000 stores and attracting the interest of celebrity investors.
Last year, founder Livio Bisterzo told Food Dive the company is “potentially” working toward an acquisition by a bigger company in the future. For now, he noted there is plenty of growth for the company thanks to the rise of plant-based snacking.
Several companies in the food space have been actively growing their better-for-you portfolios in recent years, including Hershey, Mondelez and PepsiCo, making them logical buyers for a company like Hippeas.
The plant-based snack shared hopes of becoming a $100 million brand; Bisterzo said it wants to evolve into a snacking platform with a presence across multiple snacking categories.
In a statement, Bisterzo said the organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan brand “has been fortunate to have seen strong growth" during the pandemic.
In addition to catering to consumer demand for better-for-you snacks, Hippeas also strives to sell sustainable products, which consumers and some of its investors also prioritize.
The Craftory, the San Francisco-based investor behind its latest round, also is a certified B-Corp. For Hippeas, its product offerings and sustainability pledge should help the company in the near term.
However, with robust competition in the snacks space, the cash infusion, the business expertise of its new CFO and its new board member's time at Mondelez and PepsiCo, should go a long way toward helping it stand out in the market place.
Representatives for Hippeas and for Buscher did not immediately respond to requests for comment.