NEW YORK, NY, Banza, a company known for making delicious and nutritious pasta from chickpeas, announced the close of a $7.5 million Series A investment.
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The round was led by Boston-based Beechwood Capital. Other participants in the round include Strand Equity Partners, a consumer fund with investments that include Bai, PopChips, and VitaCoco, and RSE Ventures, a sports and entertainment fund with a portfolio that includes the International Champions Cup, Momofuku, and Resy.
The financing will allow Banza to increase its production capacity, expedite the creation and development of new products, and support team growth -- all of which will help Banza bring a better pasta to more people.
"The close of this round is an exciting and reflective moment for us," said Brian Rudolph, co-founder and CEO of Banza. "Not too long ago, I was making chickpea pasta for myself, in my kitchen. It's surreal how far we've come since then, but we're truly just getting started. We're excited to be able to tap into Beechwood's resources and expertise in the consumer goods space to bring our brand to the next level, furthering our mission to make nutritious food more accessible."
Banza was founded in 2014 by two brothers, Brian and Scott Rudolph. Seeking a healthier version of his favorite food, Brian started making chickpea pasta by hand in his kitchen. When the kitchen experiments became more than just a hobby, he teamed up with his older brother Scott to bring Banza to life. They were discovered by CNBC's show Restaurant Startup and launched with an early investment from judge/restauranteur Joe Bastianich. Since launching in late 2014, Banza pasta has gained recognition as one of TIME's 25 Best Inventions of 2015, expanded to 5,000 stores nationwide, and become the fastest growing pasta company in the U.S.
Banza offers five shapes of chickpea pasta, along with a line of mac and cheese. Banza's pasta looks, cooks and tastes like traditional pasta, yet has 25g protein and 40% fewer net carbs per serving.
"We're incredibly excited to partner with Banza, a unique, disruptive and high-growth brand that has quickly established itself as a leader in the pasta category," said Larry Kahn, Partner and Managing Director at Beechwood Capital. "The company is in a position to take market share in an often-forgotten territory in the consumer goods space -- the dinner table -- and we see a significant opportunity to help accelerate the brand's growth and development to help bring Banza to more consumers around the country."
Beechwood Capital has significant experience in investing in fast growing consumer brands, including investments in WTRMLN WTR, Foodstirs, Tatcha and Miniluxe amongst others. The founders of Beechwood Capital have deep entrepreneurial experience having previously founded and built The Holmes Group, with brands such as Crock-Pot, Rival and Bionaire, from a start-up to an $800 million branded consumer products leader.
Banza, founded in 2014 by brothers Brian and Scott Rudolph, is on a mission to make nutritious food more accessible. Banza's first product is a pasta made from chickpeas - with double the protein, four times the fiber and 40% fewer net carbs than traditional pasta. Seeking a healthier version of his favorite food, Brian started making chickpea pasta by hand in his kitchen. Since launching in 2014, Banza pasta has gained recognition as one of TIME's 25 Best Inventions of 2015, and expanded to over 5,000 stores nationwide. For more information about Banza, please visit eatbanza.com.
About Beechwood Capital
Beechwood Capital invests in high growth, branded consumer products and specialty retail/restaurant concepts. Founded by former entrepreneurs and experienced operators, Beechwood is ideally positioned to invest in other strong entrepreneurs. Beechwood focuses on investing in disruptive, differentiated businesses that offer unique growth opportunities. For more information, please visit www.beechwoodcap.com.