AKUA

AKUA

Early Stage

Meat-alt company making plant-based foods from regenerative aquaculture

Meat-alt company making plant-based foods from regenerative aquaculture

Overview

Raised this Round: Raised: $1,070,000

Total Commitments ($USD)

Platform

Republic

Start Date

11/10/2020

Close Date

04/24/2021

Min. Goal
$25,000
Max. Goal
$1,070,000
Min. Investment

$100

Security Type

SAFE

Series

Pre-Seed

SEC Filing Type

RegCF    Open SEC Filing

Valuation Cap

$7,000,000

Discount

20%

Year Founded

2016

Industry

Food, Beverage, & Restaurants

Tech Sector

Non-Tech

Distribution Model

B2B/B2C

Margin

Medium

Capital Intensity

High

Location

Brooklyn, New York

Business Type

Growth

Akua, with a $7 million valuation cap, is raising crowdfunding on Republic. It is a meat-alt company that uses technology to make nutrient-dense, sustainable, and regenerative food. The products of Akua are rich in protein and made from ocean-farmed kelp. Courtney Boyd Myers founded in 2016 and has raised over $750,000 since its inception. The proceeds of the current crowdfunding round, with a minimum raise of $25,000 and a maximum raise of $1,070,000, will be used to create a platform of meat-alternative products, grow its brand, and launch The Kelp Burger. Akua products, including the Kelp Jerky, are already available in over 40 stores across the US.

Summary Profit and Loss Statement

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Revenue

$143,559

$276

COGS

$81,040

$0

Tax

$0

$0

 

 

Net Income

$-210,147

$-131,872

Summary Balance Sheet

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Cash

$98,111

$437,071

Accounts Receivable

$790

$0

Total Assets

$261,531

$500,390

Short-Term Debt

$29,475

$468,553

Long-Term Debt

$555,366

$145,000

Total Liabilities

$584,841

$613,553

Financials as of: 11/10/2020
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Raise History

Offering Name Close Date Platform Valuation/Cap Total Raised Security Type Status Reg Type
AKUA 10/15/2023 Republic $16,000,000 $286,966 SAFE Funded RegCF
AKUA 04/23/2021 Republic $7,000,000 $1,070,000 SAFE Funded RegCF
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Price per Share History

Note: Share prices shown in earlier rounds may not be indicative of any stock splits.

Valuation History

Revenue History

Note: Revenue data points reflect the latest of either the most recent fiscal year's financials, or updated revenues directly from the founder, at each raise's close date.

Employee History

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Synopsis

Almost 10 million people in the United States are vegan. That’s up from just 300,000 in 2004, representing a dramatic increase in interest in entirely plant-based diets. That group is likely included among the 16.5 million Americans who are vegetarian and eat no meat (but do eat milk, eggs, and other animal products). Moreover, over half of Americans are willing to eat more plant-based meat alternatives. 

It’s clear that meat as we know it is declining in popularity, mostly because many experts believe it’s bad for our health and bad for our environment. However, consumers still love burgers and other meals with meat, and many entrepreneurs are doing something about it. Most Americans have heard about the cutting-edge science being conducted in Silicon Valley to end our dependence on animal meat. Companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have achieved unicorn status, with multi-billion dollar valuations.  

However, some critics believe that the scientifically-engineered meat alternatives that are now common at supermarkets and fast-food chains alike are too highly processed. Meat grown in a lab isn’t natural, and natural foods are what the plant-based movement is meant to promote. Enter AKUA, a plant-based meat alternative company using real plants as an alternative to animal products. 

AKUA transforms kelp grown in sustainable ocean farms off the coast of Maine into food products intended to replace meat. The company launched kelp-based jerky in 2019 and is preparing to publicly debut kelp-based burgers that rival scientifically-engineered alternatives. AKUA aims to reduce dependence on animal meat while promoting genuinely sustainable, healthy, natural ingredients. 

AKUA’s current Republic raise has been rated a Deal to Watch by the KingsCrowd investment team.

Next Section: Price

Price

AKUA is raising a Crowd SAFE at a $7 million valuation with 20% discount. This valuation is a bit steep, given that AKUA generated just $143,559 in revenue for 2019 and 2020 figures are not shared. On the other hand, the 20% discount helps investors secure a better price. Therefore, AKUA’s price rating is moderate.

Next Section: Market

Market

The plant-based meat alternatives market is expanding rapidly due to increasing interest in vegetarian, flexitarian (eating less meat), and vegan diets. The market was valued at $4.3 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $8.3 billion by 2025 with a CAGR of 14%. In the long-term future, many believe that animal meat will be all but replaced by plant-based alternatives, which would make plant-based meat a major category in the food market. As an early mover in this market, AKUA has the potential to secure a large base in the overall market. Therefore, AKUA’s market rating is strong. 

Next Section: Team

Team

AKUA was founded by Courtney Boyd Myers, a former journalist, entrepreneur, environmentalist, and minor influencer (over 10,000 followers on Twitter). She started her career working at Forbes and other publications, later transitioning into the startup world as a consultant and advisor to various companies. Boyd Myers became involved with GreenWave — a non-profit promoting restorative ocean farms — in 2016. She describes that her experience at GreenWave inspired her to create a consumer brand that brought the benefits of natural ocean ingredients to the mainstream. Boyd Myers has been recognized as one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business.

AKUA CFO and COO Matt Lebo oversees production, operations, and finance. He has almost 15 years of experience in various finance and consulting roles. Most recently he served as a Senior Consultant at Synpulse Management Consulting. 

AKUA undoubtedly benefits from Boyd Myers’ standing in the entrepreneurship and environmentalism industries. However, the C-suite team does not contribute experience in high-growth startups or the food industry. Therefore, AKUA’s team score is relatively low. 

Next Section: Differentiators

Differentiators

AKUA seems to take a stance that the lab-grown meat offered by Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat is unnatural and less healthy than truly plant-based foods like its own kelp-based jerky and burgers. AKUA’s products are positioned as handcrafted, simple, and natural alternatives to both animal meats and synthetic meats. 

While this all-natural positioning is a differentiator from the most mainstream plant-based meat alternatives in 2020 (Impossible and Beyond), it is not a strong differentiator among the broader space of plant-based burger options. Vegans and vegetarians have been able to find plant-based burgers in some grocery stores for years, products made out of beans, soy, and other natural ingredients. These products aren’t offered by brand-name companies, but they are still prevalent. It’s worth noting that AKUA is not the first company to develop fully plant-based burgers. 

It’s also worth noting that the plant-based meat alternatives market is booming, and thus there is significant competition among brands. Though AKUA tries to position itself as distinct from players like Impossible and Beyond, most consumers will recognize AKUA’s products as similar options to those products. Impossible and Beyond are huge companies at this point, and a host of other Silicon Valley-based companies are following in their footsteps. AKUA may struggle to differentiate itself from this large landscape of competitors. Therefore, AKUA’s differentiation score is middle-of-the-road. 

Next Section: Performance

Performance

Much of AKUA’s most impressive performance statistics can’t be found in financial documents. According to financials, AKUA made just under $145,000 in revenue in 2019 and posted a net loss of $210,000. Those figures aren’t very rosy. 

However, AKUA has made significant progress in 2020 and is well-prepared for a successful consumer launch of its kelp burgers in 2021. Kelp jerky, the company’s first product, is available in 40+ stores nationwide, though about 70% of AKUA’s business currently comes from DTC sales. That channel has posted between 20-110% month-over-month growth in 2020. Looking ahead, AKUA has forged partnerships with Costco, Erewhon, Kroger, and other nationwide retailers to make kelp burgers available in 1,500+ stores nationwide. 

Because AKUA is poised to activate significant retail partnerships in 2021 — building upon strong month-over-month growth this year — AKUA’s performance rating is its highest. 

Next Section: Other

Bearish Outlook

The plant-based meat alternative industry is big and buzzy, but that means massively-funded Silicon Valley startups are leading the charge in redefining consumer sentiment toward meat. AKUA will always be competing against Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, and a wide landscape of other well-funded startups. Most consumers might not recognize or value the difference between AKUA’s more natural products and lab-grown alternatives. 

Succeeding in this highly competitive space will require operational excellence, and AKUA’s team does not have deep experience building major companies. While AKUA reports encouraging financial performance during 2020, prospective investors can’t review full 2020 financials yet. Between all of these risks, investors might struggle to confidently predict that AKUA will develop into a lucrative investment. 

Next Section: Bullish Outlook

Bullish Outlook

AKUA is led by a minor influencer in entrepreneurship and environmentalism, and the company has undoubtedly developed a decently strong consumer brand with nationwide distribution. Sales of kelp jerky have steadily increased throughout 2020. Plus, AKUA kelp jerky won a Best Invention award from TIME and was named a World Changing Idea by Fast Company

In addition, AKUA’s kelp-based burger has been many months in the making with private beta testing, and consumers have given positive feedback so far. The company is poised to make a splash with its burger launch in 2021 and has already secured significant retail partnerships (Costco, Kroger) to distribute this new product.

AKUA’s long-term success will likely depend on the strength of the upcoming burger launch, given that burger replacements compose one of the largest segments of the plant-based meat alternatives market. It’s too soon to say for sure whether AKUA burgers will drive success for the company. However, there are strong signals that AKUA will cement itself as an all-natural meat alternative for conscious consumers. 

Next Section: Executive Summary

Executive Summary

More and more Americans (and people around the world) are realizing that animal meat is unhealthy and harmful to the environment. The number of vegetarians, flexitarians, and vegans is expanding rapidly each year, but those consumers still want to enjoy burgers and other “meat” products. To serve this segment, AKUA offers kelp-based jerky, burgers, and other products crafted to leverage sustainable resources from ocean farms. 

AKUA’s founding team doesn’t have strong consumer startup experience, and the company is still relatively small (less than $200,000 in revenue last year, and numbers for this year aren’t known). However, AKUA is partnered with leading nationwide retailers like Costco and Kroger — these channels are ready to be activated once the company launches its flagship burger product in 2021. This burger launch has the potential to take AKUA to the next level as a real player in plant-based meat alternatives. Therefore, AKUA has been rated a Deal to Watch. 

For questions regarding the KingsCrowd staff pick or ratings for this company, please reach out to support@kingscrowd.com

Analysis written by Katy Dolan. 

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Akua on Republic
Platform: Republic
Security Type: SAFE
Valuation: $7,000,000

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