Renewal Mill

Renewal Mill

Early Stage

Upcycled food company that fights climate change & food loss

Upcycled food company that fights climate change & food loss


Raised this Round: Raised: $116,852

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RegCF    Open SEC Filing

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Food, Beverage, & Restaurants

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San Francisco, California

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Renewal Mill, with a $10 million valuation cap, is raising funds on Republic. It is an upcycled food company that utilizes by-products from the food production processes and creates nutritious ingredients and foods. The company provides B2B services, B2B ingredients, and B2C products. Claire Schlemme and Caroline Cotto founded Renewal Mill in June 2016 and have raised over $1.75 million since the 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 expand the product line and continue to reduce food waste and feed people. Renewal Mill is sold in more than 85 stores and has partnered with major brands like Hodo & Amy’s.

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Financials as of: 09/02/2020
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Renewal Mill has been selected as a “Deal to Watch” by KingsCrowd. This distinction is reserved for deals selected into the top 10%-20% of our due diligence funnel. If you have questions regarding our deal diligence and selection methodology, please reach out to

The Renewal Mill founders are part of traditionally underrepresented groups in startup investing.

Analysis written by Olivia Strobl.

Next Section: Problem


The FDA estimates that food waste comprises a whopping 30-to-40% of the total U.S. food supply. “This figure, based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service of 31 percent food loss at the retail and consumer levels, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010.” This can be a tough pill to swallow both logistically and emotionally, and the team at Renewal Mill wants to change that with a line of upcycled food products.

Only recently defined by the Upcycled Food Association, upcycled foods are those that “use ingredients that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption, are procured and produced using verifiable supply chains, and have a positive impact on the environment,” and will likely continue to grow in popularity.   

This is especially important in light of recent events. Wildfires raging across the western United States continually remind us that climate change is a real threat. Additionally, COVID-19 has increased food insecurity in some of the most vulnerable communities across America. And we can all work to combat this by being more sustainable in the kitchen.

Next Section: Solution


Renewal Mill is bridging the gap between food manufacturers that produce byproducts and both food retailers and wholesale customers, using what the team refers to as a “co-location model.” This allows for both B2C and B2B distribution channels — B2B service for producers, B2B wholesale distribution, and a B2C product line.

Renewal Mill produces okara flour from the pulp leftover from soymilk processing and has plans to do the same with oat flour upcycled from the oat milk production process. The CPG product line also includes brownie mix and cookies that are both vegan and gluten-free and serve as great vehicles to introduce curious consumers to upcycled ingredients.

Next Section: Team


CEO and co-founder, Claire Schlemme brings to the table both extensive consulting experience and a degree in Forestry and Environmental Studies from Yale University. She also holds degrees in Biology and Spanish from Wellesley College.

COO and co-founder, Caroline Cotto, serves as Board President of the Upcycled Food Association. She previously worked at both Techstars and HubSpot. In addition, Caroline was a Fulbright Fellow and holds a degree in Human Sciences from Georgetown University.

Next Section: Market


Forbes estimates the upcycled food market to be worth $46.7B in 2019, with a CAGR of 5%. The team at Renewal Mill believes that — similar to the organic food label — upcycled food will soon be a household norm.

Renewal Mill has established relationships with several B2B partners including Barilla, Airbnb, Google, and Humphry Slocombe. B2B2C and B2C sales are distributed through Amazon, Whole Foods, and Billion Vegans, to name a few.

Revenue for the most recent fiscal year stood at $81,152, up 31% from the prior fiscal year. It should be noted, however, that the team is still pre-profit. This is typical for a startup of this stage, but net income in the negatives is definitely something to keep in mind when considering a potential investment. That said, the team is definitely lean, with only $46k in short-term debt and three full-time employees.

Next Section: Why We Like it

Why We Like it

  • A number of sales verticals: The Renewal Mill team has established impressive partnerships for both B2B and B2B2C channels. With these relationships in place, the team is poised for maximum scalability. The colocation model also incentivizes further partnerships with food manufacturers making expanding product lines attractive to potential distributors.
  • An impressive team: Caroline Cotto and Claire Schlemme are major thought leaders in the upcycled food space. With Cotto serving as the Board President of the Upcycled Food Association and Schlemme’s degree in Environmental Management from Yale University, if anyone is going to win out in this space it will be this team thanks to both their experience and connections. Though the team is lean and this is reflected in the ratings (only 3 full-time employees and no prior exits), the women at the helm are knowledgable and connected in the ecosystem within which they operate.
  • Early movers with little established competition: There are very few established competitors in the upcycled food space. Of those that do exist (Regrained, Rise, Planetarians), very few have the number of verticals established by Renewal Mill or the convenient colocation model. Regrained, one of the more prominent competitors, appears to focus more on snack foods, while Planetarians focuses on plant-based meat analogs. In addition to differentiating within CPG lines, Renewal Mill has been granted several awards, including being named a World-Changing Idea by Fast Company and the Expo East Rising Star award.

Next Section: Rating


Renewal Mill has been rated a Deal to Watch. The early performance is particularly impressive, with several B2B and B2B2C partnerships already secured, and more likely on the way. The colocation model and range of CPGs also significantly differentiates the company from the few competitors that do exist. Market size prospects are also quite promising, especially as attention shifts more and more to combating climate change. 

This is not to say that an investment in Renewal Mill is without risk. The defensibility of the products is one concern. However, this is mitigated by the strength of the team, the connections, and established partnerships and sales verticals.

Return on investment could eventually come in the form of an acquisition play. This would likely be by a “larger ingredient house.” With their impressive partnerships and connections in the upcycled food community, this is not a reach by any means and could offer a serious return on investment.

Founder Profile

Renewal Mill Founders on Fighting Food Waste

The FDA estimates that food waste comprises a whopping 30-to-40% of the total U.S. food supply. That amount of waste goes from shocking to tragic when you consider how COVID-19 has increased food insecurity in some of the most vulnerable communities across America. The Upcycled Food Association was recently created to help address this issue by encouraging the creation of food products with otherwise-wasted materials.

And that's exactly what Renewal Mill is setting out to do. This Deal to Watch wants to address food waste and climate change by working with food producers and creating consumer products with food matter the producers don't use. We spoke to founders Claire Schlemme and Caroline Cotto to find out how they met and what their vision for upcycled foods is.

Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Read Founder Interview

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Renewal Mill on Republic
Platform: Republic
Security Type: SAFE
Valuation: $10,000,000

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