Renewal2, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based social venture fund, announced earlier this week that it has made an investment in Small Potatoes Urban Delivery (SPUD), described as "North America’s largest internet grocer of organic and natural foods." The amount of the investment was not disclosed. In addition, ss a part of a this round of financing, SPUD has brought on new management including Peter Van Stolk, former CEO and Founder of Jones Soda Company.
Through the SPUD website (US site, Canada site) consumers can order and schedule free home delivery of groceries, including organic and locally-sourced fruits and vegetables. SPUD currently operates in seven markets in the United States and Canada - Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The company was founded by David Van Seters in 1998 and now has approximately 230 staff and 19,000 customers. The following video provides an overview of how SPUD works:
Renewal2, a Vancouver-based social venture capital fund investing in sustainable businesses, recently announced two new investments in the environmental and social change sectors – Blue Horizon, a leading supplier of sustainable seafood products, and Rustic Crust, the largest producer of organic pizza products in the U.S.
"Renewal2's focus is to fund sectors with huge growth potential and fewer sources of capital which are critical to a sustainable economy, such as organic foods and products, green consumer products and green building," said Renewal2 President, Paul Richardson. "96% of all venture capital investments annually are directed to tech, bio tech and clean tech. The organic food and green products sectors enjoy a strong growth profile, but attract few professional investors."
"Blue Horizon and Rustic Crust already have successful track records" added Mr. Richardson. "Blue Horizon’s revenues were up 88% from 2008 and Rustic Crust recently announced that they will be the exclusive licensee for American Flatbread, a well known organic pizza franchise. Organic foods are the largest growing market in the food industry, and these two investments mark our commitment to the expansion of this sector."
Renewal2's portfolio includes investments in Horizon Distributors, Western Canada’s largest natural foods distributor, and Seventh Generation, North America’s leading producer of recycled, non-toxic and eco-friendly household cleaning supplies. "These initial investments are well run, poised for long term growth and will generate tremendous environmental and social returns," said Renewal2 Chairman, Joel Solomon.
The Renewal2 fund currently has more than $20 million committed and over 40 investors from Canada, the U.S. and Europe including six charitable foundations. The final close of the fund will take place on May 31, 2010. "Renewal2 was one of a select group of funds to close rounds of financing in the first half of 2009, a difficult year in the financial markets," said Mr. Richardson. "Our final close will allow us to raise more much needed capital for our sectors and to strengthen our ability to support our portfolio companies and at a value that should be rewarding to Renewal2 investors."