NEW YORK — Infant nutrition company Helaina raised $20 million in a Series A funding round co-led by Spark Capital and Siam Capital, with participation from Primary Venture Partners, Plum Alley Investments, Tom Williams, Hannah Bronfman, Gabrielle Union, Matt Rutler and Barrel Ventures.
Helaina will use funds from the Series A round to begin its manufacturing and commercialization process and execute its go-to-market strategy. The company, which previously raised $4.6 million in funding, also plans to continue growing its team with new hires.
Founded in 2019 by Laura Katz, Helaina uses precision fermentation to recreate immune-equivalent proteins previously only available in breast milk. The proteins are 99% identical to those found in breast milk and provide antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties that traditional formula lacks, according to the company.
“We've seen a lot of innovation and advancement in the alternative meat and dairy space; however, the infant formula category has been stagnant for decades,” Ms. Katz said. “I'm proud to be part of the team bringing a new solution to parents that empowers and equips them with more choice in their infant's nutrition.”
For its first product, Helaina will utilize its bioactive proteins to deliver what it calls “the first humanized infant formula with immune benefits for newborns.” It plans to expand the use of its proteins in a variety of consumer products in the future.
“We've seen increased market adoption of alternative proteins over the last few years,” said Andrea Turner Moffitt, co-founder and general partner of Plum Alley Investments. “While we are moving away from animal products in other areas of consumption, a move towards human proteins is even more relevant for babies. We are excited to support Helaina's novel precision fermentation approach to offer babies the immune-benefits of human milk proteins.”