Food & Bev

DTC smoothie startup Kencko lands $10 million in funding, expands into a new category

The B Corp is moving into freeze-dried meals and mulling a brick-and-mortar debut.
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Kencko

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DTC smoothie-mix maker Kencko has found itself at a “tipping point,” according to CFO Mike Erickson, and with $10 million in new funding, it’s ready to spill over into a new food category.

  • Existing investor Siddhi Capital led the Series A round, with other participants including Next View Ventures and Riverside Ventures.

Erickson told Retail Brew the subscription-based startup will use the $$ to optimize supply chain, manufacturing, and scale up its ~100 person team by 50% across tech, nutrition, marketing, and customer experience.

  • Kencko said it currently has 360,000 subs, up 173% from 2020, and shipped 10+ million smoothies in 2021.

Out to lunch: It’s also expanding into a new category: freeze-dried lunches that require hot water to prep.

  • The line, called Kencko Bowls, will debut in mid-February with six flavors, starting at $4.90 per bowl for subscribers.

It’s part of the brand’s goal to extend into different dayparts: Its smoothies target breakfast, while gumdrops (introduced last spring) fill that daily “gap” when consumers crave a sweet treat, VP of brand Lucy Greeves told us.

“It’s just the natural evolution of growing a brand that is focused on customer needs and really focused on positioning itself in the best place to meet those needs in a creative and enjoyable way for the customer,” Erickson added.

Waste away: The freeze-dried ingredients used across its product lines prevent food waste by limiting any potential spoilage—part of the B Corp’s sustainability ethos (plus, they make it easier to ship DTC since the products are shelf-stable).

  • Kencko said it diverted 663 tons of produce from the waste stream last year.
  • It also uses compostable packaging and is on track to be carbon-neutral this year, Greeves said.

+1: Kencko is all about DTC now, but it’ll be “dipping its toes” into brick-and-mortar within the next year, Greeves said.—EC

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