USA– Nuggs, plant-based meat alternative company has raised US$4.1 million and gotten itself a new name, “Simulate” and a new CTO as it looks to move beyond chicken nuggets.
As a result of the rebrand, Simulate will now act as the parent company of the Nuggs brand.
Nuggs was launched in 2019, releasing a line of plant-based alternatives to chicken nuggets. Existing investors in Nuggs include McCain Foods, Rainfall Ventures, Maven Ventures and NOMO Ventures.
This latest financing includes investments from AgFunder, Lerer Hippeau (via BN), Alexis Ohanian (co-founder of Reddit), Walter Robb (former CEO of Whole Foods), and Jasmine Tookes (Victoria’s Secret model).
Former senior director of research & innovation at Danone, Thierry Saint-Denis, has also been appointed as the company’s chief technology officer. In this role, Saint-Denis will be responsible for leading the development of new products and nutrition technologies.
In a statement, Simulate stated that it aims to release a new range of Spicy Nuggs and a plant-based hot dog alternative later this year.
Ben Pasternak, founder and CEO, of Nuggs and Simulate said, “We’re pumped to launch new nutrition technologies over the next few months under our new parent company, Simulate. Nuggs is just a taste of what the future holds, with new products around the corner.
“I’m beyond thrilled to join the Simulate team. The food system is in need of a complete reinvention and we think the best way to change it is to recreate the products we like, using and advancing what nature gave us with better technology.”
Since Pasternak first began pitching his direct to consumer chicken nugget replacements a bit over a year ago, the company has sold 1 million pounds of nuggets. Over the next week, Simulate’s frozen nuggets will make their debut in around 30 Gelson’s supermarkets in California.
The company has plans to release its chicken patty within the next few months and a hot dog replacement, DOGGS, in the fourth quarter. Pasternak began to rebrand earlier this summer when his company launched the second iteration of its nuggets in June.
As a business, Nuggs seemed to be more of a marketing play backed by a savvy founder and a frozen food giant that wanted to make a play for the burgeoning market for meat substitutes and replacements.
Now, with Saint-Denis, the company brings on a developer of food products that have reached nearly US$1 billion in sales who holds more than 14 patents related to functional ingredients, probiotics and enzymes.
With the new executive in place, new and previous investors like McCain Foods, Rainfall Ventures, Maven Ventures, NOMO Ventures, MTV founder Bob Pittman and Casper founder Neil Parikh are now backing a company with a bit more technical heft behind it.
That software-driven approach may also yield other sales options, like a subscription service, Pasternak said. “We have seen this core community of people obsessively purchasing the new versions. We are looking at launching some kind of beta testing subscription thing shortly.”
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