A number of industry veterans aside from David Lee also participated, including Joey Zwilliger (allbirds, co-founder) and Dave Gilboa (Warby Parker, co-founder).
"It was really a great validation to see these individuals, who have access to pretty much anything, like the product that much and want to invest in it," Belling told FoodNavigator-USA.
Seth Rodsky, Strand Equity co-founder and managing partner, was Belling's first call when it came to raising capital for the brand. Strand Equity has invested in a number of companies within CPG (Van Leeuwen ice cream, Oatly, Hippeas, and Banza) including Belling's first food brand Popchips.
"Our job is to find either category creators or hidden treasures, and I think this is a combination of both. This was a chance to invest in a category creator," Rodsky told FoodNavigator-USA.
"Like he did with Popchips, Keith has cracked the code between taste and nutrition."
RightRice launch and investment plans
Launched exclusively at Whole Foods nationwide and on Amazon last month, veggie-based RightRice (made up of over 90% vegetables and 10% rice), will be ramping up branding and marketing initiatives at Whole Foods and on Amazon.
"It cooks like rice in about 10 minutes, and the culinary options are endless," the company said.
While it has only been on shelf for less than three weeks, the reception to RightRice has been very positive, according to Belling.
As one of the most consumed foods, rice has fallen out of the American diet somewhat with more consumers attributing the starchy food to weight gain and empty calories.
Belling created RightRice to help consumers "enjoy rice again" by making a lower carb, higher fiber, and higher protein alternative (made from lentils, chickpeas, and green peas) that tastes, looks, and cooks like conventional rice.
"The number of people who feel rice is one of those beloved foods is really high, but I was really surprised by how many people have been eating way less rice," said Belling.
According to Belling, the focus for RightRice in the short term will be on executing its distribution partnerships and velocities with Whole Foods and Amazon.
"We want to lean into launching with Whole Foods and Amazon [before expanding distribution to other retailers]. Our focus today is how do we execute incredibly well with these partners?"