Renewal Mill turns customers into investors with crowdfunding campaign to scale upcycled oat flour

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: Renewal Mill
Photo: Renewal Mill

Related tags Renewal Mill oat flour Investment

Upcycled ingredients startup Renewal Mill has launched a crowdfunding campaign, which will help fund the commercialization of the company’s second ingredient, oat okara, made from oat pulp leftover when oatmilk is made.

Launching today on crowd investment platform Republic​, individuals (any non-accredited private investors) can own a piece of Renewal Mill for as little as $50. Should the company ever sell or file for an IPO, investors would receive a financial return. The crowdfunding campaign round will be open until November 30.

“By crowdfunding, we’re turning our customers into investors, giving them a direct hand in building a more sustainable food future for us all,”​ said Renewal Mill CEO Claire Schlemme.

Since its founding in 2016, Renewal Mill​ has raised more than $1.7m to support its dual mission of fighting food waste and keeping more affordable nutrition in the supply chain.

Last year, the emerging company raised seed funding through HG Ventures​ to scale and commercialize its first ingredient, organic okara flour, a high fiber, high protein, gluten-free flour made from the soybean pulp leftover when soymilk is made.

The sustainable, gluten-free flour can be used as a 1-to-1 replacement for conventional baking flour in a variety of recipes. The company’s flagship product has been used as an ingredient in a number of branded products including Pulp Pantry's line of ‘Pulp Chips’​, Square Baby​, and Tia Lupita Foods’ grain-free cactus tortilla line​.

Up next: Oats

The money raised through Republic will help Renewal Mill accelerate the commercialization of its oat okara flour, which can be used in higher percentages in finished products compared to its soy okara flour, while still maintaining a neutral taste profile, according to Renewal Mill co-founder and chief operating officer, Caroline Cotto.

It's a great time to be working with oat companies, who are increasingly in need of sustainable solutions to offload their oat byproduct, claimed Cotto.

"With the huge rise in popularity of oat-based products, there’s also been a huge rise in the amount of byproduct available,"​ Cotto told FoodNavigator-USA. 

Renewal Mill's co-location model allows the company to partner with more manufacturing facilities producing oat products where it can install its technology to help factories tackle food waste "right from the beginning,"​ said Cotto. 

Renewal Mill oat okara will be available in sample quantities for B2B customers with a retail launch planned for later this year, she added.

The company will also be launching a co-branded cookie product with Imperfect Foods and Fancypants Baking Co. (one of the largest co-packers for Whole Foods and Trader Joe's) later this year, said Cotto.

The startup has also grown its own branded line of products– dark chocolate brownie mix, vegan okara chocolate chip cookies, and gluten-free okara baking flour – currently sold in retailers including Good Eggs, Imperfect Foods, Misfits Market, and Whole Foods.

Its dark chocolate gluten-free brownie mix featuring okara flour has become a best seller for the brand and will be entering national distribution through UNFI later this year. Renewal Mill will be adding two baking mixes to the line -- gluten-free chocolate chip cookie and sugar cookie mixes -- later this year, added Cotto. 

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