Yumi adds $67m to its coffers in a female-led fundraise to drive product development, channel expansion

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Yumi
Source: Yumi

Related tags Yumi Baby food Food for kids fundraise

As a women-founded baby and children’s food company led by a predominately female executive team focused on empowering women and families through its food as pharma approach, Yumi has always prized the presence of women across all segments of its business, but until now its cap table has not reflected this value.

However, with the closing of its $67m series B fundraise, announced today, the company set out to “correct the imbalance”​ in its cap table, which it says “reflected the wide gender disparities in venture capital.”

The fundraise, led by Lydia Jett of SoftBank, Desiree Gruber of Full Picture, and Kelly Coffey of City National Bank, brought 71 female investors or women-led companies to its cap table – shifting the gender balance and creating economic opportunities for women, who Yumi notes historically make only 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

To power the change, Yumi intentionally offered women investors a 20% discount on its convertible note, which the company will use to build on its recent exponential growth including through expansion into brick-and-mortar retail, and new product launches, including its recent move into the multivitamin category with the launch last summer of its Multivitamin Biteamins lines.

Moving into retail

When Yumi launched, it was as a direct-to-consumer ecommerce brand that targeted millennials who are more familiar and comfortable with shopping online, and who wanted to know more about health, wellness and nutrition – information that was easier to provide digitally along-side milestone-appropriate food.

This ecommerce approach has helped Yumi gain “exponential”​ growth in 2019 when it expanded nationally, drive a near 200% increase in 2020 and achieve sales almost double again this year, Yumi’s CFO Sarah-Marie Martin said earlier this week at ICR’s annual summit.

Also contributing to the company’s growth was the diversity of Yumi’s menu and the topical information it provided parents about the role of nutrition in each stage of their children’s development, she said.

But now, she added, the company is ready to fuel its growth further by expanding into brick-and-mortar.

“We know that getting into retail and certain types of retail is a step-function in brand awareness, and even though we’re mighty in terms of our size, with respect to our brand, this will be a very strong year for us in terms of really massive, exponential brand enhancement and growth based upon our omnichannel plans,”​ she said.

“We believe that the future is omni-channel. I think you’ve seen this from many brands. You go where your families or consumers are, and I think this creates really interesting opportunities in serving the needs of families – whether then primarily are discovering products online, like [our] tech-savvy early adopters, or if they still like the discovery experience of brick and mortar. So we’ll be there for that,”​ founder Evelyn Rusli explained at the conference.

Driving household penetration region by region

As Yumi prepares for a retail launch, Martin says the company will continue to its growth strategy of driving household penetration region by region.

“We’ve focused on, over time, deeply integrating ourselves within regions and then growing. So, if we can get to a certain level of market share in any given market”​ then we can drive exponential growth “because a lot of our acquisition is actually organic parents talking to each other and having a great dialogue with their friends to see what they think are the best products to use – such as Yumi,”​ she explained.

New product development

Yumi also will prioritize in the coming years expanding its offerings, beginning with the launch this summer of its Biteamines line, which holds true to the company’s core food philosophy, Rusli said.

“Every ingredient, every nutrient [in Biteamins] comes from nature. So, it’s just vegetables and fruits. So, your vitamin D comes from organic shiitake and maitake mushrooms,”​ she said.

Noting that Yumi is the first DTC kids food company to create a multivitamin gummy line, Rusli also noted that the expansion takes Yumi into a new store set and underscores how Yumi is “more than a product on a shelf, it really is about health and wellness and supporting the families supporting kids.”

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