Today 4th & Heart, a producer of grass-fed, spreadable clarified butters, announced the closing of a Series A funding round totaling $1 million. The round was completed through website CircleUp, a crowdfunding platform for consumer brands to raise money from accredited investors.
This is the company’s first official round of fundraising. Previously the brand was bootstrapped with $130,000 from friends and family.
The 2 ½-year-old brand, which was known as Tava Life until March, had four investors in the Series A round. A private investor supplied the bulk of the round, with $800,000; one of CircleUp’s own VC funds added $100,000 and two friends of the brand each contributed $50,000
That private investor remained anonymous, but not silent, providing a statement in a press release that noted “We had our eye on Fourth & Heart since the Expo West 2016 show. We loved the brand they created and we knew their growth was unheard of in the food space.”
4th and Heart has indeed had rapid growth; one year after its launch the brand was already in 3,000 retailers, and by October 2016, the ghee line is expected to be in 3,000 more. Currently, it’s sold in Earth Fare, ThriveMarket.com, HEB, Central Market, Lucky’s, Fresh Thyme, Giant Eagle, and eight regions of Whole Foods Market; its big gain will come from the addition of Kroger.
“Our goal is saturate natural, which we’ve pretty much done, and then traditional grocery,” said Raquel Tavares Gunsagar, the Founder and CEO of 4th & Heart.
The brand sought capital investment to fuel the expansion “When you go into new stores there are always slotting fees and the working capital costs are huge,” Gunsagar told NOSH.
The brand also had an unexpected expense in 2016 when their trademark application for the name “Tava Life” was denied. Gunsagar and co-founder Lilly Wunsch not only had to rename the brand and develop new packaging but also repurchase old product from their distributor, UNFI. However, Gunsagar said, a benefit was that, unlike when they launched, the company had enough funds to be able to hire award winning design agency Moxie Sozo.
4th and heart also plans to devote some of the capital towards marketing, consumer education and researching where their product should be found on shelves (specifically in dairy or with oils).
Gunsagar knows there’s still a long road for the brand, but is excited for what’s to come. “If you want to do something great, don’t look too far ahead,” she told NOSH .“My philosophy is just put one foot in front of the other and go.”