Cereal maker Magic Spoon scoops up $85M as it lands spot on Target shelves

Magic Spoon, the maker of better-for-you cereals, secured $85 million in Series B funding as three of its brands make the jump from direct-to-consumer-only offerings to Target store shelves for the first time.

HighPost Capital led the new round, which brings Magic Spoon’s total funding to date to $100 million. HighPost is joined by Siddhi Capital, Coefficient Capital, Constellation Capital, Carter Comstock and a bevy of celebrity investors, including Shakira, Russell Westbrook, Halsey, The Chainsmokers, Amy Schumer, Odell Beckham Jr. and Nas.

Co-founders Gabi Lewis and Greg Sewitz started New York-based Magic Spoon in 2019, creating cereal flavors like Fruity, Cocoa and Peanut Butter, but with better ingredients, zero added sugar, high protein and low carbs, as well as gluten free and keto-friendly.

Those three flavors are the first among Magic Spoon’s eight flavors to go into 1,300 Target locations beginning Monday.

The pair declined to share hard numbers to support the company’s growth, but did say that Magic Spoon’s products have reached more than 1 million customers in the past three years.

And, while it has mostly been a direct-to-consumer brand, Lewis says adding retail was part of the plan all along.

“The plan was to grow the business as fast as we can and layer in new things over time,” Lewis told TechCrunch. “We wanted to do one thing at a time, do it well and then move on to the next one. We started with our website, then Amazon, with the goal of layering on additional channels to grow in new and different ways. Now we are ready to lean into retail and go onto shelves.”

In fact, Lewis and Sewitz have always planned to launch products away from the cereal box. Sewitz said he couldn’t go into more detail at this time as to what other products are in the pipeline, but Magic Spoon has a line of limited-edition cereal bars, which will become permanent members of the product line this month.

Gabi Lewis Greg Sewitz Magic Spoon

Magic Spoon co-founders Gabi Lewis and Greg Sewitz. Image Credits: Magic Spoon

Magic Spoon is not alone in tackling a healthier version of breakfast. They are among companies like OffLimits and Crispy Fantasy in cereal and Kreatures of Habit and Yishi in the oatmeal space. Some have also gobbled up venture capital dollars as they grab a piece of a breakfast cereals market poised to be valued at $51 billion by 2028.

When asked who they think their competitors are, Lewis and Sewitz say they don’t technically think of themselves as competing against just cereal brands, but with breakfast and snack brands, as a whole, for the right to be at the kitchen table.

The new capital injection positions Magic Spoon as “very well capitalized with its retail launch,” Sewitz said. He noted that investments will be made in growth and adding talent to scale up around logistics, customer service and growth marketing as the company balances both DTC and retail.

The company currently has 41 employees, up from 20 a year ago, and has about a dozen open jobs on its website. With the expansion of its sales channels, it made the move to bring in Rachelle Lynch as head of sales in March to lead that department and work alongside the digital team to build that business, Lewis said. Lynch previously held sales roles at Mason Dixie Foods, Hu Products and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, according to her LinkedIn profile.

David Moross, co-founder, chairman and CEO of HighPost Capital, said in a statement that, “In a short period of time, Gabi and Greg have built a tremendous brand with a fiercely loyal and engaged consumer base through their unwavering commitment to innovation and creativity. We look forward to leveraging HighPost’s deep consumer sector expertise to support Magic Spoon’s continued growth.”

Mid-Day Squares adds some sweet capital to its ‘chocolate gone crazy’ empire

Mid-Day Squares has had an interesting journey to where it is today, including an idea founded in a kitchen, a declined acquisition from a chocolate giant and a music video rebuttal.

The Canada-based company was founded by Nick Saltarelli, his wife, Lezlie Karls and her brother, Jake Karls in 2018 after coming from different careers in areas like product development and marketing.

The startup was born out of Lezlie Karls’ initial desire to get into plant-based foods when she whipped up the idea for Mid-Day Squares’ first product, Fudge Yah, in her kitchen. It is a double layer of chocolate, chunky on top and soft on the bottom, that includes fiber, protein and Omega-3 to help satisfy the hunger cravings you get after lunch — hence the mid-day part.

“When walking the grocery aisle, we saw that people were looking for more protein and less sugar,” CEO Lezlie Karls told TechCrunch. “We saw a white space for functional chocolate. There are a lot of chocolate bars, but no one is making chocolate that gives benefits like fiber and fills you up.”

Nearly four years later, one flavor is now three, with Almond Crunch and Peanut Butta joining the lineup.

Mid-Day Squares Nick Saltarelli, Lezlie Karls, Jake Karls

Mid-Day Squares co-founders, from left, Jake Karls, Lezlie Karls and Nick Saltarelli. Image Credits: Mid-Day Squares

Lezlie Karls and Saltarelli describe themselves as introverted, and wanted to bring in someone who could help create a community. That’s where Jake Karls comes in. At the time, he was running a clothing business on college campuses, hosting parties with hundreds of people and working the social media channels.

One thing that swayed him to join his sister and brother-in-law was that he realized the food and beverage space was operating from an older playbook and not making much noise. That was the opposite of what they saw for Mid-Day Squares.

“I asked them, ‘what if we are the different ones, the ones that tell the story that emotionally connects?’” Jake Karls said. “I showed them a slide of a rock band and told them this was the strategy: We are going to become a rock band, but will sell chocolate, showing the good, bad and ugly of the business using social media. Then people will feel like they are buying from a friend because they know us.”

The method was tested when, in 2021, Hershey’s wanted to purchase the company. After deciding the deal wasn’t for them, the company received a cease-and-desist letter from Hershey’s about using the color orange for its packaging, something that had not been a problem. They responded with a music video entitled, “Chocolate Gone Crazy.”

Today, the company has a mix of 65% in-store retail and 35% online. The bars can be purchased in more than 2,400 stores, including Whole Foods and Sprouts nationwide. It also locked in a partnership with Target that will put Mid-Day Squares within a six-mile radius of most Americans.

Mid-Day Squares is now looking at a fourth flavor, and took in its third fundraise of $10 million to get the ball rolling on that and an expansion into other retailers, convenience stores and internationally into the U.K., Latin America and Asia.

In addition to the fourth flavor, they have plans to launch a fifth in 2023, and have another two in the product pipeline.

Saltarelli considers the new funding a Series C, mainly because the company did not want to take on convertible notes. Mid-Day Squares previously raised $7.5 million, and with the latest investment, has a $35 million pre-money valuation.

The lead investor on the round was Siddhi Capital, which was joined by BFG (Boulder Food Group), Selva Ventures, Harlo Entertainment and a group of individual investors, including Peter Burns, David Cynamon, Mike Fata, Bobby Parrish, David Meltzer, Noah Brennan, Clayton Christopher, Gurdeep Prewal, Dylan Barbour, Rachel Mansfield, Elly Truesdell and Alexandre Guertin.

The company, on average, sells 13 bars per store per week per flavor and ended 2021 with $8 million revenue. Saltarelli expects to see double that at the end of this year. He has an ambitious goal of reaching $100 million in revenue by 2025, and the company has its own manufacturing plant with the ability to produce the capacity needed to get there.

Saltarelli also hinted that when the investment runs out, Mid-Day Squares will likely be in position to go public in Canada.

“We are building a brand, not just to be a product on the shelf, but to build a deep community,” Lezlie Karls added. “People are tired of buying from conglomerates where they don’t know who is behind it. We are offering a $3.99 square to be part of this journey with us.”

Will your nose know lamb? Black Sheep Foods is betting it will

Black Sheep Foods, a food tech company making plant-based heritage breed meats and wild game, took in $5.25 million in seed funding as it continues developing its patent-pending flavor compounds.

Sunny Kumar, co-founder, told TechCrunch that where some plant-based meats fall short is relying on the taste to be generated by the mouth. Rather, his company is creating flavors that are detected in your nose and at the right time.

“[Mouth taste] is a rudimentary way,” he added. “We are working on compounds that can be detected in the nose. When people hunted and gathered, they used their nose.”

Since 2019, Black Sheep Foods has been working in R&D to create the compounds, composed of pea protein, and fatty acids and how best to deliver them.

While plant-based versions of chicken and beef have become popular in recent years, Kumar believes that meats, like lamb and other game, that are main parts of diets in the Mediterranean, India, Middle East and Africa, were left behind by the trend.

The trend he is referring to is the global plant based-meat market that was estimated to be valued at $6.67 billion in 2020. As more people examine their diets and seek out sustainable methods for food, that market is expected to reach $16.7 billion by 2026.

The new funding received gives the company an opportunity to propel the plant-based versions of these meats to a more mainstream audience, especially those that Kumar said have tried lamb before and didn’t like the taste.

Black Sheep’s backers include AgFunder, Bessemer Venture Partners, Tastybites’ Meera and Ashok Vasudevan, New Crop Capital, Siddhi Capital and Smita Conjeevaram.

The company put out its plant-based lamb last year with restaurant partners, including Greek restaurant Souvla in the Bay Area. Kumar said the addition was the first time in seven years that Souvla made a change in its menu. This year, the restaurant will introduce Black Sheep Foods meatballs to their Delta Airlines offerings available to first and business class travelers.

This month, the lamb will begin being offered at other Bay Area restaurants like Rooh, Chezchez, Beit Rima, Joyride, Mazra, Monica’s and Ettan.

Kumar plans to use the new funding to answer the common question he gets about how big the market is for lamb and on R&D to continue to push into the synthetic biology space with other flavors, like wild boar.

“The biggest hurdle is getting people to sample the product,” he added. “We sell through our current chef partners, and we have sold out. We’ve looked at how much other plant-based companies are selling and we are beating that metric.”

Kencko takes in new capital to shake up how we consume our fruits, vegetables

Kencko, the plant-based, blender-free smoothie company, raised $10 million in Series A funding to expand into new categories.

Existing investor Siddhi Capital led the round and was joined by both current and new investors, including Next View Ventures, Riverside Ventures, Silas Capital, Cheyenne Ventures, Shilling Capital, Indico Capital, Mission Point, Gather Ventures and Nextblue Ventures. The latest investment brings Kencko’s total funding to over $13.5 million.

We last checked in on Kencko — which means health in Japanese — back in 2019 when the company raised a $3.4 million seed round. At the time, it was selling its fruit drink with six flavor options and was poised to launch two new products.

Today, the company has over a dozen flavor options for its organic smoothies and four flavors for its gumdrops. Its freeze-dried technology provides a way for people to get 2.5 servings of fruits and vegetables, while its gumdrops have one serving. None of the products have refined sugars, sweeteners or artificial ingredients.

Kencko is carving out its niche in a crowded global health and wellness market that is poised to be worth $7 billion by 2030. Other companies are also attracting venture capital, for example, Athletic Greens, which created AG1, a powdered beverage designed to provide daily nutrition, announced $115 million Tuesday in new funding that boosts its pre-money valuation to $1.2 billion.

With the news of the investment, Kencko unveils its newest bowls product, a heated product which will be available later in February.

Tomás Froes, co-founder and CEO, Kencko

Tomás Froes, co-founder and CEO, Kencko

Kencko is also all about diverting fruits and vegetables from landfills and was able to ship over 10 million freeze-dried smoothies in the past year which the company says is the equivalent of around 660 tons of fresh produce. The brand is also on track to be completely carbon neutral in 2022.

The company has been growing on average over 500% per year, after just three years in business, Tomás Froes, co-founder and CEO, told TechCrunch via email. At the end of the year, Kencko had nearly 360,000 members, a growth of 173% over 2020.

Froes expects to deploy the new funds into scaling and optimizing Kencko’s supply chain and in-house manufacturing. The company just passed 100 employees, and he plans to double the team in the next 12 months.

“With this raise, we’re poised to increase what we like to call ‘Kencko moments’ for our members: to offer hassle-free nutrition throughout the day,” Froes added. “We’ll continue to be focused on helping more people transition to healthier habits by increasing their day-to-day intake of fruit and vegetables. We have a number of exciting new products we are working on, and you should expect us to begin dipping our toes in brick-and-mortar retail this upcoming year.”

Is cell-cultured meat ready for prime time?

Meat has been part of the human diet since before we found fire, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the production of meat at scale is more of a detriment to the environment and the world than a benefit.

Across cultures and geographies, animals have been such a vital part of the food chain that it’s hard to imagine a world where animals are not put to the knife to produce protein.

There’s no stopping innovation, however, and alternative sources of protein are increasingly becoming a choice people would rather make.

Cell-cultured meat is one such source. Also known as cultivated or lab-grown meat, this process uses cells from animals to make meat without slaughter. While the nascent sector is a hot topic for the benefits it promises, the process remains slow and costly.

Investments in this sector are heating up, though. If 2021 was anything to go by, there is an abundance of both companies and investors hungry for ways to scale and speed up the process — and do it profitably.

However, it’s not yet clear when meat grown in labs will reach the kind of scale required to see it at your local grocery store.

This is not a revolution, it is a transformation, and it is going to take time. Friederike Grosse-Holz

High steaks

Cell-cultured meat owes its growing popularity, at least in part, to some of the macro challenges the world faces with food production. Overcultivation, human-made climate change and diminishing sources of water are all contributing to a future where food insecurity will be a gigantic problem.

The outlook is bleak: The United Nations estimates food production will need to double to feed the nearly 10 billion people expected to populate the planet by 2050. As for protein, people around the world consumed about 324 million metric tons of meat in 2020, and that number is set to rise even further.

Changing how we cultivate and produce food is key to solving this problem, and we already have systems like vertical farming to address the problem of overcultivation, as well as protein sources other than meat. Currently, alternative protein makes up just about 2% of the animal protein market, but it is expected to increase more than 7x by 2025.

“We are trying to meet the Paris Agreement, but we can’t meet that without addressing the food system and the way we produce meat, eggs and dairy,” said Sharyn Murray, senior investor engagement specialist at Good Food Institute, a nonprofit advocating for reimagined meat production. “The conversion ratio for calories in versus calories out is seven to eight calories for a chicken for one calorie out, while plant-based is one calorie in and one out.”

Cultivated meat is just one of the approaches to meeting future demand for protein alongside plant-based and fermentation techniques. Murray and others I spoke to referred to the movement as “a massive transformation of the food system that will take time.” Meaning the shift will not happen overnight, Murray said.

There is also only one company with cell-cultured meat products available in the market currently: Eat Just, whose subsidiary GOOD Meat has received regulatory approval to produce and sell its cell-cultured meat in Singapore. Eat Just also recently received approval to sell chicken breasts made with cell cultures.

A nugget made from lab-grown chicken meat is seen during a media presentation in Singapore, the first country to allow the sale of meat created without slaughtering any animals, on December 22, 2020. (Photo by Nicholas YEO / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS YEO/AFP via Getty Images)

A nugget made from lab-grown chicken meat is seen during a December media presentation in Singapore, the first country to allow the sale of meat created without slaughtering any animals. Image Credits: Nicholas YEO / AFP / Getty Images

Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just, said the movement is here even if people are not buying a lot of lab-grown meat yet.

“It is still small-scale, and the most important thing we are doing that other companies should do is focus on the design, engineering and full-scale installations of vessels and the supporting systems to make a lot of it.”

New Age Meats bites into $25M for cultured meat product line development

Berkeley-based cultured meat company New Age Meats announced Monday it raised $25 million in Series A funding that will enable the company to begin production of its first product offering, a variety of pork sausages, next year.

Hanwha Solutions of South Korea led the funding round and was joined by existing investors SOSV’s IndieBio, TechU Ventures, ff VC and Siddhi Capital.

CEO Brian Spears has a chemical engineering background and co-founded the company, which makes meat from animal cells, in 2018 after spending 12 years developing research laboratory and industry automation.

“We want to create a sustainable and humane process that delivers the same flavors, smell and experience in an affordable and accessible way,” he told TechCrunch. “Having the backing of Hanwha and our other investors, we can go after our mission to become the largest and most innovative meat company on Earth.”

Brian Spears speaking at Hello Tomorrow Singapore. Image Credits: New Age Meats

The Series A will enable the company to double its workforce, expand R&D and build a 20,000-square-foot pilot manufacturing facility in Alameda. The investment follows $7 million of seed rounds previously raised from a group of backers including RXBAR founder Peter Rahal.

New Age Meats is starting with sausage because it is one of the foods that had the fastest way to market, but the company will eventually move into other meat categories like beef and chicken, Spears said.

He expects to be able to go to market in 2022, pending approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He also sees demand for products coming from markets that eat a lot of pork, like Asia.

The cultured meat landscape is gaining new entrants as the technology has evolved. Spears said New Age is differentiating itself by concentrating on delivering on the experience for customers that like eating meat and doing it in a way that is scalable and affordable.

While Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat were some of the first in the meat alternative space, other companies have come into it with a focus on cultured meat and are also attracting venture capital; for example, Animal Alternative and Eat Just’s Good Meat, which last week announced another $97 million in funding.

Hanwha Solutions, which corresponded via email, said that its business mission aligned with New Age Meats and sees potential for growth in the cell-based pork market.

And, given worldwide efforts to address climate change, Hanwha “expected rapid market growth” in the food tech industry, particularly around cultured meat.

“Growing awareness for healthy food and animal rights will also fuel the demand,” the company said. “With its expertise in using cell technology to produce cultured meats, New Age Meats will help us expand our business horizon.”


Hungryroot co-founder’s new venture, Noops, a plant-based pudding startup, raises another $2M

Just two months after securing $2 million in pre-seed funding, plant-based pudding startup Noops is announcing an additional $2 million round led by Lerer Hippeau.

The Long Island-based company was founded in 2019 by Hungryroot co-founder Gregory Harry Struck after he adopted a plant-based diet while battling cancer.

“It was born out of a need when a lot of things were eliminated for me,” Struck told TechCrunch. “During this period of change, I thought about consumption and how it affects our well-being and health system.”

Struck recalls a time in the grocery store looking in the dairy case for yogurt, catching a glimpse of pudding and wondering why this product had never been reimagined, nutrition-wise. He went home, turned his house into a commercial kitchen and began experimenting with recipes, sometimes using his three young children as taste-testers.

When Struck found a recipe that worked, he started handing the pudding out to friends and family and ultimately started Noops. The company’s first product is an oat milk-based line that is organic, free of dairy and gluten, contains prebiotics, plant protein and fiber, and has no added sugar. The pudding comes in traditional flavors like chocolate, caramel, mocha and vanilla.

Joining Lerer Hippeau in the investment are Siddhi Capital, Idea Farm Ventures, Simple Food Ventures, Animal Capital, Mondelēz executive Gil Horsky and American Pie executive Alan Mitzner. The latest round gives the company a total of $5 million raised to date, Struck said.

“This, for us, is very significant in terms of having a partner like Lerer Hippeau believe in us that we can be the next-generation,” he added. “And for us, we know exactly where we are going and can see the future and be a part of it.”

As part of the investment Larry Appel, former CEO of The Fresh Market, and Benjamin McKean, CEO of Hungryroot, will join the company’s advisory board.

Andrea Hippeau, partner at Lerer Hippeau, agreed, saying that it was Struck himself, and his background, that led to the firm’s belief that he could make an impact on the plant-based food category and build a strong company. The plant-based foods market was valued at $29.4 billion in 2020, according to a Bloomberg Intelligence report, and is poised to grow to $74 billion by 2027.

As investors in the space, Hippeau said the firm is looking at this category as “the next generation of consumables that will be hitting every category.” And, while the food type has reached a number of categories, like meat and seafood, there is not much in the space of pudding, nor have incumbents come out with better-for-you options, Hippeau said.

In fact, of the $348 billion in annual sales generated by the top 25 food and beverage incumbents in the U.S., some $50 billion of the sales can be attributable to snack brands, like Jell-O, which contain animal byproducts and have remained unchanged since launching in 1897, Struck said.

“Grocers are looking for the plant-based alternatives,” Hippeau said. “Noops is making a pudding with the same flavors people like and nutritional to take yogurt on head-on. Gregory and his team understood this and had those connections already established when they came to us.”

Meanwhile, the new funding will go to grow Noops’ distribution channels and network as it services retailers and direct-to-consumers, develop additional partnerships, make some key hires in finance and sales, bring on a second manufacturing partner as it aims to triple production and create more flavors and products, including a breakfast line that will develop a yogurt alternative.

Noops officially launched in Q1 of 2021 and is now available in more than 750 locations of retailers, including Sprouts Farmers Market and Wegmans Foods Markets. In addition, since its pre-launch in 2020, the company has doubled its projected numbers. It intends to launch in Fresh Thyme this year.


Immi takes in $3.8M to cook up plant-based instant ramen

Immi is putting a healthy spin on instant ramen by going plant-based and offering more bold tastes. The company announced Tuesday that it raised $3.8 million in seed funding.

Co-founders Kevin Lee and Kevin Chanthasiriphan both grew up in food families from Taiwan and Thailand, respectively, and met a decade ago while working at the same tech company. They bonded over getting noodles every day.

Fast-forward to today, and they both saw family members stricken with diabetes and high blood pressure and started thinking about what a better-for-you food and beverage brand would look like.

Taking the love of the Asian food they grew up with, they wanted to develop one of those brands for the U.S.

“We immediately agreed on instant ramen,” Chanthasiriphan told TechCrunch. “My dad still eats instant ramen each night, and it is such a massive market: 4 billion packets are sold per year, but it is also a product that has been dominated by the same three incumbents for years.”

The global instant noodle space is projected to be a $32 billion industry by 2027, with $7.7 billion of value in the U.S. However, the ramen most people buy in the grocery store includes noodles made of refined carbohydrates that get cooked in oil, while the soup packets are high in sodium and preservatives, he said.

Their take on it is Immi, which is plant-based, low carb and low sodium, high fiber and has 22 grams of protein on average. The product comes in three flavors — Black Garlic “Chicken,” Tom Yum “Shrimp” and Spicy “Beef.”

The pair went into the company full-time in 2019 and have spent the better part of the last few years heads down in R&D, but the finished product didn’t come easy. In fact, when speaking with people in the industry, they were told that creating a healthier version of ramen would be “kind of impossible,” Lee said. They had to start from the ground up and make it themselves, formulating the first recipes in their own kitchens.

Immi’s variety pack includes Black Garlic “Chicken,” Tom Yum “Shrimp” and Spicy “Beef.” Image Credits: Immi

The funding raise comes as Immi releases a reformulation of their product this year aimed at replicating traditional instant ramen in broth taste, mouthfeel, texture and slurpability.

Siddhi Capital led the round and was joined by Palm Tree Crew, Constellation Capital, Animal Capital, Pear Ventures, Collaborative Fund and a group of individuals, including Patrick Schwarzenegger, Kat Cole and Nik Sharma, as well as executives from Thrive Market, Caviar, Daring Foods, Madhappy, Twitch, Kettle & Fire, MUD\WTR, Native, Amity Supply, Visionary Music Group, Italic, Tatcha and Casper.

Melissa Facchina, co-founder and general partner at Siddhi Capital, said her firm invests in food and beverage brands and its investment arm is a mentor to the Immi team.

“We were blown away by them,” she said. “It costs a lot of money to innovate in this industry, and it is exciting for myself and family to have something that we can grab and go. The second version launching looks exactly like the traditional brick pack and now has adult flavors that attach to a different culinary pallet.”

The natural or better-for-you foods industry has changed “dramatically” in the last decade,  Facchina said. Most of it is driven by consumers that want transparency in the supply chain, cleaner ingredients and authentic brands.

Consumer packaged goods brands that are reinventing themselves already have successful product lines, but few brands are taking a look at certain categories she said are ripe for reinvention, like cereal. Her firm is an investor in Magic Spoon, and she sees Immi reinventing ramen and Asian cuisine, saying “the Kevins as a founder group are highly moldable, high-achieving and want to surround themselves with best-in-class people.”

Meanwhile, the new funding will be split between R&D, hiring and marketing, Lee said. The company is taking in customer feedback to enhance the flavors, and would like to optimize its supply chain, hire for key executive roles and put spending toward testing new marketing channels. Immi sells its product via its own online store, but would like to expand into wholesale channels and online grocers.

Immi’s products were launched in January and saw inventory sell out in the first month without any marketing. They have since sold over 10,000 orders across the U.S. and are even looking to go international.

Going forward, the company will be working on two initiatives: The first is to develop an infrastructure to expand its product offerings, like more flavors and noodle types, so it can launch a new flavor every few months. Lee and Chanthasiriphan also aim to develop additional Asian food products that have cleaner ingredients, like snacks and confections, that they loved eating when they were children.

The second is marketing and distribution. The company has amassed a community of 4,000 members that help Immi with rapid taste testing.

“We are figuring out how to bring our products to a more mainstream audience, especially those that may not be following a certain diet, but want to bring in food and beverages that are healthier,” Lee said. “We are also bringing in taste makers of culture, celebrities and TikTok influencers to broaden consumer interest and bring Immi into the mainstream cluster.”