Daring Foods retailers include Sprouts and Costco.

Daring Foods retailers include Sprouts and Costco.

The health-conscience, plant-based chicken substitute market isn’t without competition, so it doesn’t hurt to have rap superstar Drake as an investor to boost a startup’s image.
 
The Canadian musician, who mentioned going vegan on gaming site Twitch in 2018, is one of the backers in a $40 million Series B round for Culver City-based Daring Foods Inc., a maker of a plant-based chicken substitute distributed through supermarket chains like and Sprouts and Kroger’s.


New York-based investment firm D1 Capital Partners led the funding round, along with existing investors Maveron, a prominent Seattle-based venture capital firm founded by former Starbucks Corp. CEO Howard Schultz, and Miami-based Palm Tree Crew Investments, an early stage investment arm of Palm Tree Crew Holdings.

 
Palm Tree is run by music producer Kygo and his manager, Myles Shear.


“Honestly, I’d rather talk about the business and not the relationship I have with any of my business partners,” said Ross Mackay, the 30-year-old co-founder and chief executive of Daring Foods. “We’re not trying to focus this whole business model on Drake or anyone else. Really, the excitement comes from the business we’re building.”

 
Meatless chicken is a tough market to crack. But just as the pandemic shut down the world, Daring’s first retail channels opened up. The company plans to be in more than 4,000 retail locations by the end of 2021.


Mackay estimates that Daring has 50 to 60 employees in Culver City, and he plans to triple that by the end of the year, as well as expand manufacturing in the United States.

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