Qualitas Health secures $10 million in venture funds to commercialize new plant protein

The investment will help accelerate customer acquisition and commercialization of the company’s unique plant-based protein, as well as deepen the clinical science and intellectual property to accelerate its expansion into additional geographies.

Qualitas Health (Houston, TX), DBA iwi, has secured $10 million in venture funds at a $73 million post-money valuation. Iwi is known for its high absorption polar lipid EPA derived from algae. The investment round was led by foodTech investor PeakBridge VC, Malta, together with Arancia Group, a privately owned Mexico-based food ingredient/food service conglomerate, Minrav (the company’s largest investor) and additional private investors. Additional convertible notes held by Minrav Holdings, Sasa, Trucent and other single investors are converted to equity. The investment will help accelerate customer acquisition and commercialization of the company’s unique plant-based protein, as well as deepen the clinical science and intellectual property to accelerate its expansion into additional geographies.

Iwi employs a unique process that relies on saltwater, utilizing the sun as the main source of energy, placing zero strain on the natural ecosystem. This allows iwi to cleanly cultivate immense amounts of the ancient sea vegetable Nannochrolopsis, an algae that contains all the essential amino acids, plus vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, and essential fatty acids, particularly omega-3.

“This investment will be instrumental to accelerating growth in 2021 as iwi advances to the industrial pilot stage of our unique plant-based protein, start the regulatory process, and conduct additional clinical studies,” said Miguel Calatayud, CEO of Qualitas Health, in a press release. “This uniquely sourced, complete plant protein will be ready for commercialization in 2022.”

Qualitas currently has 15 supplement SKUs of its high-absorption omega-3 under its iwi brand in the U.S., including soft gels and functional gummies. Iwi has also built a strong direct-to-consumer platform, and has an additional presence in more than 5,000 US retailer outlets.

“Qualitas ticks all the boxes for meeting our investment criteria,” explained Nadav Berger, co-founder and managing partner of PeakBridge, in a press release. “It has strong intellectual property, proven scaling capabilities, and tremendous sustainability impact — all of which give iwi a unique edge within the plant-based nutrition industry. We welcome Qualitas and its new and existing investors to the PeakBridge family.”

“PeakBridge is far more than a VC fund,” added Yoni Glickman, chairman of Qualitas. “PeakBridge, together with our additional new investors, brings decades of knowledge, expertise, and food industry networking, and Arancia is an industry leader with a long heritage of operational excellence and innovation. They also add significant value to our company. We warmly welcome our new partners and look forward to executing our ambitious plans together.”