Vanilla Vida, an Israeli foodtech startup that specializes in a commercial solution for the entire value chain of the world’s most popular flavor, vanilla, raised $11.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Ordway Selections, a Swiss investment firm and money-manager for a number of private families.
Other investors in the round include PeakBridge, a seed fund specializing in FoodTech, Kibbutz Maagan Michael, and Strauss, which has now made its second investment in Vanilla Vida, which came out of Strauss’s The Kitchen FoodTech Hub.
Vanilla is a spice derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily obtained from pods of the Mexican species, flat-leaved vanilla. The word vanilla, derived from vainilla, the diminutive of the Spanish word vaina (vaina itself meaning a sheath or a pod), is translated simply as “little pod. Vanilla flavoring in food may be achieved by adding vanilla extract or by cooking vanilla pods in the liquid preparation. Natural vanilla gives a brown or yellow color, depending on the concentration. Good-quality vanilla has a strong, aromatic flavor, but food with small amounts of low-quality vanilla or artificial vanilla-like flavorings are far more common, since natural vanilla is expensive.
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Founded in 2020 by CEO Oren Zilberman, CTO Raz Krizevski, who has a rich background in fragrances and plants acquired at international corporations such as Evogene and Teva, and Shlomi Kadosh, who has decades of experience in planting and in managing international operations and manages the agricultural aspects of the company’s activities, Vanilla Vida claims to be the first company in the world to succeed in developing a commercial solution for the entire value chain of vanilla, from cultivation through to the end product.
Vanila Vida uses various non GMO methods to alter the metabolism of vanilla beans in ways that dramatically increase flavor levels. Its 100% natural process “breaks nature’s glass ceiling, while ensuring the right balanced and profile of vanilla flavor.”
Oren Zilberman said, “The funds will allow for significant growth in production and will be invested in building industrial infrastructure. Vanilla Vida Smart agriculture makes it possible to guarantee high-quality produce that overcomes the objective difficulties involved in growing agricultural raw materials, in addition to massive climate change and a lack of resources, including land and water. Vanilla Vida’s solution makes it possible to produce top-quality vanilla tailored to the customer’s needs and to ensure a sustainable supply chain that is considerate of the environment and transparently shows the process throughout the entire value chain.”
Vanilla Vida boasts that its proprietary cultivation process “promises to unleash the true potential of natural ingredients and flavors.” The company’s mission is to make natural flavors more available and affordable, while “liberating food companies from the dependence on synthetic materials. We’re kicking things off with the most popular and challenging flavor of all – vanilla.”