German pea-based milk alternative brand, has today announced an investment of £5.2M (€6.1M) from FoodTech investors Five Seasons Ventures, alongside previous investors Global Founders Capital and Good Seed Ventures. The investment will be used to scale in existing markets and expanding to new European markets, including the UK, further product development and key talent.
Vly was founded in 2018 by Niklas Katter, Moritz Braunwarth and Nicolas Hartmann, who saw an opportunity for a healthy milk alternative that was high in protein, low sugar, and didn’t use any ingredients associated with common allergies, such as nuts or oats. The co-founders also wanted the product to offer a more sustainable alternative without compromising on taste.
After 400 iterations in research and development, vly was created using yellow split pea protein. The finished product is neutral in taste, high in nutrients, low in sugars, and is functional, meaning it can be used for everything from frothy coffee to cereal. It’s also more sustainable, just 1L of vly uses 15x less CO2, 13x less water and 5x less land, compared to cow’s milk.
Launched in Germany in January 2020 vly has experienced significant growth, scaling from the shelves of 25 stores to 10,000 after just 12 months, including major German supermarkets, such as Rewe and Edeka. Vly is already the sixth biggest plant milk brand in Germany and the company is also serving customers in Austria, Estonia, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. In addition to retailers and hospitality, it offers a direct-to-consumer service through its website which covers roughly 20 per cent of its business.
The Series A round will primarily be used to capitalise on vly’s growth to date, cementing itself in its existing markets before fuelling further expansion into international markets including the UK.
Nicolas Hartmann, Managing Director and Co-founder of vly, said: “From the beginning health has been a critical component of our vision for vly, experimenting with macro and micronutrients for the optimal product. We continue to invest in research and development for our products, innovating from within the company every day and staying close to the process. We have started with milk, but we want to create a range of new dairy alternative products, providing tasty and healthy options that will accelerate the plant-based shift. This funding and the industry expertise of our investors play a key part in moving us forward in this mission.”
Niccolo Manzoni, Founding Partner of Five Seasons Ventures, lead investor for the Series A round, added, “We scanned the entire European market for an innovative dairy alternative and decided to invest in vly because of its superior nutrition, functional profile and impressive team. In such a short period of time vly has experienced exceptional traction in the market. We see huge potential for the vly team, who are committed to making category-defining plant-based products.”
Vly is available for online purchase to customers in Germany and Austria, and soon further European countries. Vly’s range includes three products - Original, Unsweetened, and Barista (designed to foam better). Prices start from €2.50 per carton.