DaVIS, CALIF. — Joywell Foods, a food technology company developing sweet proteins, closed a $9.6 million Series A funding round led by Evolv Ventures, a venture fund backed by Kraft Heinz.
Existing investors SOSV, Khosla Ventures and Alumni Ventures Group also participated in the round, which brought the total amount invested in the company to $13.2 million.
Joywell Foods, previously known as Miraculex, will use the new capital to build out its proprietary technology platform, broaden its portfolio of sweet proteins and expand R&D operations. It also plans to test several consumer offerings through direct-to-consumer and limited retail channels.
“Our team is excited to bring sweet proteins to commercial scale with the support of our newest investor, Evolv Ventures,” said Karen Huh, chief executive officer of Joywell Foods. “These funds bring us one step closer to our vision of eliminating the prevalence of sugar in our diet.”
Joywell Foods uses its technology platform to create proteins derived from exotic fruits. The first protein, miraculin, is sourced from the miracle berry fruit. It provides more sweetness than sugar when used as a pure ingredient or in a food product.
“Sweet proteins — many of which are over 1,000 times sweeter than sugar — can reduce how much sugar we consume in our daily lifestyle,” Ms. Huh said.
The company’s proteins may serve as healthy sweeteners in a range of products spanning bakery, confectionery, dairy, frozen desserts and more. The recently commercialized Pop Lolly, for example, is a reduced-sugar popsicle product utilizing miraculin as a sweetener.
“We believe in the sweet protein space and its application in consumer products,” said Steve Sanger, founder and partner of Evolv Ventures. “The company has the potential to make a big impact in the sweet protein space.”