Saudi venture capital (VC) firm KBW Ventures has invested in French startup, Furahaa Group, which caters to the domestic market for plant-based options and alternative proteins.

The VC said it participated in the company’s seed round alongside private investors.

Founded in 2015 in Paris by entrepreneur Arthur Devillers, the food-tech company has three operating subsidiaries: PlantB2B, a supply chain and distribution entity that also stocks the Group’s restaurants; ViVeg, a consumer facing and subscription-based vegan food box supplier, and Furahaa, a vegan fast-food chain.

Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, founder and Chief Executive Officer of KBW Ventures said he was attracted by the Furahaa Group’s “vision for an inclusive and diverse workplace” and its goal of providing French vendors and consumers “a route to choose plant-based options.”

“The distribution business is strong, and during the pandemic I saw a swift and organised pivot– something any investor would find very attractive in a portfolio company,” he said.

While the statement didn’t disclose the investment value, Devillers said the Group is working with likeminded investors to ensure stock stability.

He said: “We wanted to better meet shortages of plant-based foodstuffs, as in France alternative proteins - meat and dairy alternatives - are not yet widely available at competitive price points. Sourcing quality ingredients at price parity was a challenge, so this led to Furahaa Group developing our own supply chain and distribution streams.”

The Group also plans to expand in France with the opening of new Furahaa outlets and has plans to launch a franchise model.

“Furahaa would like to be the first plant-based chain in France. It’s simple: we want to be everywhere that mainstream fast food is, but offering plant-based, delicious, ethical alternative,” added Devillers.

The existing portfolio companies of KBW Ventures from the plant-based realm include Rebellyous Foods, makers of plant-based chicken with B2B and B2C verticals; American fast- food mainstay Veggie Grill, and vegan jerky company Moku Foods.

(Writing by Anoop Menon; Editing by Seban Scaria)

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