Our investment in Planet FWD
The Advent of Climate-Conscious Consumerism: Why We Invested in Planet FWD’s $2.5M Post-Seed
Following news of its launch of Moonshot Snacks, the first climate-friendly snack brand, we are pleased to announce our investment in Planet FWD. We teased that we invested last week, but we wanted to explain why :).
Through the many interviews recorded for the My Climate Journey podcast and speaking to a slew of promising companies for MCJ Collective, we’ve come across quite a few companies solving formidable climate challenges. We’ve also met a number of amazing and inspiring founders. Rarely, however, do we come across a formidable climate challenge paired with an entrepreneur who is as uniquely well-equipped as Julia Collins to tackle it.
What is Planet FWD?
Planet FWD is helping both consumers and the brands they love shop for products whose ingredients are sourced with climate change in mind. It does this by providing food brands with a platform with which it can source ingredients that are sustainably produced and have a low-carbon footprint. Typically, CPG companies invest both time and money ensuring their farmers comply with certain climate standards. This may involve trips to the farms and mills to perform soil tests and carbon-impact modeling. Relieving brands of the onus to verify and perform diligence, Planet FWD ensures suppliers on its platform meet the highest of standards. As a result, brands are able to source from verified climate-friendly suppliers efficiently; consumers are able to shop more “climate consciously”; and farmers are rewarded for sustainable practices such as regenerative agriculture.
As proof of its methods and technology, Planet FWD has launched Moonshot Snacks, the first brand in the US market to have “climate-friendly” on its label. This brand of sustainably-sourced crackers is currently offered direct to consumers via the company’s website (Note: they make a great holiday gift!).
Why Did We Invest?
What was most compelling from the outset is the founder, Julia Collins, the genesis behind Planet FWD, and her vision for it. Julia is a powerhouse who knows how to scale operationally-complex food-based businesses. A graduate of Harvard who went on to pursue her MBA at Stanford, Julia has a rich career in managing and founding companies in the food services industry. Most notably, she was the co-founder of Zume Pizza which leveraged robotics to deliver quality pizza efficiently and inexpensively. Zume would later go on to raise $375M from Softbank and other investors.
Tackling The Food System’s Carbon Footprint
According to the United Nations, food systems — which include the production, processing and distribution of food products — account for up to 37% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, beyond the need to instill climate conscious behaviors among consumers, there are few market-driven incentives to spur farmers to invest in expensive sustainable practices.
A Compelling & Growing Market
Research performed at NYU’s Stern School of Business shows that sustainability-marketed products attributed to 50% of all U.S. CPG growth between 2013 - 2018. This is compelling evidence that there exists a fertile market for products that authentically address climate change.
Creating a New Climate Consumer Category
Market signals, such as Amazon’s “Climate Pledge Friendly” program in partnership with Unilever and other major CPGs, underscore the fact that climate-conscious consumers represent an enduring trend. For that reason and others, we strongly believe Planet FWD is best positioned to capitalize on what will be a hallmark of the current zeitgeist around adapting consumption to curb the effects of climate change.
Leading By Example
We would be remiss if we did not mention that Julia’s vision not only involves building an impactful company to tackle a major cause of climate change, but also assembling an experienced and diverse team to do it. Prioritizing talent from underrepresented groups, Planet FWD consists of a female-led team of BIPOC, and we applaud the importance the company has placed around diversity and representation. We feel honored to back Julia and the Planet FWD team and look forward to joining them on their journey.
Forbes: “How Julia Collins And Moonshot Snacks Are Using The Power Of Regenerative Agriculture To Tackle The Climate Crisis”
TechCrunch: “With another $2.5 million in funding, Julia Collins’ Planet FWD launches climate-friendly snack brand”
Fast Company: “This ‘climate-friendly’ snack brand wants to change how we eat”