Amy Schumer, Mark Wahlberg among SkinnyDipped’s star-studded $12M Series A

Snack company SkinnyDipped, known for its lightly dipped nuts, closed on $12 million in Series A funding in August to move into new retailers and new categories.

Mother-and-daughter Val and Breezy Griffith founded the company, which had humble beginnings as part of the 2016 AccelFoods cohort, with a goal to provide better-for-you snacks with less sugar, non-GMO ingredients and no artificial sweeteners. They started with almond flavors, like Lemon Bliss, building as a direct-to-consumer play.

Today, the Seattle-based company is more than almonds — of which there are now seven varieties — evolving into cashews, peanuts and a line of cups and bites launched last year, CEO Breezy Griffith told TechCrunch.

And in addition to DTC, it is now also in more than 25,000 retail stores nationwide, including Target, Walmart and Kroger.

“We have a strong, diverse distribution,” Griffith said. “Two things that stand out is our ability to innovate, which is done in-house by my mom, and that our brand can do well no matter where it is. That shows we appeal to a broad market and consumer base. It is not just grocery, but club business, gyms and coffee shops.”

That’s a positive amid what Griffith said is a snack industry that has a current “feeling of unknowing and uncertainty to try to navigate the future.” She attributes that to the result of investors changing their thinking about growth and profitability.

For example, in consumer packaged goods, there's a “huge pendulum swing from growth at all costs to being profitable at an earlier stage,” Griffith said. For CPG companies, profitability doesn’t come until there is a certain scale, and that takes time, money and the right marketing. Founders are figuring out that path.

“It is going to swing back some and growth and profitability are going to be together, however, we have to grow, innovate and also need to be profitable,” she added. “What sets us apart, and what we do really well, is create products that aren’t based off of a hyper trend or are super niche. They will stand the test of time, and investors recognize that.”

Indeed, the company attracted dozens of investors for its $12 million Series A round. Hospitality entrepreneur David Grutman, who also backs food-related companies like Snackpass and Immi, led the round.

The investment is rather unique: Instead of a special purpose vehicle, individual investors pooled money into a single funding entity, Griffith said. Among those dozens of investors are some names you’ll recognize, including Amy Schumer, Mark Wahlberg, Becky G, Post Malone, Tan France, Odell Beckham Jr., Frances Tiafoe, Alesso, Kevin Durant, Kaskade, Steve Aoki and Marshmello.

The funding enables SkinnyDipped to work on its retail expansion plans that include new retailers like Costco and Publix, support philanthropic efforts and marketing efforts and continue innovating into new spaces over the coming months.

This comes after SkinnyDipped spent the last 18 months working on its business foundation, including manufacturing and cost improvement, for its next chapter of growth, Griffith said. In that time, the company’s business experienced double-digit growth with forecasts to double again in the next 12 months. She also said the company is nearing profitability.

"There is growing club business and new distribution and retail partners ready to go,” she said. “We want to move into categories where we can pull in the brand promise. We also want to spend thoughtfully in marketing where we are seeing incredible return on investment.”

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