From left: Simulate co-founders Ben Pasternak and Sam Terris
Nutrition technology startup Simulate, which makes Nuggs simulated chicken nuggets made from plant inputs, has raised $50 million in Series B funding. Seven Seven Six, a software-enabled venture firm founded by Reddit co-founder and internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian, led the round and was joined by Chris and Crystal Sacca, NOMO Ventures, McCain Foods, Imaginary Ventures, and Day One Ventures. Ohanian also joined the board of directors as part of the round.
Launched in the summer of 2019, Nuggs is now available at more than 5,000 retail locations, including Walmart, Sam's Club, Target and Whole Foods Market, with plans to add another 10,000 retail locations by the end of this year.
The new funding will allow Simulate to triple its internal team; ramp up the development of new products and technologies; scale its manufacturing capabilities; boost its retail and foodservice presence; and continue expanding in international markets — in fact, as of June 8, Nuggs is now available in Canada.
“Historically, our food system has rejected the use of technology, resulting in a system that is highly inefficient and primitive,” said Ben Pasternak, co-founder and CEO of New York-based Simulate. “This new funding will be used to create and protect the intersection of technology and nutrition.”
“Ben, Sam and the entire team’s commitment to rapid product iteration and building products that can infinitely scale is why we’re backing Simulate,” noted Ohanian, who established Seven Seven Six last fall with a focus on people, culture and community. “The best technology companies that I’ve invested in over the past decade have operated with similar principles, and we’re excited to see Simulate grow into one of the highest-impact nutrition companies on the planet.”
Simulate’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable nutrition. Its first product, Nuggs, has become the fastest-growing chicken nugget on the planet, according to the company. Simulate is in the process of developing new products and nutrition technologies, including some that will launch later this year.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates more than 11,300 stores under 48 banners in 24 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Walmart-owned Sam’s Club ranks No. 9 on the list. Minneapolis-based Target and Austin Texas-based Whole Foods are Nos. 6 and 26, respectively, on The PG 100. Whole Foods is owned by Seattle-based Amazon, No. 2 on the list.