The Berkeley-based startup was originally founded in 2015 by serial entrepreneurs Cassandra Curtis and Ari Raz. Today, it lists actress Jennifer Garner and former General Mills president John Foraker as co-founders, too.
Both Garner and Foraker — who was the chief executive officer of the popular organic mac & cheese brand Annie’s Homegrown for more than a decade — joined the company in September 2017. Foraker had been an angel investor in Once Upon a Farm and, after conversations with Garner, decided to accept the role of CEO. Garner, widely known for her roles in Alias, 13 Going on 30 and the upcoming HBO original series Camping, was already somewhat of a Once Upon a Farm evangelist when she signed on as chief brand officer a little over a year ago.
“I am proud of the innovative business that we have built,” Garner said in a statement. “It is incredibly exciting to see so many families embracing our products. This latest round of funding allows us to continue to help busy parents give their children the most nutritious foods possible and make life a little bit easier for families across the country.”
Foraker told TechCrunch that since he and Garner joined, the business has grown 10x. Last fall, the company’s products were for sale in 300 stores; today, as mentioned, they are available in more than 8,000.
“Because she has global celebrity, the power of that, she can really help us get the message out and help lots of moms and dads find [Once Upon a Farm],” Foraker said.
Once Upon a Farm sells smoothies and applesauce for kids up to age 12 directly to consumers through its online marketplace and in stores. Pouches of its signature baby food, smoothies and applesauce are $2.99 each.
As part of the deal, CAVU’s co-founder and managing partner Brett Thomas, along with CAVU investor Jared Jacobs, will join the company’s board. S2G Ventures and Beechwood Capital also participated in the round for the startup, which raised a $4 million Series A in June 2017.
The company plans to use the funds to expand its direct to consumer business, partner with more U.S. grocers and build out a wider assortment of baby products.
“You can buy fresh pet food now in almost 20,000 stores in the U.S.,” Foraker said. “We think fresh baby food has a long way to go.”