ICA is thrilled to announce our newest Impact Note investment in award-winning, plant-based protein company, Down to Cook. Founded in 2019 by Trishna Saigal, Down to Cook makes meal starters that are designed to be mixed with fresh vegetables to create delicious plant-based meals. She is committed to hiring locally and providing comprehensive benefits and equity ownership to employees. Their flagship line Adda Veggie—a protein mix that transforms vegetables into a high-protein, vegan meat alternative—and it is now available at grocery stores throughout the Bay Area and recently launched in 40+ Northern California Whole Foods locations.
Product developer as problem solver: customer-centric strategy
Founder Trishna Saigal has brought over 40 products to market in previous roles at Hidden Valley and Ripple Foods. Today, as the primary product developer for Down to Cook, she gets her ideas by connecting one-on-one with customers. Trishna launched Down to Cook with a booth at the Kensington farmer’s market where she was able to talk to curious consumers and hear about their family’s varied dietary needs as she prototyped and refined her initial product line. Trishna continues to connect directly with customers through a busy calendar of field marketing and cooking demos in grocery stores and community events. She says hearing directly from customers about the impact the product is making in their lives is what drives her work.
“It’s so heartwarming when I hear from customers that our products have helped their family eat healthier, or that they’ve solved tricky dietary restrictions. That’s really what I’m in it for, to develop great products for people that solve their real problems.” —Trishna Saigal, Founder
With this catalyzing investment from ICA, Trishna will be able to expand her team. First on the list will be a marketing hire and another product developer, so they can keep launching new product lines and new flavors. Another initiative this funding will kickstart is moving to even more eco-friendly packaging, which Down to Cook customers have been requesting. Beyond expanding the reach and diversity of products, Down to Cook has been entering into restaurant service and, starting this fall, universities. Trishna says the flexibility of the product has been a perfect solution for chefs working with vegan and vegetarian populations looking for healthier, more diverse meal options.
“Trishna is the type of founder we love to work with. She is an expert in her field and crystal clear on her growth strategy. Her deep industry knowledge, customer-centric strategy, and sheer determination will be the key to overcoming the ever-increasing competition in this growing industry.” —Yui Ueno, Senior Director of Investment
Down to Cook participated in the Accelerator at ICA in 2021, working closely with the ICA team to continue to refine her business strategy. Trishna says being part of the ICA community was an important support network during a pivotal time of growth for the company. Being in a cohort with other impact-minded companies, in different fields than her own, was a unique part of the experience.
The latest investment using our new ICA Impact Note
We made this investment using the new ICA Impact Note, an innovative investment structure that helps entrepreneurs prioritize social impacts as they grow their businesses. Down to Cook commits to providing full benefits, equity ownership, and distributing 10% of profits to employees on an annual basis. As Trishna meets these impact milestones, ICA returns equity ownership percentages back to the company. The $300K investment comes from the ICA Growth Fund, which provides investments to entrepreneurs of color and women building companies that are committed to our shared mission of wealth creation and distribution to a diverse workforce.
ICA’s investment kicks off Trishna’s $1.5M Seed round, which will also include a crowdfunding campaign. Adda Veggie is available at select Northern California Whole Foods, Good Eggs, Amazon, Bay Area grocers, and direct-to-consumer through Down to Cook's website. Check out their store locator for a full list of everywhere Adda Veggie is sold.
Welcome to the ICA portfolio Trishna, and the Down to Cook team!
ICA provides coaching, connections, and capital to grow Bay Area businesses and close the gender and racial wealth gap. Applications for ICA’s accelerator programs are currently open! Learn more at: www.ica.fund