ICA Accelerates Upcycling Leader, Renewal Mill, with $250,000 Investment
Oakland, CA — award-winning food upcycling leader, Renewal Mill, is the latest company to join ICA’s investment portfolio. The company just closed on a new $250,000 investment from ICA’s Growth Fund, as part of its most recent $1M funding round.
Renewal Mill is on a mission to help consumers fight climate change from their kitchen by reducing food waste, the largest single driver of global warming. From premium, high-fiber, gluten-free flours that pack a powerful nutritional punch, to decadent pantry staples like brownie mix, the company has a diverse and innovative portfolio of sustainable food products, all made from the byproducts of food manufacturing. Helmed by Claire Schlemme and Caroline Cotto, the company is leading the food upcycling movement and has seen robust growth in both its direct-to-consumer and B2B manufacturing ingredient sales channels.
Above: Some of Renewal Mill's decadent products from its direct-to-consumer line.
Renewal Mill has deep ties in the Oakland community; the company relocated to Oakland shortly after its founding to work with Hodo Foods, on upcycling the artisan tofu producer’s soybean pulp. Over the last four years, Renewal Mill has continued to prioritize local growth and partnerships with Oakland-based brands including ICA companies Red Bay Coffee, Back to the Roots, and Ugly Pickle Co.
“ICA has built an incredible ecosystem of impactful entrepreneurship in Oakland, and the support and mentorship we received from them over the years has been invaluable,” states co-founder Claire Schlemme. “We’re so lucky to have a resource in our community that supports our mission-driven growth,” adds co-founder Caroline Cotto.
Renewal Mill is the third Accelerator at ICA alumni company to receive investment from ICA, joining Onigilly and Don Bugito in the portfolio. Since December 2020, ICA has deployed more than $1.75MM in growth equity to Bay Area companies with investments in Renewal Mill, Something Better Foods, Don Bugito and Goal Five.
As a nonprofit venture capital Community Development Financial Institution, ICA makes investments that support our mission to accelerate great businesses to close the racial and gender wealth gaps.
“Caroline and Claire are visionary leaders and we are excited to see Renewal Mill grow,” said John Gough, ICA’s Chief Investment Officer. “Renewal Mill is a perfect example of ICA’s thesis that with tailored capital and an intentionally designed system of support, Bay Area entrepreneurs can accomplish great things.”
Above: Claire Schlemme and Caroline Cotto, co-founders of ICA investment company Renewal Mill.
ICA’s investment will be used to further accelerate the B2B sales of the company’s second ingredient, oat protein made from the byproduct of oat milk production, and to grow retail sales of the baking mix line. Renewal Mill ultimately aims to be the go-to upcycled ingredient supply for the food industry by building a portfolio of upcycled ingredients that meet consumer demands for nutrition, taste, and above all, sustainability.
Whole Foods Market named upcycled food a Top 10 Trend for 2021, and Renewal Mill is leading the charge. Renewal Mill’s founders helped create the world’s first upcycled food certification program through the Upcycled Food Association, a trade organization it co-founded and now leads as board president.
Joining ICA and Beyond Impact Advisors in this funding round are Emil Capital Partners, and the Georgetown Angel Investor Network.
ICA’s Growth Fund makes growth equity investments of $100,000 to $1,000,000 with a focus on serving entrepreneurs of color and women. Our investment strategy intentionally focuses on racial and gender equity, and supports companies that are committed to our shared mission of wealth creation and distribution to a diverse workforce.
Renewal Mill products are sold on Thrive Market, Good Eggs, Fresh Direct, Imperfect Foods, and in 200+ grocery stores in California. To read more about ICA, our investments, our programs, and our companies visit ica.fund.