KBW Ventures, a major investor in UAE real estate, picks up stake in US pet food startup. Image Credit: File Picture.

Dubai: In a slight departure from its more traditional allocations, Saudi Arabia’s KBW Ventures has participated in a $1.2 million seed funding of a US based pet food business. KBW, incidentally, has a major presence in the UAE real estate landscape through a sister company, which is an equal shareholder in the Sharjah-based developer Arada.

KBW’s latest funding is in Bond Pet Foods Inc. which makes animal-free and protein-rich pet food. The company was co-founded by Rich Kelleman and Pernilla Audibert in 2017.

This funding will be instrumental in driving the research and development needed to develop and scale Bond’s animal protein production and to debut its first consumer product early next year. It will also serve as an “important first step in elevating the use of ingredients made through microbial fermentation in pet food, and educating the public about its merits”, according to a statement issued post the funding announcement.

“This raise gives us the capital to make strides with our technology and introduce pet parents to a new and better way of feeding their dogs and cats,” said Kelleman. “We started Bond to deliver high nutrition to our pets without harm to other animals or to our planet, and we’re excited to bring our transformative products to the world in the months ahead.”

Multiple investors

The seed round is led by Lever VC, a venture capital fund specializing in alternative protein investments, with Agronomics, KBW Ventures, Plug and Play Ventures, Andante Asset Management and others.

“What makes us so excited about Bond Pet Foods is that it’s the first clean-meat company producing meat protein in a way that doesn’t require major technological breakthroughs to get to price parity with conventional meat,” said Nick Cooney, Managing Partner at Lever VC. “We don’t think there’s any other company out there with the potential to disrupt the $100 billion pet food market as much as Bond Pet Foods.”