Americans are feeling the heat, and this summer, Eclipse Foods is working to deliver its innovative, dairy-free ice cream to cool off consumers everywhere. The food technology startup just raised $40 million in a Series B investment round, claiming that the money will help expand its dairy-identical production and distribution range. To help Eclipse fulfill its promises of sustainable ice cream, Prince Khaled bin Alaweed join this funding round with his investment firm, KBW Ventures.

Founded in 2019, the Oakland-based company set out to develop a vegan ice cream product that perfectly replicated the creaminess of conventional ice cream. The company developed a proprietary method that uses cassava, potato, and corn to recreate dairy-free “micelles” that mirror animal-based dairy proteins. The final product is a molecularly dairy-identical ice cream that relies exclusively on plant-based ingredients.

Alternative protein specialist Aylon Steinhart and James Beard Award-nominated chef Thomas Bowman teamed up to challenge the existing dairy industries. This latest funding round brings the company’s valuation to $60 million dollars. The Saudi prince joins other key investors including Chairman of Beyond Meat Seth Goldman and Reddit Founder Alexis Ohanian. One report claims that the dairy alternatives market is expected to reach $51 billion by 2028 with the help of advanced plant-based technology and methodology.

"With 10 billion people to feed by 2050, we recognized that global diets must change," Steinhart said in a statement. "Consumers want more than just a dairy alternative like almond milk — they want a true replacement. Our plant-based dairy platform uses micelles (the microscopic magic of milk) to create the replacement products that consumers have been craving, and our growth over the last three years is a testament to that."

Prince Khaled’s KBW Ventures joined several other investors during the most recent funding round. Sozo Ventures led the round, which featured several other venture capital firms including Forerunner Ventures, Initialized Capital, and Gaingels.

“The number one reason consumers avoid plant-based dairy is taste. As self-proclaimed ice cream lovers, our team at Sozo Ventures recognized that Eclipse’s ice cream is in a league of its own after just one bite,” Vice President of Narrative Development at Sozo Ventures Bob Roe said.“Seventy percent of the world’s population is lactose intolerant, and with the alternative protein space projected to grow to $1.4 trillion by 2050, Eclipse is positioned to completely transform the dairy industry with its proprietary plant-based dairy platform.”

Eclipse Foods Expands Into Foodservice

Eclipse secured its most recent funding package closely after announcing its partnership with Smashburger. Teaming up with the American fast-food burger chain, Eclipse is launching six vegan milkshakes at all 220 locations. The vegan flavor selection features Chocolate, Strawberry, Oreo, Tangerine Dream, Vanilla, and Peanut Butter options.

“We are so proud to partner with Smashburger to introduce the first-ever plant-based shakes at a national fast-casual chain,” Steinhart said earlier this month. “This partnership marks an incredible milestone in advancing the plant-based movement and signals Smashburger’s confidence in Eclipse as the plant-based dairy brand that mainstream consumers will crave.”

The partnership marks the company’s largest foray into the foodservice industry. Previously, Eclipse teamed up with Chef Matthew Kenney to serve a non-dairy cannoli ice cream exclusively at his restaurant Baia in San Francisco.

For more plant-based happenings, visit The Beet's News articles

The Ultimate Vegan and Dairy-Free Ice Cream Taste Test

More From The Beet