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Automated Plant-Based Milk Maker Seeks $1M in Funding

Growup, founded in 2020, is seeking funding to promote what it says is an easier way for consumers to make plant-based milk at home.

The company has begun selling an automated plant-based milk machine within the U.S., pitched to reduce the work required by manual devices for those who prefer to avoid additives commonly found in store-bought products, Chief Executive Luiz Felipe Veras Rapacci told the Business Journal.

Many existing plant-based milk making products on the market are labor intensive, Rapacci said.

Rapacci is seeking to raise $1.1 million in a Series A funding round to support its marketing and advertising, he said. The company previously raised $70,000 in pre-seed funding.

It was recently one of 26 companies to take part in a fast-pitch competition at Octane’s Tech Innovation Forum on May 2.

Nine Settings

Growup’s plant-based milk maker machine has a touchscreen with programmed settings to extract milk from nine different types of nuts and seeds­ such as cashews, walnuts and hempseed.

The machine blends the raw ingredients with water, then separates the milk from the pulp in six minutes or less, Rapacci said. Harder nuts like almonds may need a few minutes to blend while oats only need about 30 seconds, he said.

The nine settings on Growup’s appliance have different set blend times for each nut and seed based on its density.

It also has a built-in filtration system where leftover pulp from the nuts and seeds can be taken out, dried and baked so “nothing goes to waste,” Rapacci said.

The machine went on the market in January and retails online for $329, which Rapacci said is less expensive than regularly buying plant-based milk from the store.

“It’s an investment, but it pays pretty quickly for someone like myself that buys two boxes of $7 plant-based milk a week,” he said.

Goals

Rapacci has spent more than 17 years at well-known companies in the beverage and food spaces.

Prior to starting Growup, he held marketing positions at Coca-Cola and General Mills in Brazil before he came to the U.S. with the hopes of developing his own product.

“I always wanted to work with product development and innovation, but I didn’t have the chance to do so at these companies,” Rapacci said.

He completed a summer internship at University of California, Irvine’s Beall Applied Innovation and was a part of the Wayfinder startup incubator program from 2020 to 2021.

During this time, Rapacci said he founded Growup.

Rapacci’s main goal for this year is fundraising, which he plans to put toward creating more product content for consumer education.

“It’s a huge market, but people don’t know that this category even exists,” Rapacci said.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.
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