Drake-Backed Daring Foods Gets $65 Million From Steve Aoki, Naomi Osaka and More

Backed by pop star Drake, Daring Foods raised $65 million in new funding from DJ Steve Aoki, tennis star Naomi Osaka and others, the faux-chicken company told dot.LA on Tuesday.

Founders Fund led the round. NFL quarterback Cameron Newton, Tiger Global founder Chase Coleman and D1 Capital also participated.

The raise marks Daring Foods’ third cash injection this year, with more than $120 million secured to date. The Los Angeles-based firm sells soy-based, chicken-inspired “pieces” — including cajun and breaded varieties — through major stores and offers a direct-to-consumer subscription service on its website.

Daring Foods called itself “one of a handful of companies to raise Series A, B and C in a single year.” That’s no coincidence.

The accelerated fundraising comes at a critical time for Daring Foods. Its rivals, El Segundo-based Beyond Meat and Valley-based Impossible Foods, are now moving into plant-based poultry, a market that already featured mainstays like Morningstar Farms.

Perhaps to head off their advances, Daring Foods also revealed Tuesday that its offerings are coming to 3,000 Walmart stores across the U.S. Its products had already launched in Whole Foods, Kroger, Sprouts and other retailers.

Drake, Osaka and Daring Foods’ other celebrity backers aren’t alone in funding plant-based ventures. Stars such as Snoop Dogg, Post Malone, Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson have also joined in on the trend. Plant-based foods flew off shelves during the pandemic, and demand is expected to surge in the coming years.

Originally conceived in the United Kingdom in 2018, co-founders Ross Mackay and Eliott Kessas relocated the company to Los Angeles during the pandemic, joining Beyond Meat and other plant-based startups that have found a receptive market in the region.