Exclusive: South Korean foodtech start-up closes $23m Pre-series B

Armored Fresh secures second investment from Korea Development Bank to fund US expansion 

South Korean foodtech start-up Armored Fresh (formerly Yangyoo) has closed a $23 million Pre-series B funding round, led by existing investor, the Korea Development Bank.

The start-up’s latest funding round was also supported by Hanwha Investment & Securities, Daesung Startup Investment, Sejong Venture Partners, Collaborative fund, Open Water Investment, Lotte Ventures, D3 Jubilee Partners, NH Venture Investment, Korea Investment & Securities, Aju IB Investment under the leadership of UTC Investment and Hana Financial Investment.

Armored Fresh’s investors have previously backed Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Blue Bottle Coffee and QSR phenomenon Sweetgreen. 

The capital raised will fast-track the start-up’s ambition to launch its plant-based cheeses in the US, months after debuting an initial selection in South Korea. Its product suite proved hugely successful at the Customer Electronics Show 2022 in Las Vegas in January. 

In January, the company raised an initial $10 million funding round, also led by the Korea Development Bank. It recently changed its name to Armored Fresh form Yangyoo.

Speaking to NutritionInvestor, Armored Fresh CEO Andrew Yu said: “Investors believe in the growth potential of Armored Fresh. They are convinced we could be a leader in the market. Their confidence and enthusiasm is reflected in the amount we were able to raise.”

“The funds received in this round will help us to penetrate the US market and accelerate our growth to become a world-class foodtech innovator,” Yu added. 

Brain Chang, principal at Collaborative Fund, said: “When we invest in food companies our number one requirement is taste, especially in this crowded plant based dairy market. If the taste is not exceptional, we would not pursue the investment.”

The company is expecting to launch its initial vegan cheese product suite into the US market in Q3.