People want healthier food, including their comfort foods, but tastes change.
Ramen is a pantry staple and a joke for college students and young entrepreneurs, but the market potential is huge. The global instant noodle market was nearly $46 billion in 2020 and expected to reach $66 billion by 2027.
Immi helps. Two years ago, we profiled the company’s $3.8 million seed funding. Kevin Lee and Kevin Chanthasiriphan founded the company to introduce a plant-based, low-carb, high-protein instant ramen to this large market.
“We’ve still been heads down, really focused on the ramen space,” Lee said in an interview. “We have seen some new folks enter the ramen space, but there still aren’t any competitors in that low-carb, high-protein, plant-based value proposition.” We maintain that lead and have an ongoing opportunity, especially in retail.”
Lee and Chanthasiriphan are eager to start the next phase of their business because Immi’s online sales haven’t slowed.
Spicy “beef,” Tom Yum “shrimp,” and Black Garlic “chicken” remain immi’s three plant-based flavors. However, a $10 million Series A funding round allows the company to launch nine new flavors, expand its executive team, and sell to nationwide retailers.
Naomi Osaka, Usher, Apolo Ohno, David Grutman, Kygo’s Palm Tree Crew, and Gryffin all put money into the latest round, which was led by Touch Capital and just finished.Lee said the seed round valuation increased “by a good amount” for Immi, which has raised $15 million.
Siddhi Capital, Gold House Ventures, Anti VC, Harizury, Lab Capital Advisors, CAA’s Co-Head of Basketball, Lynja, Lauren Kleinman (Dreamday, The Quality Edit), Theresa Kang (Blue Marble Pictures), and the CEOs or co-founders of Fly By Jing, Bokksu, Boba Guys, LMNT, OWYN, Hero Cosmetics, Supply, Rumble Boxing, Worlds, Venice Music, Adgile Media Group, and Hyphen Capital invested in the Series A round.
Immi launched in Whole Foods, Wegmans, and The Fresh Market in 2022 after growing revenue six times and selling out seven times since 2021. The founders said more locations will open this year.
The company has 6,000 private tasters, up from 4,000 in 2021. In addition to taste, the community tells the founders which retailers to launch IMMI at nextnity tells the founders which retailers to launch IMMI at next. Lee said this information helps the company market to retailers by showing the size of a future customer base.
Lee said that in the third quarter of 2022, investors—both new and old—began to notice the company’s rapid growth.
“We wanted to raise this $10 million because there was just so much opportunity on the horizon with building out our team, improving the product, and then launching in more retail, especially after seeing some of the early Whole Foods data,” Lee said. Because we sold directly to consumers and because stores wanted to sell our bright yellow packaging, we got off to a great start.
Product development research will receive some of the new capital. Chanthasiriphan said the nine new flavors would be a mix of permanent, limited-time, and co-branded partnership flavors with influencers, celebrities, and movie studios. Immi specializes in rare flavors.
The company is also “batting around” 12 more flavors to decide which ones to prioritize. It is also testing non-ramen products.
In an interview, Chanthasiriphan said that there are many unique ways to launch those through partnerships. We’re also improving noodle texture, cook time, and formats like cups.