New York-based Simulate today announced a $50 million fundraising. Led by Alexis Ohanian’s 776, the Series B brings Meat Options’ total funding north of $60 million and is valued at $260 million.
Simulate’s first product, Nugs (formerly also the startup’s name), has already made a splash, thanks in no small part to aggressive online advertising. The company has largely focused on retail availability in the last six months. The chicken nugget option was available to consumers via direct online order when it launched in Summer 2019 – availability that moved the needle during US shutdowns over the past year.
“During the height of the pandemic, people really wanted to have frozen food shipped straight to their door,” founder and CEO Ben Pasternak tells ClearTips. “At the time, we were DTC only, so we saw a lot of growth there prior to our pivot to retail.”
He further added that most of the company’s sales currently come from retail, due to accessibility and more restrictive DTC pricing. Currently, the product is available in 5,000 retail locations, a list that includes very large retail names such as Walmart/Sam’s Club, Target and Whole Foods.
“We’re getting ready to launch into restaurants and fast food,” Pasternak says. “Internationally, we recently launched across Canada, and plan to expand to other countries as well.”
The funding will also go towards expanding the company’s headcount. Currently 20 years old, Simulate expects to employ 50 people by 2022. “Half of that expansion will be focused on growing our engineering team,” says Pasternak.