Vegan snack manufacturer Rawxies is en route to closing a funding round that will significantly increase its production.
The Kansas City-based company has now raised $512,000 of its seed round, which will boost manufacturing of its raw, vegan snacks by roughly 400 percent. Investors thus far include England’s family, Liz and Brian Kelly, the Women’s Capital Connection and Mid-America Angels.
Rawxies CEO Callie England said that the capital allows the company to purchase new machinery at its Kansas City manufacturing facility and add new employees. England added that Rawxies is working to push the round to $1 million before it’s closed.
“This allows us to increase distribution on a greater level from New York to California,” she said. “It’s difficult, because it’s something I’ve never done before. … Up until this point I’ve always focused on the frontend of the business, so one of the biggest changes with this capacity change is really focusing on the backend of the company.”
A Jefferson City native, England said when she was 20-years-old she grew tired of taking a cocktail of medications for her health. Even with the medications, she still felt ill and eventually sought out the help of a naturopathic doctor, who put her on a plant-based, vegan diet.
Little did she know the dietary shift would transform into a new career path and business opportunity.
“Within two months, all my hormone levels were back to normal,” she said. “That’s really where my passion for veganism, and plant-based eating came in. From that, I created a blog where the idea was that I’d sell plant-based, vegan food mainstream. People thought I was crazy, so I had to use my design background to prove that it was just food and that it could be fun, bright and beautiful. That’s how I structured my blog and within two months I had a 100,000-person following.”
England eventually moved her company from Petaluma, Calif. to Kansas City in 2013. Now about two years after the move, she is determined to grow Rawxies with local backers — an objective that’s had many hurdles, she said.
“It’s been extremely challenging raising funds in the Midwest for a progressive food company,” she said. “It’s not the typical startup you see in Kansas City. We’re not tech and we’re not really anything that’s been done here. That makes it even more challenging because, for investors, it increases the risk for them.”
Despite challenges, England was determined to build Rawxies with local support.
“People thought I was crazy,” she said of finding local support. “But if I was going to move my company back from California, then you better believe that I’m going to put some pressure on Kansas City to invest in our company. … It would have been less challenging had I jumped to the coast, but that wasn’t the point of it. It’s all been Kansas City based.”
Rawxies now offers a variety of different flavors of vegan, soy- and gluten-free snacks and ships around the nation. Shaped as hearts, the low-sugar food bars are not heated above 105 degrees, preserving its natural enzymes to ease digestion.
Founded in 2012, Rawxies now has six employees, and hopes to employ up to 10 after it closes its round.