Proterra Asia invests in Chinese yoghurt brand Simple Love, SE Asian oat milk business

Photo: Sara Cervera / Unsplash

Proterra Investment Partners Asia, on Tuesday, announced the completion of two investments in the food sector. The PE firm invested undisclosed amounts in Simple Love (also known as Jian Ai), a premium fresh yoghurt brand in China, and a newly-established oat milk business in Singapore and Indonesia.

Proterra Investment Partners Asia is the Asian arm of the global food and agribusiness private equity fund manager Proterra Investment Partners.

“Our investments in Simple Love and the oat milk brand are aligned with our strategy to focus on the fastest-growing sub-sectors within the food sector in Asia. The region is forecasted to double its annual spend on food from $4 trillion in 2020 to $8 trillion by 2030,” Proterra Asia managing partner Tai Lin said.

Simple Love is a fast-growing fresh yoghurt brand in China, focusing on the premium low-temperature segment. The business has grown to become the sixth-largest in the segment in China with a 2% market share. Its sales have been growing at a compound annual growth rate of 109% over the past five years, based on the company’s sales data.

The product is being distributed in nearly all provinces across China. The company has also completed the construction of its new production facility in Hebei Province with 11 production lines and a total capacity of 500 metric tonnes per day.

Proterra Asia had recently participated in an 800 million yuan ($124 million) Series B round in Simple Love. Proterra Asia also facilitated the implementation of the company’s upstream raw milk supply strategy and will continue to assist through a seat on the board of the company’s upstream subsidiary, according to the statement.

Proterra Asia’s investment in the branded oat milk product comes as the plant-based milk sector is expanding rapidly in Asia and is forecast to become a $12.3 billion market by 2024, with oat milk the fastest-growing category. Proterra Asia is the lead investor in this company, which the team believes has the opportunity to become a major oat milk brand in Asia, alongside current global market leader Oatly. 

Proterra Asia operates out of Singapore, Shanghai, and Mumbai and manages a portfolio of over $1 billion.

The firm’s Asia food strategy involves investing across the entire food value chain in the region, with a particular focus on the fast-growing and high returns-oriented branded food sector.

In late October last year, San Francisco-based Eat Just had teamed up with Proterra Asia to develop a plant protein production facility in Singapore that will supply Just Egg — its vegan alternative to eggs — in Asia. Under the terms of the deal, a consortium led by Proterra will invest up to $100 million, while Eat Just will invest up to $20 million to build and operate its first Asia facility, which is also its largest.

Last month, Proterra Asia raised at least $35.7 million for its third Asia fund. DealStreetAsia reported in May 2019 that Proterra was seeking to raise at least $700 million for this third fund.

Proterra was carved out of US agribusiness giant Cargill’s unit Black River Asset Management in 2016. It previously launched two funds for Asia — a $700-million second food fund and a $460-million first fund. Its investment ticket sizes range between $30 million and $50 million with a focus on India, China, Indonesia, and some parts of Southeast Asia. Cargill remains one of Proterra’s long-time limited partners (LPs). Apart from food and agriculture, Proterra also invests in natural resource sectors like metals and mining.

The PE firm has also partnered with the global investment business, Fidante Partners, to provide access to European capital formation opportunities.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.