NEW YORK — Nuggs, a maker of plant-based chicken-style nuggets, has a new parent company and new funding, said Ben Pasternak, founder and chief executive officer. Rebranding as Simulate, the New York startup plans to expand into other plant-based alternatives, including Doggs, a hot dog-style product line debuting later this year.
Simulate has raised an additional $4.1 million in funding, bringing the total amount of capital invested in the company to $11 million. The new investment came from Lerer Hippeau and AgFunder, with participation from Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit; Walter Robb, former CEO of Whole Foods; and celebrity model Jasmine Tookes.
Simulate’s existing investors include McCain Foods, Rainfall Ventures, Maven Ventures and NOMO Ventures.
“We're pumped to launch new nutrition technologies over the next few months under our new parent company, Simulate,” Mr. Pasternak said. "Nuggs is just a taste of what the future holds, with new products around the corner."
New product development will be led by recently appointed chief technology officer Thierry Saint-Denis, who previously was senior director of research and innovation at Danone. Mr. Saint-Denis has spearheaded the development of new products worth more than $900 million in annual sales in North America and earned more than 14 patents in the fields of functional ingredients, enzyme and strained nutrition technology, food sweetening systems and probiotics.
“I'm beyond thrilled to join the Simulate team,” Mr. Saint-Denis said. “The food system is in need of a complete reinvention, and we think the best way to change it is to recreate the products we like, using and advancing what nature gave us with better technology.”
Simulate also is developing a spicy variety of Nuggs. The brand launched in the summer of 2019, four years after Mr. Pasternak gained international attention for becoming the youngest tech entrepreneur to receive funding from Silicon Valley at just 15 years old. His first company, a social media app called Monkey, was acquired in 2017.