AUSTIN, TEXAS — Elite Sweets, a maker of high-protein donuts, has completed a $2 million seed funding round led by Siddhi Capital, with participation by Constellation Capital, Capital Factory, SputnikATX and angel investors in the consumer products industry.
Jimmy DeCicco, chief executive officer of Super Coffee, will join the board of Elite Sweets as an observer. Super Coffee’s Jake DeCicco and Jordan DeCicco and Nik Ingersoll of Barnana have been named advisers to the brand.
Founded in 2017, Elite Sweets offers a range of donuts formulated with almond flour, eggs, whey protein, fiber and sweeteners allulose and erythritol. Each individually packaged pastry packs 12 to 13 grams of protein and 1 or 2 grams of sugar, with 190 to 240 calories. Flavors include birthday cake, cinnamon sugar and chocolate.
Twin brothers Amin and Amir Bahari began developing the concept as University of Texas at Austin students with friends and former college football players Caleb Bluiett and Timothy Cole Jr. Adopting a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet helped the brothers shed significant amounts of weight during high school, but late-night cravings in college threatened to derail that hard-won progress. In an apartment kitchen, Amir Bahari created the initial recipes, which the team tested at area gyms, collecting feedback and iterating for months prior to recruiting a veteran food scientist to hone a market-ready product.
Elite Sweets has become the top-selling donut brand on Amazon.com, and the startup was selected as one of nine early-stage brands to participate in CoLab, a 12-week program led by Mondelez International’s SnackFutures unit, offering workshops, one-on-one mentorship and $20,000 grants.
The company plans to use the proceeds from the seed fundraising to expand its team and invest in marketing and product development. It has tapped Siddhi Operations, affiliated with Siddhi Capital, to scale the business.
“Siddhi Capital has a fundamental value desiring to be change makers in the way our country experiences food,” said Melissa Facchina, co-founder and general partner of Siddhi Capital. “We care about aligning with products that the mass market consumer understands and is looking for better alternatives to. When we met the Elite Sweets brothers, we knew that fundamentally donuts were an American pastime, and they had created a lower-carb alternative that wouldn’t be intimidating to the average consumer. Additionally, as both early-stage and growth investors, we look at ways to attach our in-house operating team to businesses to derisk and scale them with much greater speed. We knew immediately that our skill sets could help Elite get over some of its scaling challenges to get their products into more hands faster.”
Elite Sweets is focused on growing its brand online in the near term. The company is planning a reformulation to extend shelf life and reduce ingredient costs to be “retail ready in 2022.”