Zuckerberg's Money Manager Iconiq Bets on U.S. Nutrition Firm

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. bone-broth protein maker Ancient Nutrition raised $103 million from investors including Silicon Valley venture firm Iconiq Capital, which invests on behalf of Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg and other tech billionaires.

VMG Partners led the investment with participation from Hillhouse Capital and more than 100 members of an investor network, according to a statement from Ancient Nutrition on Thursday.

The consumer-health company, founded in 2016, is tapping into rising consumer interest in nutritional supplements. Swiss giant Nestle SA in December agreed to pay $2.3 billion for Canadian dietary supplements maker Atrium Innovations and signaling its interest in expanding further into the health sector.

“Nestle’s acquisition strengthened our resolve on moving forward” with the fundraising, co-founder Jordan Rubin said in an interview. “If a large company with as much strength as Nestle could realize the value of dietary supplements, there is definitely a high demand factor here.”

Ancient Nutrition was set up by Rubin, proponent of the so-called Maker’s Diet based on the Bible, and Josh Axe, a physician who advocates natural medicine and runs the popular DrAxe.com website. The company plans to double its retail footprint in the U.S. by the end of 2019 and also expand into China and other parts of Asia, Axe said. Over the past year, it reported sales of $13.8 million, up 270 percent from a year ago.

After raising money from investors, a stock sale isn’t likely, Rubin said. “The likelihood of joining an established company is greater at this point than an initial public offering.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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