What began as a side hustle baking bread at home has turned into a $4-million investment in London and another win for the city’s agri-food sector.
What began as a side hustle baking bread at home has turned into a $4-million investment in London and another win for the city’s agri-food sector.
Unbun Foods, a commercial bakery specializing in grain-free and gluten-free products, is opening a factory that will supply stores and restaurants in Canada and the U.S.
“We consider ourselves one of the most innovative bakeries in the world. Innovation is at our core and having our own facility allows us to innovate,” said owner Gus Klemos. “This opens up a beautiful situation for us. I want to have my own factory so I can control costs and quality.”
Unbun is renovating a plant on Stronach Crescent, near Fanshawe College, and will begin baking there by year’s end, he said. It now provides gluten-free products to Mr. Sub, Pizza Pizza and Burger’s Priest restaurants and sell its breads, buns and other baked goods in Metro and Sobeys, to name a few stores, he said.
Unbun has contract bakers in Mississauga, Ottawa and Texas baking for it now and the opening of the London operation will see work shifted here from its Ottawa supplier.
“It’s exciting. I love it. I feel like I’m the luckiest person in the world. We’re grain-free, gluten-free and focused on super clean ingredients. We want to make the healthiest baked products you can have.”
Klemos already has hired 23 workers as he prepares for production and will add more workers when baked goods start rolling off the line, he said.
In addition, another new commercial bakery is also on London’s horizon. Panela Bakery Factory recently closed a deal to buy 2.4 hectares of land on Innovation Drive and plans on opening a 2,800 square metre (30,000 sq. ft.) factory in two to four years, more than a $5-million investment, said managing director Matin Sanaat.
Panela makes protein bars and filled Middle Eastern cookies. It has a small factory in Mississauga and sells to grocery stores across the Toronto area, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver and is looking to grow into the U.S. market, specifically the Detroit and Chicago areas.
“There’s a better path for our business in London. London is a great hub for food production. There are a lot of companies here now,” he said.
Unbun and Panela join The Cakerie and Dr. Oetker as London baking businesses with a national reach.
Panela has been in business since 2015 and has seen steady sales growth, leading to the London investment. “We have grown year-over-year and we anticipate this growth and demand means we will need increased production,” said Sanaat.
These two new food industries underscore the city’s effective strategy to build its food sector, said Kapil Lakhotia, chief executive of the London Economic Development Corp.
“It’s another testament to the success of the food and beverage strategy. It has helped diversify our manufacturing base. These are big wins.”
For Kemos, building his own plant is a chance to invest in his hometown, where he attended Lucas secondary school and Western University.
“I’m a London native and this is an opportunity for me to come back and set up a factory. I have a lot of family here and it’s great to see them,” he said.
He also will be establishing a sales and marketing office in Austin, Texas in a move to grow U.S. sales.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Unbun sold much if its products to restaurants and chains in the U.S., but as they closed or saw sales slow, he quickly moved to sell to stores and found willing partners.
“Two-thirds of my business was restaurants and we had to pivot quickly. That business started to grow, we were fortunate to be in an area where we are able to grow. Now a lot of business is coming back.”
In 2017, Klemos was working for a technology company in Toronto and trying to lose weight, but didn’t want to cut out the bread products he loved. He began home baking as a way to make low-carb breads, and that lead him to create gluten-free as well. He liked his products so much he began baking and selling through a website he created.
He ended up quitting his day job and opening Unbun in 2018, working out of a commercial kitchen in Toronto after borrowing money to start the business.
“I was eating a lot of paleo products and nothing tasted good. There was nothing out there. I became obsessed with it,” said Klemos. “All of a sudden, orders started coining in.”
JAKARTA, Indonesia, Sept. 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Indonesia-based investment app, MAKMUR, has secured a seven-digit seed funding round, led by BEENEXT, with participation from Kinesys Group, Trihill Capital, and notable angel investors including Yiping Goh (Quest Ventures’ partner), Edward Tirtanata (Kopi Kenangan’s CEO), Vidit Agrawal (GajiGesa’s CEO), and Andrew Lee (former unicorn executive). MAKMUR will use the capital to expand its features and product portfolio, as well as to hire new talented individuals and people development.
MAKMUR is a technology-based investment app that allows users to set their financial goals and reach them through long term investing. Similar to Betterment in the U.S., it has goal-based investing feature so users can easily invest towards multiple goals, such as emergency fund, retirement fund, and children’s education fund with the ease of using just one app.
The app also provides a Robo Advisory feature that adapts to users’ risk tolerance, as well as investment horizon, and prevailing economic conditions. This proprietary dynamic asset allocation technology helps users invest optimally regardless of whether the market is bullish or bearish.
Financial advisory are often available only for high-net worth investors. However, MAKMUR digitizes and democratizes such services to be completely accessible and affordable for all Indonesian citizens.
Sander Parawira, founder and CEO of MAKMUR, pointed out, “Many people think that investing in mutual funds is difficult, in which they have to go through a complicated account opening process and prepare a large amount of capital. Supported by OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and face recognition technology, we offer an exceptional account opening experience that is simple and swift. It only takes five minutes to complete the account opening process, with an initial capital starting from IDR 10,000 (USD 0.70) and no transaction fee.”
Faiz Rahman, BEENEXT’s partner, added “We are witnessing a new revolution in Indonesia where mass market come to realize the importance of investing. MAKMUR enables retail investors to do prudent long-term investing to build wealth sustainably. We are very excited about MAKMUR and we look forward to having a long-term partnership with MAKMUR as we believe in their mission to make investing easier, cheaper, and more sustainable for Indonesians.”
MAKMUR App to help build a robust inclusive financial ecosystem in Indonesia
MAKMUR app is the brainchild of Sander Parawira, a Stanford University’s graduate, formerly the Head of Quantitative Strategies of Wall Street’ leading quantitative trading firm, Virtu Financial. Prior to Virtu, Sander was a Software Engineer at Facebook.
Sander built the app with the aim to improve financial literacy and inclusions among Indonesian citizens. “Indonesia’s capital market investor has experienced a significant growth, however, the number of investors today in Indonesia is still fewer than 2% of the population. Following the seed funding round, we are hoping to bridge the financial inclusion gap while improving financial literacy across the country.”
Ever since the company obtained official license from Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK) in February 2021, it has partnered with ten leading investment managers. They include Avrist Asset Management, Bahana TCW Investment Management, BNI Asset Management, Capital Asset Management, Eastspring Investment, FWD Asset Management, Principal Asset Management, RHB Asset Management, Syailendra Capital, and Trimegah Asset Management.
MAKMUR app is available on both Play Store and App Store for Android users and iOS users respectively. For further information, please visit https://www.makmur.id
MAKMUR is a start-up that provides technology-based investment app to help Indonesians plan their financial goals and invest for the long term easily, safely, and sustainably. All investment plans are designed by experienced investment professionals based on quantitative research and big data. MAKMUR is established by a former Head of Quantitative Strategies at Virtu Financial, a leading quantitative trading firm in Wall Street and an ex Facebook Software Engineer. The team has a cumulative 30 years experience in the investment and technology space in reputable companies such as IndoPremier, Traveloka, and IBM and are graduates from the best universities in the world such as Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Columbia University, and Purdue University.
BEENEXT is a Venture Capital fund managed by serial entrepreneurs that focuses on assisting founders with its operational experience, network, trust, unique perspectives, and the capital. The team invests in early-stage tech start-ups that are focused on building the new digital platforms driven by the data network. BEENEXT aims to establish a platform of founders, by the founders and for the founders across the globe, primarily in South East Asia, India and Japan. Since its establishment in 2015, the team has invested in over 200 companies globally.
SOURCE PT Inovasi Finansial Teknologi (MAKMUR)
Last year, we saw pro-pot lawmakers attempt to load up any and every COVID-19 aid bill with marijuana industry wish list items. Though none of those attempts proved successful, they are back at it again.
Last week, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) offered the SAFE Banking Act as an amendment to the annual military spending bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA. The NDAA is a must-enact defense spending bill that Congress has passed into law each year for 60 years in a row. Which renders Perlmutter’s move especially shady.
Outside of full, federal legalization, passing the SAFE Banking Act into law is the top priority of the marijuana industry. The bill would allow the industry access to the federal financial system, opening it up to take out loans, have FDIC-insured bank accounts and accept all major credit cards without having to resort to loopholes. But the real reason why this bill is so critically important to Big Pot is that it would finally allow pot companies access to institutional investment.
You see, there are currently billions of dollars sitting on the sidelines, waiting to be invested into the pot industry by major investment firms, hedge funds, pension systems and other major corporate interests. These interests, according to former House Speaker and pot advocate John Boehner, want to “dive head-first into cannabis.”
As it stands, the giants of Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol are deeply invested in the marijuana industry across our northern border in Canada. Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, invested $2 billion into Cronos, a Canadian weed company, while Constellation Brands, one of the largest alcohol conglomerates, pumped $245 million into another Canadian marijuana company, Canopy Growth.
But while these two giants of the addiction industry are unable to fully invest in American marijuana companies, their well-heeled lobbyists are working the halls of Congress, pushing for the SAFE Banking Act.
The most direct, immediate result of this bill would be billions of dollars in investment flowing into pot companies that can then be spent on research and development of new, highly potent products and new marketing campaigns that will further normalize marijuana use and result in more youths using the drug.
As an aside, don’t be fooled into thinking the pot industry is marketing the 5-percent-THC pot smoked in the 1960s and ’70s. Today’s marijuana regularly contains upwards of 30 percent THC — the main, psychoactive compound — in flower and 99 percent THC in concentrates such as dabs and vaping oils. This new, high-potency pot has been linked to a litany of serious mental-health issues, such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and psychosis.
The pot lobby has promulgated lie after lie to convince lawmakers to support this bill. They say they are forced to operate as a “cash-only” industry due to the lack of conventional banking access. This has repeatedly been shown to be false, as many marijuana dispensaries readily accept card payment. Furthermore, the pot lobby claims that its (false) status as “cash-only” makes dispensaries a prime target for robberies. While it’s true marijuana dispensaries are oftentimes robbed, many such robberies are not after cash that is locked away in a backroom safe, but the marijuana products on the shelves.
In short, the SAFE Banking Act is nothing more than the federal government signing off on corporate investment in the marijuana industry. And what’s worse, it could set the precedent for banking access to other industries that traffic in federally illegal substances. Former officials from the Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations have even warned this bill could grant cover for criminal cartels to engage in money laundering.
To the point at hand, marijuana-industry banking access has absolutely nothing to do with the funding of our military and other national-security operations; the inclusion of this amendment is just another example of the desperation of the marijuana industry. The American people should reject these shady tactics and put kids before the pot industry.
Kevin Sabet, a former three-time White House senior drug-policy adviser, is president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana and author of “Smokescreen: What the Marijuana Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know.”
(Bloomberg) — Ninja Van, a Singaporean logistics startup, is set to raise about $580 million from investors including Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., according to people familiar with the matter.
Some of Ninja Van’s existing investors will also participate in the series E round, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Those include B Capital Group, the venture capital firm set up by Facebook Inc. co-founder Eduardo Saverin and Raj Ganguly, a former executive at Bain Capital, and European parcel delivery company Geopost/DPDgroup, the people said.
The new funding round will help lift the company’s valuation to well beyond $1 billion ahead of a potential initial public offering as early as next year, the people said.
Venture capital firm Monk’s Hill Ventures and Zamrud, an existing investor linked to a Southeast Asian sovereign wealth fund, are also participating in the round, the people said. Ninja Van plans to use the funds to better its infrastructure and technology, as it seeks to be cost efficient while improving the quality of its operations.
Representatives for Alibaba, B Capital, Geopost, Monk’s Hill Ventures couldn’t immediately be reached for comment by phone or email outside of normal business hours. A Ninja Van representative couldn’t immediately comment.
Investors are betting on transportation, logistics and warehouse companies amid a boom in e-commerce, one of the beneficiaries of the coronavirus pandemic.
Founded in 2014, Ninja Van operates in six markets in Southeast Asia and delivers close to 2 million parcels a day in the region, according to its website. It raised $279 million in a series D round last year where participants included ride-hailing firm Grab Holdings Inc.
Ninja Van’s clients include PT Tokopedia, which has merged with ride-hailing giant Gojek to create GoTo, Indonesia’s most valuable startup, Alibaba’s Lazada Group and Shopee, a unit of Singapore-based Sea Ltd. The logistics startup also works with global consumer groups such as Unilever Plc and with smaller shops.
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