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ByHeart's Mia Funt on the launch of its next-generation infant formula,raising $190 million in funding and the future of baby nutrition | MyBaby My Star

Mia Funt, co-founder of ByHeart – the first new baby food company to receive an award in 15 years … [+] FDA registration

By rote

Mia Funt founded ByHeart five years ago, a year after giving birth to her first daughter, Neve. She, like so many parents, approached both breastfeeding and bottle feeding Neve with uncertainty (how to do it, when to do it, when not to do it, etc.). With the formula, the options were confusing and the diet unclear. She ended up feeling like she was compromising every time she couldn’t breastfeed. “I had ALL these questions when I stood in front of a shelf of baby food and I couldn’t find one that I was confident feeding my baby,” she begins her story.

Ron Belldegrun (co-founder and brother of Funt) has been in the health and nutrition category for over a decade – he knew many of the key opinion leaders and understood how to translate their groundbreaking research into better nutrition for babies. He talked about how the infant formula category had been dominated for decades by three big companies, and while those companies did a lot to keep up with certain ingredients or benefits, infant formula needed a complete upgrade: the recipe was outdated – nutritional science and breast milk research were moving much faster than the industry.

Statista estimated the value of the baby food market worldwide at approximately US$67.3 billion in 2019, which is expected to grow to US$96.3 billion by 2027. So Funt and her brother founded ByHeart with a very ambitious goal: to do better for babies and their parents by transforming baby feeding with products that parents can feed with confidence.

“We knew that to do this we had to be really innovative: we had to build from the ground up – because that was the only way to make a meaningful impact and drive change. We have vowed to question the past and keep asking “why”. in an effort to do better.”

According to this, the value of the baby food market worldwide is expected to increase to 96.3 billion US dollars by 2027 … [+] for research by Statista


She and her team were inspired by parents who needed more, and were driven and energized by their own team, scientific advisory board and board of directors – all committed to walking the hard road of developing infant nutrition products. “We’re the first new infant formula brand in the United States to demonstrate our closeness to human milk in our own nationwide clinical study, so parents can see for themselves why this formula gives their babies the foundation for strong, healthy lives,” adds Funt added.

The first new manufacturer to be registered with the FDA in over 15 years

Feeding your baby is the first and most important decision we make as parents. All parents deserve confidence in their nutritional choices, no matter what they are, and that confidence comes from knowing you’re not compromising on baby benefits or clean, wholesome ingredients.

So many parents are faced with making decisions about how to feed their babies and are filled with guilt and compromise – more than half of parents surveyed by ByHeart in 2021 felt that the existing formula on the shelf compelled them to take advantage of one preferable to others. 60% of parents surveyed said they did not understand the formula ingredients well.

“The overwhelming majority – 84%! – of parents said they wanted a formula closest to breast milk; that has all the benefits and clean ingredients just like nature’s gold standard. That feedback was our starting point as we rewrote the recipe as the first new infant formula brand in decades,” explains Funt.

ByHeart’s formula is made without any of the stuff found in most “easy to digest” formulas on the shelf – namely no corn syrup, no maltodextrin, no palm oil and no soy. Funt and her team spent five years collaborating with leading experts in human milk research to develop their infant formula to contain a patented protein blend that most closely resembles human milk, making it the only infant formula in the US that is organic, grass-fed whole milk contains milk (unlike skim milk used by most other formulas).

By creating his recipe from scratch, ByHeart was able to increase lactoferrin and breast milk levels of alpha-lactalbumin (the two most abundant proteins ​​in breast milk) as well as broken down proteins ​​and a ratio of whey Including casein from 80:20 as closely as possible reflects colostrum or early breast milk. This patented protein blend was then tested in ByHeart’s clinical trial, the largest conducted by a new infant formula supplier in over 25 years, and has shown significant results including easier digestion, less spitting up, more efficient weight gain and brain growth. Designed to meet and exceed FDA’s stringent requirements, their study included a breastfed reference arm, a significant and optional addition to the study that demonstrates the benefits of ByHeart for the baby.

ByHeart’s formula is made without the ingredients found in most “easy to digest” formulas on the shelf – … [+] namely no corn syrup, no maltodextrin, no palm oil and no soy


“We also acquired our own manufacturing facility, sourced all ingredients and applied strict quality standards from farm to formula. We’ve seen that the more you control the process, the more control you have over the quality of the product. I’m proud that we kept our promise – no shortcuts and no compromises.”

ByHeart’s commitment to sourcing and manufacturing quality standards that far exceed industry norms has enabled the brand to become the first infant formula in the United States to receive Clean Label certification, as well as the highest level – their Purity Award Has.

“CLP has screened our formulation for 400 contaminants, including pesticides and heavy metals, but our internal quality program actually screens for over 700 – we believe it is more important than ever to continue to develop industry standards to produce products that maintain quality at every step of our process . from farm to formula,” describes Funt.

The market for innovative baby food is needed

ByHeart has raised a whopping $190 million to date, which Funt says is a testament to the fundamental importance of improving baby nutrition.

The company closed its Series A funding in 2020 and then a $90 million Series B funding in July 2021 and was led by D1 Capital Partners (a $30 billion global investment firm whose private investments include the Sweetgreen, Stripe, and Instacart category disruptors, among others). with continued participation from OCV, Polaris Partners, Bellco Capital, Two River and Red Sea Ventures – all of which also invested in ByHeart’s Series A.

Funt admits she’s proud that her group of investors not only represents those disrupting the food industry and experts in life science product development and digital growth and services, but is also made up of groups that together create a… Provide a variety of perspectives. “The Gaingels have been an incredible part of the ByHeart family since investing in our B Series, and AF Ventures continues to work to advance the food sector towards stronger, cleaner and more impactful nutritional solutions. We are so lucky to have them both in our corner.”

A mission driven company

Mia Funt with her brother and co-founder Ron Belldegrun


Last June, ByHeart launched Cluster – a unique peer-powered platform for nutrition and feeding support, because they wanted to give parents access to events, tips and advice from professionals and parents alike, as well as free consultations with a range of experts to, according to Funt, ” to ensure that we are with them in the moments when they need us most and that they have the support they need to make the right decisions for their families.” By working with a team of leading nutritionists, pediatricians and practitioners, ByHeart makes these resources available to all parents in as many places and in as many ways as possible.

Parents are an integral part of ByHeart’s product innovation – simply because they know their baby’s needs and weaknesses. In the coming months, the company will work to support parents in a variety of ways, from rolling out impact programs that give more parents access to nutrition and nutrition education, to providing more visibility into ByHeart’s nutrition and data to help Parents can make the best decisions for their families, no matter what their diet.

“The pandemic has shown us all more than ever the importance of proactive health – nowhere is this more important than during a baby’s first year of life. We will only truly fulfill our mission if we can offer more families in all walks of life access to food, education and care. We are therefore very excited to benefit from our direct conversations with our parents to learn how best to support, serve and innovate for them,” concludes Funt.


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