Back to the Roots Gains Venture-Capital Funding

The Oakland-based outfit that first gained fame with DIY mushroom-growing kits is debuting a dozen-plus products in 2019.


Image courtesy of Home Depot

Oakland-based organic food-and-gardening outfit Back to the Roots announced today that it has just raised $3 million in new series C funding — led by Central Garden & Pet, a major lawn/garden/pet company, joined by new investor Blue Scorpion investments. 

Founded in 2009 by then-UC Berkeley students Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora, Back to the Roots aims to "undo food" with organic cereals, DIY indoor gardening kits, and other products. 

Back to the Roots will use the capital to "fuel its growth" and has a dozen-plus new products lined up to launch in 2019, according to a press release.

"It's a really exciting time for the company," Arora said after the funding was announced. 

"What started off as a college project has grown into a national brand that's re-connecting millions of families back to where their food comes from. Our whole team is incredibly inspired by the opportunity to help every family and kid experience the magic of growing their own food. As we look to 2019 and beyond, we're excited to offer Back to the Roots in even more national retailers and make organic gardening accessible to all — no backyard or green thumb needed."

Last year, the brand formed a partnership with Ayesha Curry and increased its national retail footprint with a launch into Target stores. Its products — such as the Mushroom Grow Kit, Kitchen Herb Garden, and Windowsill Tomato Planter — are also sold at the Home Depot, Lowe's, Whole Foods Market, and other retailers.

"Food is so personal, and we're seeing this huge wave of interest from families wanting to interact and engage with food in new ways they haven't before – from knowing the story of each ingredient, to growing it themselves," said Velez. 

"We're going to help set up over a million new organic gardens in homes and classrooms this year and continue to reach kids through our #GrowOneGiveOne campaign, where Back to the Roots donates grow kits and STEM curriculum to US elementary-school classrooms."

Central Garden & Pet, meanwhile, "is continually looking for innovative and passionate companies to invest in and help take to the next level. Back to the Roots embraces the future of both of our segments," said CG&P's CEO George Roeth.

"We look forward to a great partnership and helping spread the mission of making organic gardening accessible to families everywhere."

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