Zell Founders Fund Invests $100K in Ross Alum’s Plant-Based Jerky Company

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Trying to eat healthy on the go can be a challenge, especially for a vegan. A Ross alum and a fellow University of Michigan School of Public Health alum have come up with a tasty new snack option, which just attracted a $100,000 investment by the Zell Lurie Founders Fund.

Allyson Stewart, MBA ‘17, and Bridget Henley, MPH ‘17, started a new company called MINDWELL that specializes in producing high-protein, plant-based, vegan jerky products. They are gluten-free and contain no artificial flavors or ingredients.

MINDWELL products are currently available in the Midwest in Plum Market, Dollop Coffee, and in Chicago Equinox locations at Wellness Grub cafes. The company is growing rapidly and has plans to launch in a large regional grocery chain this fall.

"In addition to MINDWELL's impressive management team, the Founders Fund was drawn to this deal because of the growing market for healthy foods," said Wiles Kase, MBA '18, who co-led the Founders Fund due diligence team for this deal with Scott Collins, MBA '18. "MINDWELL's key differentiators — plant-based, high-protein, and convenient — are the drivers that are shaping many new food brands, and ones that legacy players in the space are trying to crack the code on. MINDWELL is making some really exciting progress, and we have every confidence that Allyson and Bridget will grow the company into a force to be reckoned with."

The Zell Lurie Founders Fund is a $10 million seed fund that seeks out extraordinary Michigan Ross students and recent alumni whose ventures need funding to move from idea to profitability, and is led by the students who represent the top talent from the Zell Lurie Institute’s other established student-led funds.

Learn more about the Zell Lurie Founders Fund