America’s big biltong play has now raised nearly R1 billion to market ‘air dried meat’

Business Insider SA
Stryve's biltong pack
  • American company Stryve is determined to convince Americans to drop jerky in favour of biltong.
  • It has just closed another funding round, this one worth $35 million – the equivalent of R540 million – to support its growth.
  • The company is eyeing a second biltong factory in the USA, and expanding its distribution.
  • It is already on shelves at Costco, Walmart, and 7-Eleven stores.
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Stryve, the company that wants to teach Americans about the goodness of biltong, now has another half a billion rand behind its mission.

Now it wants to put biltong in more US stores, and possibly build another biltong factory on American soil.

Stryve this month closed a private share placement worth $35 million, the equivalent of R540 million, with institutional investors. It said the money would go towards marketing and sales and, "potentially" to "building or procuring other manufacturing facilities". 

The company has been floating the idea of another factory for some time, after opening a 4,800 square metre facility in Oklahoma in 2018.

It raised the equivalent of R140 million in 2018, and another R236 million in 2019, taking to nearly R1 billion the cash it has landed so far. 

Stryve's packaged biltong is already on shelves in the store chains Costco, Walmart, and 7-Eleven, and it says there are other outlets "on the horizon".

The company's share price has tanked since it listed on the Nasdaq in mid-2021, with celebrity endorsements, losing some 65% of its value since then.

But it continues to be bullish about the prospects of biltong in America, which it sells under that name – and citing its South African history liberally in its marketing – while stressing that its product is very much made in the USA.

Stryve describes biltong as an "air dried" snack, to differentiate it from American beef jerky, which is cooked and often contains sugar, for reasons that have never been adequately explained.

With a continuing preference for higher-protein foods, it has the ability to "disrupt traditional snacking" Stryve says.

In 2018 Stryve bought out, in quick succession, two American biltong companies created by South African immigrants, Biltong USA and Braaitime LLC, to take control of the market in that country. 

It now sells "biltong slabs" (differentiated from "biltong sticks", as it calls droëwors) at the equivalent of R1,350 per kg.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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