The Zell Lurie Founders Fund at the University of Michigan announced Wednesday morning that it has made a seed investment of $100,000 in Chicago-based Mindwell Snacks LLC, which makes and markets jerky made from plants.
The fund is led by students in the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. This investment was in a company founded by two entrepreneurs who got their master’s degrees from UM last year: Allyson Stewart, who got hers in business administration, and Bridget Henley, who got hers in public health.
Henley worked in the vegan culinary world in Chicago before going back to school, where she focused on nutrition science. She and Stewart decided to form a business making high-protein plant-based jerky with no artificial flavors or ingredients. In addition to the health benefits of replacing meat in the diet, the legumes from which their jerky is made create far fewer carbon emissions than protein from beef or lamb, they say.
The Mindwell jerky is available locally in Plum Markets. The company plans to launch in a large regional grocery chain this fall.