Crickets are packed with protein, have twice the amount of iron as spinach and produce 100-times less greenhouse gases than cows. According to a United Nations report, they also need less significantly less land and water to grow and harvest, which is probably why a ton of people around the globe eat insects regularly.
Getting hungry, America? Nasir “Nas” Jones sure hopes so, after joining an investment round for a startup that creates energy bars with cricket flour. Exo, which is based in Brooklyn, announced Monday that it closed a $4 million Series A funding round from investors including AccelFoods, the Collaborative Fund, and the Queens rapper.
Exo currently sells its line of cricket-y protein and savory bars online and at Whole Foods and Legman’s. On its website, the company sells t-shirts that proclaim, “Crickets Are the Gateway Bug” and “Crickets Are the New Kale.”
“In the long term, we envision cricket powder being competitive with soy, and whey, and any other protein source,” Exo co-founder Greg Sewitz told Bloomberg. “That starts with introducing cricket protein to a consumer base with no direct experience with it and a lot of preconceived ideas that were negative.”
This is just the latest in a long line of investments for the rap icon. Nas and his manager Anthony Saleh co-founded QueensBridge Venture Partners in 2012, with a focus on tech. Based in Los Angeles, QueensBridge has invested in more than 40 startups across tech, transportation and entertainment, including Lyft, Dropbox, Parachute, Shift and BitFury. Last year, Nas teamed up with NYC chicken and waffle joint Sweet Chick to help raise the brand’s national profile.