Porter Road announced it has raised a $10 million Series A round of funding in order to expand its butcher, processing and direct-to-consumer operations. The investment was led by L37 Ventures, a private equity firm with offices in Nashville, Houston and Silicon Valley, and will go to scale the company’s provider and processing operations.
“It’s easy to back founders who are as comfortable on the manufacturing line as they are in the boardroom, and who see the world differently and have the deep domain expertise to execute on that vision,” L37 Partner Randall Ussery said. “They have spent years perfecting the Porter Road way, which no company nor incumbent can replicate overnight. They are a category killer in the meat industry and have built a moat around their brand.”
Part of the funds will go toward a new 28,000-square-foot processing facility in Princeton, Kentucky, northwest of Clarksville. Founder Chris Carter said the success of the company’s internet operation has his team working at the limits of its current 6,000-square-foot plant, also in Princeton. With the expansion, Carter said that Porter Road will add about 80 jobs.
Joining L37 in the funding round are new investors including Kenneth and Amy Adams, Bryan Frist, Steve Proctor, Tim Stafford, Gray Palmer, Kelvin Beachum, Bozavida Ventures, River Park Ventures, Middleland and FJ Labs. Existing investors also joined the round included MAX Ventures, Tribeca Venture Partners and Slow Ventures.
Launched in 2011 in a converted gas station on Gallatin Pike in East Nashville, Porter Road was the area’s first whole-animal butcher and built a rabid following due to the quality of its meat. Carter and co-founder James Peisker added the current USDA processing facility in 2015 and went online at porterroad.com in 2018. Both former chefs, Carter and Peisker saw an opening for a company that focused on meat raised in humane, non-industrial settings.
“The food system is broken and in need of a substantial change. Today’s consumer is demanding a deeper level of connection to their food and can see past misleading labels and buzzwords,” Carter said. “We are delivering trust, transparency, and flavor so no one has to compromise, all while supporting our farmers.”
That ethic is what attracted Ussery and L37.
“It’s when you spend time on the butcher line and speak to the employees, you get to witness first hand what a great company Porter Road is,” Ussery said. “They have built a values-based company that has resonated equally with employees and consumers.”