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Aspire Acquires Cricket Protein Bar Maker Exo

In September 2017 Aspire presented at Larta's Ag Innovation Showcase. They are now moving towards acquiring another bug protein company.

Read more about it from Alex Knapp on Forbes.com

By: Alex Knapp

Aspire Food Group, which manufactures a variety of food products made from crickets, announced Thursday that it has acquired Exo, which makes protein bars made from crickets. The acquisition is effective as of today. Interestingly, Aspire cofounders Mohammed Ashour and Shobhita Soor and Exo cofounders Greg Sewitz and Gabi Lewis were all members of Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2016. And it was that Under 30 connection that helped lead to the deal being made. "Greg and I first talked about this at the Under 30 Summit in Boston," Ashour told me. Under the terms of the acquisition. Exo will become the consumer brand for the Aspire Food Group. Aspire's current line of Aketta cricket food products will be re-branded as Exo products, and the company will maintain a separate structure. Exo's supply chain will change so that it will only be using Aspire's cricket protein. Exo cofounders Sewitz and Lewis will be assisting with the transition and then leaving the company to pursue other opportunities. "Aspire is the Procter & Gamble and Exo is the Gillette - on a much more humble scale right now," said Ashour. Insect protein is a small but growing market in the United States, and the market for it is expected to exceed $50 million within the next five years, according to a report from Global Market Insights. One part of the reason why the market is so small is the general reluctance of Americans to eat insects. However, Exo's success in making inroads to protein bar consumers is something that caught Aspire's eye. "Last year we developed Aketta in-house, but very honestly we’ve always had our eyes on Exo," said Ashour. "It is one of the most successful, if not the most successful, brands in the entire industry. Rather than try to re-invent the wheel, we wanted to have an honest and open dialogue and what we feel it takes to get there. There was such a great meeting of minds it very quickly evolved into Aspire acquiring Exo. The synergy and logic just make sense."

📅 2016, 2017

👤 Mohammed Ashour

💼Aspire Food Group

📍 Austin, Texas