Cottage Cheese Brand Good Culture Raises $64 Million With Help of ‘Superfan’ Kristen Bell

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Good Culture’s various products.
Courtesy of Good Culture

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Alternative dairy products have long been a darling of the food-conscious crowd, and one local startup is tapping the market for healthier cottage cheese—with the help of a notable celebrity backer.

On Wednesday, Irvine-based Good Culture announced a $64 million Series C funding round led by nutrition-focused investment firm Manna Tree. “Impact” investment firm SEMCAP also participated, as did actress Kristen Bell—she of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “The Good Place” fame, whom Good Culture described as a “superfan” of the brand.

Launched in 2015, Good Culture has emerged as traditional dairy products have increasingly lost market share to plant-based alternatives. Consumers who have stuck with dairy have also looked for healthier options like Skyr, an Icelandic yogurt that has gained in popularity recently.

Actress and Good Culture \u201csuperfan\u201d Kristen Bell invested in the cottage cheese startup's Series C funding round.Actress and Good Culture “superfan” Kristen Bell invested in the cottage cheese startup's Series C funding round.Courtesy of Good Culture/ Bell photo by Ricky Middlesworth

Good Culture operates in a cottage cheese market that it describes as “overlooked,” and offers an all-natural product free of stabilizers and preservatives. Co-founder and CEO Jesse Merrill became a cottage cheese convert after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2014; Merill says he cured himself of the gastrointestinal disease after overhauling his diet. The brand has also committed to supporting dairy farmers who are dedicated to environmental sustainability, as well as grass feeding and open pastures for their dairy cows.

Good Culture, which previously received funding from food conglomerate General Mills, now sells in over 10,000 grocery outlets, from national chains like Whole Foods to boutique organic groceries like Erewhon Market. The startup plans to use the funding to further expand its presence and product offerings.

“We are evolving from a cottage cheese and sour cream brand to a healing cultured foods company, and this new round of funding will help propel our efforts to create positive food system change,” Merrill said in a statement.

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LA Tech Week Day 5: Social Highlights
Evan Xie

L.A. Tech Week has brought venture capitalists, founders and entrepreneurs from around the world to the California coast. With so many tech nerds in one place, it's easy to laugh, joke and reminisce about the future of tech in SoCal.

Here's what people are saying about the fifth day of L.A. Tech Week on social:

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LA Tech Week: Six LA-Based Greentech Startups to Know

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College. Send tips or pitches to and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

LA Tech Week: Six LA-Based Greentech Startups to Know
Samson Amore

At Lowercarbon Capital’s LA Tech Week event Thursday, the synergy between the region’s aerospace industry and greentech startups was clear.

The event sponsored by Lowercarbon, Climate Draft (and the defunct Silicon Valley Bank’s Climate Technology & Sustainability team) brought together a handful of local startups in Hawthorne not far from LAX, and many of the companies shared DNA with arguably the region’s most famous tech resident: SpaceX.

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LA Tech ‘Moves’: LeaseLock, Visgenx, PlayVS and Pressed Juicery Gains New CEOs

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: LeaseLock, Visgenx, PlayVS and Pressed Juicery Gains New CEOs
LA Tech ‘Moves’:

“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis ( Please send job changes and personnel moves to


LeaseLock, a lease insurance and financial technology provider for the rental housing industry named Janine Steiner Jovanovic as chief executive officer. Prior to this role, Steiner Jovanovic served as the former EVP of Asset Optimization at RealPage.

Esports platform PlayVS hired EverFi co-founder and seasoned business leader Jon Chapman as the company’s chief executive officer.

Biotechnology company Visgenx appointed William Pedranti, J.D. as chief executive officer. Before joining, Mr. Pedranti was a partner with PENG Life Science Ventures.

Pressed Juicery, the leading cold-pressed juice and functional wellness brand welcomed Justin Nedelman as chief executive officer. His prior roles include chief real estate officer of FAT Brands Inc. and co-founder of Eureka! Restaurant Group.

Michael G. Vicari joined liquid biopsy company Nucleix as chief commercial officer. Vicari served as senior vice president of Sales at GRAIL, Inc.

Full-service performance marketing agency Allied Global Marketing promoted Erin Corbett to executive vice president of global partnership and marketing. Prior to joining Allied, Corbett's experience included senior marketing roles at Disney, Warner Bros. Studios, Harrah's Entertainment and Imagi Animation Studios.

Nuvve, a vehicle-to-grid technology company tapped student transportation and automotive sales and marketing executive David Bercik to lead the K-12 student transportation division.