It hasn’t even been a full two weeks since Ali Partovi switched from an adviser role to chief strategy officer at Hampton Creek. However, the plant-based mayo startup has confirmed that Partovi is out. This leaves the company in a bit of a management pickle. In an odd move, Partovi switched from simply adviser to second in command to CEO and co-founder Josh Tetrick at the beginning of September.
The company has also been seeking new funding over the last few months. Hampton Creek is in the middle of raising a $50 million round with a $300 million valuation at the moment. This is right on the heels of a $23 million series B in February, bringing the total amount to $30 million thus far. Partovi, who was also an early investor in Facebook and Dropbox, had contributed to the latest round. Tetrick says no deal has been inked just yet but it is coming soon. We’ll keep you posted on that bit of news.
He also says Partovi will still stay on as an adviser to the company but that the role as chief strategy officer just wasn’t a fit. “He is an incredible person and we wish him the best,” Tetrick said on the phone, “We have lots of people who come through our doors and sometimes for whatever reason they just don’t work out, but we still think highly of him and hope he thinks the same of us.”
Both Hampton Creek and Partovi have declined to talk about the inner details of what happened. However, the WSJ reports that Partovi wrote an email to friends in which he says, “This will surely come as a surprise to you, and I’m sorry for waiting so many days to share the news… We parted ways with mutual respect. The people at Hampton Creek are incredible, and we’ll continue to wish each other well.”
Hampton Creek has been on somewhat of a hiring spree over the summer, bringing on a former Google data engineer to build out the world’s most thorough plant database, as well as several food scientists. Just Mayo products have made distribution inroads in Whole Foods, Walmart, Dollar Tree and various other places throughout the country this year and the company is close to releasing it’s eggless cookie dough product commercially within the month. It’s been busy working on a new office space in in downtown San Francisco as well. Partovi’s sudden departure seems odd at a time of such momentum for the company.