Hawaii-born Holey Grail Donuts, known for its sustainably-sourced taro donuts, raised $9 million in financing to date, including a recent Series A. This financing round will help to support the brand’s expansion to the mainland as it makes its debut in Los Angeles this year.
Holey Grail Donuts began as a “Sunday Ritual” serving up hand-fried taro donuts from a little red burger trailer in Kauai. This ritual quickly developed a cult following which led to hour-long waits, live DJs, and people lining up at 6:30 a.m. to get a taste.
With a passion for sustainable agriculture and culinary innovation, siblings Nile and Hana Dreiling developed a donut that captures the essence of their surroundings in Kauai, gaining the attention of the local community and travelers alike. To this day, the same red burger trailer remains a symbol of the intoxicating movement created in 2018. The movement continues to grow with an uncompromising philosophy honoring the original product and experience.
Holey Grail Donuts is a culinary crusade celebrating community in a made-to-order, taro donut experience. The company is focused on building a movement of sustainable indulgence by incorporating local agriculture, using real ingredients, and considering the ecological impact of all decisions. By breaking donuts together and sharing the bounty, Holey Grail Donuts provides a gathering place that celebrates communal connection. Founded with a deep commitment to people, the company aims to celebrate artists, support local growers, and participate in community enrichment. The Holey Grail Donuts team seeks to grow this movement internationally with a strict no-compromise philosophy in regards to the original product, sourcing, and experience.
The company currently operates shops in Hanalei and Honolulu, in addition to a popular food truck in Waikiki. In 2022, Holey Grail Donuts makes its debut on the mainland as it opens two locations in Los Angeles (Santa Monica and Larchmont), in addition to a roaming food truck based at The Platform (Culver City). “Breaking Bread” flavor collaborations with notable chefs and personalities will enliven the company’s California debut, bringing people together to create masterful flavors and conversation.
Holey Grail Donuts’ Series A round was co-led by Craig Shapiro at Collaborative Fund and Lee Fixel. The company’s seed round was led by Tony Conrad at True Ventures, which has backed consumer food brands sweetgreen, Blue Bottle Coffee, and more. Additional investors include Tony Hawk, James Freeman (Blue Bottle), Ligaya Tichy (Yelp, Airbnb) Christopher Kostow (Michelin Star Chef), Hass Hassan (Whole Foods), Stephan Jenkins (Third Eye Blind), Yves Behar (Designer, Fuseproject), and Matt Mullenweg (WordPress) among others. Additionally, Holey Grail Donuts is advised by a diverse board with deep industry knowledge and expertise that includes True Ventures’ Conrad (who is also an angel investor in beloved restaurants like flour+water and Saltwater Oyster Depot), Amy Errett (founding CEO of beauty brand Madison Reed), Jon Gray (CEO and co-founder of Bronx-based food collective Ghetto Gastro), Bryan Meehan (executive chair at Blue Bottle Coffee) Craig Shapiro (founder and managing partner at Collaborative Fund), and Saki Igawa (former chief brand officer at Blue Bottle Coffee).
“There’s a thrilling enthusiasm building around Holey Grail Donuts that reminds us of some of the other prolific food and beverage brands of our time,” said Conrad, partner at True Ventures. “At the same time, Holey Grail Donuts is humbly unique in its approach to food and commitment to sustainable, plant-based ingredients while focusing intently on what customers care about most: taste. Nile and Hana are creating something really special.”
Holey Grail’s Sustainable Taro-Based Donuts:
Holey Grail Donuts are made with taro — the ancient superfood revered for its nutritional, medicinal, and ecological benefits — and are fried in organic, fair trade coconut oil. Flavors are ever-changing (60 and counting!) with a spotlight on the best Hawaii-grown ingredients. Local favorites include options like: L&L (lemon zest-infused sugar, lime curd, finger lime caviar, and begonia petals); Hail Mary (cardamom and rose petals); North Shore (Kauai-grown turmeric, tangelo, and freshly cracked black pepper); and Lydgate Farms (vanilla bean, single-origin cacao nibs, cherry). Sourcing is a top priority for the Holey Grail Donuts team, and while they are still committed to showcasing Hawaiian ingredients, they are not compromising on sourcing ethics as they expand. The team is building out a new supply chain for its California expansion, which includes local farmers to source produce, in addition to maintaining its relationships with Hawaiian growers of taro, coconut oil, and cacao.