Shares of Laird Superfood ($LSF) jumped during the company's public debut on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday.
The company announced it would be offering 2.65 million shares at $22, but the entry point rose at the open to $33.55 per share and ultimately closed at $40.80 per share
Big-wave surfers Laird Hamilton and Paul Hodge Jr. started the company to bring plant-based options to the energy and performance supplement market. Their signature "Superfood Creamers" are crafted to give a fat-based boost to coffee drinks without using animal products.
The company has since expanded into coffee beans, performance mushrooms, and "Instafuel," which are powdery blends that can be added to hot water or coffee.
In the private market, the founders were encouraged to focus on one product and eventually seek out a merger or acquisition, Hodge told Cheddar.
But the founders had a more ambitious vision for the Oregon-based startup.
"For us, we're really building this for the long-term," Hodge said. "We anticipate being on many aisles of the grocery store with a lot of different products."
The public markets seemed like a better route to "bring this idea to fruition," Hamilton added.
Plant-based competitor Beyond Meat ($BYND) chose a similar path. The industry leader went public on May 2 and has since seen its stock price more than double to $150 per share.
Hodge touts the company's "omni-channel" approach, which started online but has since worked with retail partners to expand its physical footprint.
Laird Superfood's products are currently available in 5,500 stores, including Whole Foods, though COVID has driven many customers online to buy products directly.
The goal moving forward is to maintain the company's authenticity and commitment to healthy plant-based products, while also offering them at mass-market prices.
"That's quite frankly why we're going public so that we can be in control of our own destiny," Hodge said.