Mushroom Angel Co., LLC wins MSU Product Center’s 2024 Start Up to Watch Award

MSU Extension

MSU Product Center
W.E. and Dominque DaCruz of Mushroom Angel Company., LLC

Each year the Michigan State University Product Center recognizes an emerging client business who has demonstrated excellence, innovation, and growth within the last five years with the Start Up to Watch Award. This year’s business Start Up to Watch awardee, Mushroom Angel Company, has shown consistent success and growth in entrepreneurial and business development, annual sales, and established a strong business culture in Detroit, Michigan and the Midwest. The Mushroom Angel Co., owned and operated by W.E. and Dominque DaCruz, specializes in mushroom-based meat alternatives, made in small batches from the heart of Detroit, Michigan.

Over the past year, Mushroom Angel Company., LLC, has expanded its production and scaled their business into 72 locations across six states and will move into their own dedicated production facility. W.E. and Dominque launched their business during the pandemic and have overcome many challenges around distribution, processing, and packaging. They are experts at marketing their business through social media channels, trade shows, networking, and pitch events, taking home the top prize at the Michigan Good Food Fund pitch at the 2023 Making It In Michigan event.

Tim Boring, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development commented, “W.E. and Dominque exemplify Michigan’s entrepreneurial spirit. I was fortunate enough to have met them at last year’s show and have been following them since. They have quickly grown their business while managing their careers, raising a family, and overcoming barriers associated with starting a small business from scratch. I am thrilled to see them now honored with this award. They are a great example of how a packaged food business can scale by accessing the resources available to them throughout the state of Michigan.”  

When asked about receiving the award, W.E. commented, “We started the Mushroom Angel Company as an idea by creating our made-from-mushroom burger, Cruz Burger, in March 2020 when we stopped eating meat as part of a spiritual fast. The idea didn’t take form until we began working with the MSU Product Center in May 2020: registered it as a company, and acquired a food license. Little did we know at that time the challenges the pandemic would bring. Receiving information from our Product Center Innovation Counselor early in our business was critical in helping us avoid missteps in our business along the way. From producing samples in our home kitchen to manufacturing in our 1,800 sq. production facility in Eastern Market to supplying restaurants and stores across six states, finding the right people in our business has given us the support needed to grow and scale to where we are today.”

MSU Product Center

You can purchase Mushroom Angel Company, LLC products on their website at You can also find their products in the freezer section at many Michigan retail outlets, including Westborn Market and Meijer stores. For a complete list, visit:

Be sure to follow Mushroom Angel Co. on Facebook and Instagram.

To learn more about Mushroom Angel Company, LLC, be sure to watch this video produced by Michigan State University.

Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan State University Product Center assist entrepreneurs and businesses in developing products and services in the food and agriculture markets. Its team of experts consults with clients on a one-on-one basis, helping new entrepreneurs navigate from concept development to launch and beyond. The MSU Product Center also offers specialized services such as labeling, packaging, and nutritional analysis. If you are interested in business counseling from the MSU Product Center, please visit our website.

This story was originally published by MSUExtension.


About the MSU Innovation Center: 

The MSU Innovation Center is dedicated to fostering innovation, research commercialization, and entrepreneurial activities from the research and discovery happening across our campus every day. We act as the primary interface for researchers aiming to see their research applied to solving real-world problems and making the world a better place to live. We aim to empower faculty, researchers, and students within our community of scholars by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to bring their discoveries to the forefront. Through strategic collaborations with the private sector, we aim to amplify the impact of faculty research and drive economic growth while positively impacting society. We foster mutually beneficial, long-term relationships with the private sector through corporate-sponsored research collaborations, technology licensing discussions, and support for faculty entrepreneurs to support the establishment of startup companies.   

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