"Genuine and transparent, Akoya valued our employees and what I’d built. They knew what was important to me moving forward."

Deb Wycoff

A Conversation with Deb Wycoff, CEO of Devansoy

Post Date: 03/13/2023


  • Why Deb chose Akoya to grow Devansoy’s business
  • Why Deb believes Sector Leaders Joe Slawek and Don Kremin will influence Devansoy’s success

We met Deb Wycoff in March 2022 through her advisor, Lisa Kaufman of Dinan & Company. We felt that Devansoy’s organic plant-based ingredient manufacturing was ideally suited to meet the rising demand of non-dairy-based food products. We acquired Devansoy in September 2022.

Tell us about Devansoy.

Devansoy produces plant-based ingredients. Our business started with soy milk in 1992. In 2015, we knew we needed to diversify. From that time to the present, we expanded our ingredients to include liquid protein, protein powder and flours across soy, oats, and peas. With a move away from dairy, we’ve given people great alternatives.

What is your role at Devansoy?

I’m the CEO of Devansoy. I’d been with Devansoy 25 years when I took over full ownership from the company’s founder in 2016. My first role was in Administration.

What led you to seek a capital partner?

I wanted to continue our growth and expand our facility in Rock City (Illinois). We’d done a lot of stair-stepping. To take us to that next level, we needed additional capital and another partner. On the personal side, I was looking for an exit strategy in the next 3-5 years.

Why did you choose Akoya?

They were very genuine and transparent. They recognized — and valued — the amount of capital we’d already invested into the plant.

Their approach was more family centered than the other buyers we’d met. They valued our employees and what I’d built. Akoya knew what was important to me going forward.

They also brought in operating partners. That was key.

What role did the operating partners play in your decision?

Joe and Don (Akoya Sector Leaders) came from large food companies, so their experience was broader than mine. We took part in an offsite planning meeting with them before the deal was even done (but after the LOI was signed). They asked great questions, presented great ideas, and made us think outside of the box.

What are next steps for Devansoy?

Access to capital is a big strategy for us. With Akoya’s capital and partnership, we can increase capacity quicker than we would have done on our own. Expanded capacity goes hand-in-hand with expanded production and sales.

Last takeaways.

Always surround yourself with people who have the same core values as you. Akoya shares our values.