Goliath Funds David: A look into the growing Corporate VC activity across the foodtech industry

Goliath Funds David: A look into the growing Corporate VC activity across the foodtech industry

By
Sam Panzer
May 31, 2021
Ads-Newsletter-2021-BIV

What if Goliath had simply cut David a check?

Well it’s happening. With a massive rise in investment from Corporate venture capital (CVCs) into FoodTech startups, this week we’re zooming in on the Corporate VC activity across the industry: why it’s increasing, who’s active, and what it all means for FoodTech founders.

From Snacking multinational PepsiCo x Plant-based pioneer Beyond Meat. Dairy giant Müller x dairy-free Yofix. Meat producer Tyson x cultured meat producer Future Meat Technologies. Odd couples are all around us, and today we’re playing Cupid 🏹

It’s not just companies hedging their bets against their existing business. Take Kraft Heinz’s $29M investment in a cannabis software startup. That’s not for a pot-infused Magic Ketchup (...sign us up for that, though), but it's because big corporations have industrial expertise and heaps of capital to put to action.

Likewise, it’s not just Big Food in food CVC (i.e. see Swedish media giant Bonnier backing Infarm’s €170M round last year).

CVC investment is a often a darn good deal for everybody involved. Startups get capital and clout. Corporates get a cut of the action. Consumers get a wider range of sustainable and nutritious products at competitive prices. Win, win, win.

An overview of the active CVC investments. Data from Crunchbase & FoodHack Database.

📈 Key figures:

  • CVC activity increased 4.4x in 2020, rising from 66 deals with $770M capital committed in 2019, to a massive 107 deals at $3.2B, according to Finistere Ventures data.
  • Recent CVC growth is part of a longer-term trend: since 2010, the CAGR for CVC participation has been 152%.
  • M&A deals are on the decline, down 33% since peaking in 2015. After a brief rebound in 2019, last year saw a 10-year low of 2,160 CPG & retail deals, per Deloitte.
  • Despite massive growth, CVC activity still made up just 8% of the total 2020 European FoodTech investment. That share is likely to grow in 2021.

🤷‍♂️ Why: Challenges in Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)

A big part of the CVC story is the decline in M&A. With M&A down, corporations look more towards partnerships and investments. Here’s why mergers keep slowing down:

💸 Startup Valuations are higher than ever. VC money & tech breakthroughs have tremendously increased the average valuation of a FoodTech company, meaning acquisitions are more costly than ever.

🔌 Integration is hard. Gone are the days of buying a small CPG product and easily ramping up production. The brightest CPGs and companies in FoodTech use proprietary fermentation methods, molecules and extraction techniques. Making integrating and scaling a new acquisition internally, incredibly difficult.

📉 The keg’s all tapped. After the longest bull market in history and a hot M&A market earlier in the decade, there’s simply less out there to acquire. M&A are usually either scale (building market share or buying up competitors) or scope (new regions, products, or industries). Scale M&A is especially on the decline, making up just 44% of 2019 M&A, down from 71% in 2016.

Make no mistake: M&A lives on, with plenty of examples like Dr. Oetker’s €1B acquisition of drink delivery startup Flaschenpost last November or Barilla’s pickup of Pasta Evangelists for a rumored £40M. But the pressures on M&A keep increasing, driving more interest towards CVCs.

FG-2020-Consumer-and-Retail-M&A-Report-01

💡 Why: Opportunities in CVC

In addition to a “push” away from M&A, there’s a “pull” towards CVC. Here’s what gets CVCs excited about the space:

💰 Financial Returns: many CVCs make traditional, equity investments into startups, anticipating returns when the company is acquired or listed (or when they can sell their shares to another party).

🧠  Strategic Return: some CVCs also invest for non-financial strategic benefits, like understanding consumer patterns, learning to innovate with more agility, or funding products and technologies that will serve their business (i.e. Cargill investing in animal feed & health monitoring startups).

😇 Good Will: no big corporate has a spotless public image. Investing in sustainable startups is a great (if expensive) way to boost that image by showing real commitment to building a better food system.

🤷‍♂️ What’s in it for the founder?

All of the above translates back to the startup as well. Big checks to scale up. A great network of industry leaders to assist. Distribution power like never before. And recognition that the startup is really on to something. Nothing says “we’re serious!” like a round from Nestlé.

Screenshot 2021-05-31 at 11.49.39
We've gathered a list 30+ active investors in foodtech here

👀 Who: CPG Corporate VCs

  • General Mills’ 301 Inc offers direct equity investments, with 17 to date including Beyond Meat, GoodBelly, and D’s Naturals.
  • Barilla’s Blu 1887 has mostly invested in pasta-related businesses like 3D pasta printer BluRhapsody or fresh pasta recipe box Pasta Evangelists (which Barilla later acquired in January). They’ve recently gone further afield with investment in alt-meat platform Planetarians.
  • Danone Manifesto Ventures is invested in 18+ health- and sustainability-focused brands primarily in France and the US, including Farmer's Fridge, Harmless Harvest, Agricool, and Hungry Harvest.
  • Rich Products Ventures is the venture arm of Rich Products, with over 2,000 products sold globally under other brand names. Recent investments include Thistle (Series B), MycoTechnology (Series D), and Tovala (Series B).
  • Hershey’s C7 Ventures is the investment and acquisition arm of the chocolate giant, with investment in nutrition bar firm Fulfil or cacao-as-superfood shop Blue Stripes. Last week, C7 acquired Lily’s, a low-sugar chocolate brand.
  • Chipotle Aluminaries is the chain’s accelerator focused on next-generation sustainable farming companies and has already helped 19 companies to date.
  • Chobani Incubator is similarly focused on impact-driven startups, providing an accelerator program in addition to an equity-free grant.
  • PINC is the incubator of Paulig Group. The Finnish CPG group is focused on Nordic brands and looking for plant-based foods, alt-proteins, sales platforms, waste and upcycling, and personalised nutrition.
  • Kellogg’s Eighteen94 is a $100M fund taking minority stakes for both financial returns and strategic benefits. Success stories include Kuli Kuli and MycoTechnology.
  • Lotus Bakeries’ FF2032 Fund has placed minority investments in better-for-you snack startups Oot Granola, Love, Corn, and Peter’s Yard on behalf of the Belgian biscuit behemoth.
  • Nestle’s Inventages’ 37 investments have been in ambitious life science and nutrition startups, serving as lead investor in $10M+ rounds from Series A-D.
  • Katjes’ Katjesgreenfood is focuses on vegan, vegetarian, low-gluten brands like vegan range Veganz, açai bowl brand The Rainforest Company, Wild Friends nut butters, and plant-based pet foods from VegDog.
  • Mondelez’s SnackFutures is both inventing new brands and investing on behalf of Oreo and Cadbury’s parent. They’ve also formed CoLab, an accelerator for early-stage startups including a $20,000 grant.
  • Tyson Ventures has placed 20+ investments focused on alt-proteins and sustainable nutrition. Investments include Beyond Meat, Upside Foods (formerly Memphis Meats), and MycoTechnology. They also invested this month into Rejoicy, an easy e-commerce platform for local merchants.
  • Unilever Ventures participates mostly in Series B rounds for rapid-growth brands. Their 100+ investments include Instacart with multiple successful exits via investments Milkbasket, Vix, Froosh, and Yummly.
  • Coca-Cola’s VEB (venture & emerging brands) is invested into brands like Health-Ade kombucha or Bringg last-mile logistics, with a focus on investing into majority stakes for emerging brands.
  • Savola Group invests on behalf of the Saudi oil, sugar, dairy, and restaurant conglomerate. Initial investments include investing in last-mile logistics platform Lyve and online grocery platform Pandaclick.
  • Kraft Heinz’s Evolv Ventures is a $100M fund with 8 investments to-date investing across the food value chain, including autonomous checkout platform Zippin, farm-to-table delivery service GrubMarket, and cannabis dispensary platform flowhub.
  • Delivery Hero’s new DX Ventures is independently investing an initial €50M in early-stage startups, focusing on upstream logistics and AI platforms.
  • Döhler Ventures is the ingredient titan’s venture arm, investing in the likes of Startchy (edible coating for perishables), Lyre’s Spirit Co (non-alcoholic spirits), and ahead (DTC performance nutrition).
  • Dr. Oetker’s be8 Venture’s portfolio is focusing on sustainable ingredients, supply chain solutions, food delivery, and packaging. The multinational food processor is just getting started, backing Bluu BIoscience (cultivated seafood).

Together with Big Idea Ventures

Speaking of Big Food getting in on the future of food..


Big Idea Ventures
is backed by some of the leading names in the industry, including Temasek, Buhler, Givaudan, Bel Group, Tyson, and many more.

Apply to their accelerator today if you’re an early-stage startup developing innovative plant or cell-based foods, ingredients, and technologies seeking operational capital and mentorship to scale quickly. Deadline: 1st June


👀 Who: Agtech Corporate VCs

  • Cargill Ventures is a newly-centralized investment team, channeling investment directly from Cargill business units into startups in their space. They monitor the biggest problems facing the industry and invest in early-stage startups (typically equity investments). Investments include digitization, computer vision, and animal nutrition.
  • FMC Ventures, the venture arm of FMC (best known for insecticides), invests in emerging agritech. Investments include soil DNA sequencing platform Trace Genomics and pheromones-as-pest-control startup BioPhero.
  • BASF Venture Capital invests on behalf of the world’s largest chemical producer. Focusing on Series A rounds between $1M-$5M from an “evergreen” round of $250M. All returns are put back in the fund. Their 30+ investments include packaging, energy, bioplastics, and agtech startups like Hummingbird (remote sensing + AI for ag) or ecoRobotix AG (ag robotics).
  • Leaps by Bayer has chalked up almost 40 investments since 2015, including 17 in agtech. Recent investments include a vertical takeoff & landing system for ag drones (Guardian Agriculture). With most investments sitting between agtech and health sciences.
  • Syngenta Ventures has 26 investments and 3 exits across company stages. Investment areas include agri-fintech like Tarfin (price monitoring & credit platform), data platforms like Phytech (plant data monitoring), as well as products like BlueNalu cell-based seafood.
  • ADM Ventures provides equity investment and expert guidance to their portfolio companies, including Air Protein (air-based meat – yes, air-based meat), Geltor (biodesigned proteins), and Future Meat (cultured meat).
Animated GIF-downsized_large (6)
View the list of 30+ active investors in foodtech here

❌ Challenges:

There is some tension in working with the big players. CVC guidance and assistance can be transformative for a startup, but there’s still a risk the corporation will enter the startup’s space as a competitor.

It’s unlikely, but founders should absolutely seek legal counsel when considering CVC investment to protect their IP and understand the risks. Trust, but lawyer up.

Likewise, founders should recognize that any strategic benefits of CVC investment are subject to change. Anything that hurts the startup will hurt the CVC’s returns, but the corporation will have competing (and ever-changing!) priorities.

CVC investment will often be a clear win-win that outweighs the risks. But founders should still recognize that CVCs are a horse of a different color, and proceed with caution. And remember: CVC is still < 10% of all food & agtech VC activity, and it’s currently a founder’s market with plenty of funding avenues open in other channels

🔮 Predictions:

We know our current food system is broken. We need system change from all angles: startups, industry, government, and consumers. So we love to see big food & big ag investing in positive change.

Here’s how we see this unfolding in the coming years:

🚜 Agtech CVC will be especially hot. Agtech innovation requires huge R&D. One agtech company (no matter how massive) can’t do everything themselves. Early-stage investment will continue to grow as a key strategic channel for Big Ag.

🏅 Early winners will generate serious FOMO, further fueling CVC growth. We’re in the early days of foodtech CVC and it takes years to generate returns. But we’ll read more and more stories of early CVC investments paying off big.

↩️ The M&A decline may reverse in a market downturn if startup valuations crash. But even if M&A comes back into vogue, we don’t see CVC activity declining much.

💶 CVCs must offer unique advantages to stay relevant. As we explored last week, ‘specialty’ VCs are making serious investment across stage and industry. And these specialty VCs offer many of the competitive advantages of CVCs (in-house expertise, industry relationships). CVCs must be compelling in both its term sheet and services, or focus on seed rounds on disruptive tech in their field.

🐄 Synergy between Corporate + Startup will drive big wins. Example: an animal feed startup partnering with a livestock giant would have an unprecedented opportunity to scale their operations.

🔁 Long-play CVCs will fuel system change. While some VCs expect quick returns (say, 5 years), many CVCs are backed by massive companies with a 100-year outlook. That means a CVC could invest in a moonshot startup that needs years of R&D. This opens up a meaningful funding channel for long-play startups, especially in agtech.

Sharks and minnows swimming together might feel a bit odd at first. But it’s a key way that big food companies will improve their sustainability outlook while growing their bottom line.

Change from within, without, wherever: count us in.

Disclaimer: Our database numbers are based on public information on CVC websites and Crunchbase, but we know that isn’t the whole story  — if you have more accurate figures for us, reply to the email and we’ll update.

FoodHack Database

Become a member

to get unlimited access

  • Weekly Trend Reports | Access 60+ Reports
  • Startups & Investors Database | Browse 500+
  • FoodHack+ Insiders Community | Coming soon
Ads-Newsletter-2021-BIV

What if Goliath had simply cut David a check?

Well it’s happening. With a massive rise in investment from Corporate venture capital (CVCs) into FoodTech startups, this week we’re zooming in on the Corporate VC activity across the industry: why it’s increasing, who’s active, and what it all means for FoodTech founders.

From Snacking multinational PepsiCo x Plant-based pioneer Beyond Meat. Dairy giant Müller x dairy-free Yofix. Meat producer Tyson x cultured meat producer Future Meat Technologies. Odd couples are all around us, and today we’re playing Cupid 🏹

It’s not just companies hedging their bets against their existing business. Take Kraft Heinz’s $29M investment in a cannabis software startup. That’s not for a pot-infused Magic Ketchup (...sign us up for that, though), but it's because big corporations have industrial expertise and heaps of capital to put to action.

Likewise, it’s not just Big Food in food CVC (i.e. see Swedish media giant Bonnier backing Infarm’s €170M round last year).

CVC investment is a often a darn good deal for everybody involved. Startups get capital and clout. Corporates get a cut of the action. Consumers get a wider range of sustainable and nutritious products at competitive prices. Win, win, win.

An overview of the active CVC investments. Data from Crunchbase & FoodHack Database.

📈 Key figures:

  • CVC activity increased 4.4x in 2020, rising from 66 deals with $770M capital committed in 2019, to a massive 107 deals at $3.2B, according to Finistere Ventures data.
  • Recent CVC growth is part of a longer-term trend: since 2010, the CAGR for CVC participation has been 152%.
  • M&A deals are on the decline, down 33% since peaking in 2015. After a brief rebound in 2019, last year saw a 10-year low of 2,160 CPG & retail deals, per Deloitte.
  • Despite massive growth, CVC activity still made up just 8% of the total 2020 European FoodTech investment. That share is likely to grow in 2021.

🤷‍♂️ Why: Challenges in Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)

A big part of the CVC story is the decline in M&A. With M&A down, corporations look more towards partnerships and investments. Here’s why mergers keep slowing down:

💸 Startup Valuations are higher than ever. VC money & tech breakthroughs have tremendously increased the average valuation of a FoodTech company, meaning acquisitions are more costly than ever.

🔌 Integration is hard. Gone are the days of buying a small CPG product and easily ramping up production. The brightest CPGs and companies in FoodTech use proprietary fermentation methods, molecules and extraction techniques. Making integrating and scaling a new acquisition internally, incredibly difficult.

📉 The keg’s all tapped. After the longest bull market in history and a hot M&A market earlier in the decade, there’s simply less out there to acquire. M&A are usually either scale (building market share or buying up competitors) or scope (new regions, products, or industries). Scale M&A is especially on the decline, making up just 44% of 2019 M&A, down from 71% in 2016.

Make no mistake: M&A lives on, with plenty of examples like Dr. Oetker’s €1B acquisition of drink delivery startup Flaschenpost last November or Barilla’s pickup of Pasta Evangelists for a rumored £40M. But the pressures on M&A keep increasing, driving more interest towards CVCs.

FG-2020-Consumer-and-Retail-M&A-Report-01

💡 Why: Opportunities in CVC

In addition to a “push” away from M&A, there’s a “pull” towards CVC. Here’s what gets CVCs excited about the space:

💰 Financial Returns: many CVCs make traditional, equity investments into startups, anticipating returns when the company is acquired or listed (or when they can sell their shares to another party).

🧠  Strategic Return: some CVCs also invest for non-financial strategic benefits, like understanding consumer patterns, learning to innovate with more agility, or funding products and technologies that will serve their business (i.e. Cargill investing in animal feed & health monitoring startups).

😇 Good Will: no big corporate has a spotless public image. Investing in sustainable startups is a great (if expensive) way to boost that image by showing real commitment to building a better food system.

🤷‍♂️ What’s in it for the founder?

All of the above translates back to the startup as well. Big checks to scale up. A great network of industry leaders to assist. Distribution power like never before. And recognition that the startup is really on to something. Nothing says “we’re serious!” like a round from Nestlé.

Screenshot 2021-05-31 at 11.49.39
We've gathered a list 30+ active investors in foodtech here

👀 Who: CPG Corporate VCs

  • General Mills’ 301 Inc offers direct equity investments, with 17 to date including Beyond Meat, GoodBelly, and D’s Naturals.
  • Barilla’s Blu 1887 has mostly invested in pasta-related businesses like 3D pasta printer BluRhapsody or fresh pasta recipe box Pasta Evangelists (which Barilla later acquired in January). They’ve recently gone further afield with investment in alt-meat platform Planetarians.
  • Danone Manifesto Ventures is invested in 18+ health- and sustainability-focused brands primarily in France and the US, including Farmer's Fridge, Harmless Harvest, Agricool, and Hungry Harvest.
  • Rich Products Ventures is the venture arm of Rich Products, with over 2,000 products sold globally under other brand names. Recent investments include Thistle (Series B), MycoTechnology (Series D), and Tovala (Series B).
  • Hershey’s C7 Ventures is the investment and acquisition arm of the chocolate giant, with investment in nutrition bar firm Fulfil or cacao-as-superfood shop Blue Stripes. Last week, C7 acquired Lily’s, a low-sugar chocolate brand.
  • Chipotle Aluminaries is the chain’s accelerator focused on next-generation sustainable farming companies and has already helped 19 companies to date.
  • Chobani Incubator is similarly focused on impact-driven startups, providing an accelerator program in addition to an equity-free grant.
  • PINC is the incubator of Paulig Group. The Finnish CPG group is focused on Nordic brands and looking for plant-based foods, alt-proteins, sales platforms, waste and upcycling, and personalised nutrition.
  • Kellogg’s Eighteen94 is a $100M fund taking minority stakes for both financial returns and strategic benefits. Success stories include Kuli Kuli and MycoTechnology.
  • Lotus Bakeries’ FF2032 Fund has placed minority investments in better-for-you snack startups Oot Granola, Love, Corn, and Peter’s Yard on behalf of the Belgian biscuit behemoth.
  • Nestle’s Inventages’ 37 investments have been in ambitious life science and nutrition startups, serving as lead investor in $10M+ rounds from Series A-D.
  • Katjes’ Katjesgreenfood is focuses on vegan, vegetarian, low-gluten brands like vegan range Veganz, açai bowl brand The Rainforest Company, Wild Friends nut butters, and plant-based pet foods from VegDog.
  • Mondelez’s SnackFutures is both inventing new brands and investing on behalf of Oreo and Cadbury’s parent. They’ve also formed CoLab, an accelerator for early-stage startups including a $20,000 grant.
  • Tyson Ventures has placed 20+ investments focused on alt-proteins and sustainable nutrition. Investments include Beyond Meat, Upside Foods (formerly Memphis Meats), and MycoTechnology. They also invested this month into Rejoicy, an easy e-commerce platform for local merchants.
  • Unilever Ventures participates mostly in Series B rounds for rapid-growth brands. Their 100+ investments include Instacart with multiple successful exits via investments Milkbasket, Vix, Froosh, and Yummly.
  • Coca-Cola’s VEB (venture & emerging brands) is invested into brands like Health-Ade kombucha or Bringg last-mile logistics, with a focus on investing into majority stakes for emerging brands.
  • Savola Group invests on behalf of the Saudi oil, sugar, dairy, and restaurant conglomerate. Initial investments include investing in last-mile logistics platform Lyve and online grocery platform Pandaclick.
  • Kraft Heinz’s Evolv Ventures is a $100M fund with 8 investments to-date investing across the food value chain, including autonomous checkout platform Zippin, farm-to-table delivery service GrubMarket, and cannabis dispensary platform flowhub.
  • Delivery Hero’s new DX Ventures is independently investing an initial €50M in early-stage startups, focusing on upstream logistics and AI platforms.
  • Döhler Ventures is the ingredient titan’s venture arm, investing in the likes of Startchy (edible coating for perishables), Lyre’s Spirit Co (non-alcoholic spirits), and ahead (DTC performance nutrition).
  • Dr. Oetker’s be8 Venture’s portfolio is focusing on sustainable ingredients, supply chain solutions, food delivery, and packaging. The multinational food processor is just getting started, backing Bluu BIoscience (cultivated seafood).

Together with Big Idea Ventures

Speaking of Big Food getting in on the future of food..


Big Idea Ventures
is backed by some of the leading names in the industry, including Temasek, Buhler, Givaudan, Bel Group, Tyson, and many more.

Apply to their accelerator today if you’re an early-stage startup developing innovative plant or cell-based foods, ingredients, and technologies seeking operational capital and mentorship to scale quickly. Deadline: 1st June


👀 Who: Agtech Corporate VCs

  • Cargill Ventures is a newly-centralized investment team, channeling investment directly from Cargill business units into startups in their space. They monitor the biggest problems facing the industry and invest in early-stage startups (typically equity investments). Investments include digitization, computer vision, and animal nutrition.
  • FMC Ventures, the venture arm of FMC (best known for insecticides), invests in emerging agritech. Investments include soil DNA sequencing platform Trace Genomics and pheromones-as-pest-control startup BioPhero.
  • BASF Venture Capital invests on behalf of the world’s largest chemical producer. Focusing on Series A rounds between $1M-$5M from an “evergreen” round of $250M. All returns are put back in the fund. Their 30+ investments include packaging, energy, bioplastics, and agtech startups like Hummingbird (remote sensing + AI for ag) or ecoRobotix AG (ag robotics).
  • Leaps by Bayer has chalked up almost 40 investments since 2015, including 17 in agtech. Recent investments include a vertical takeoff & landing system for ag drones (Guardian Agriculture). With most investments sitting between agtech and health sciences.
  • Syngenta Ventures has 26 investments and 3 exits across company stages. Investment areas include agri-fintech like Tarfin (price monitoring & credit platform), data platforms like Phytech (plant data monitoring), as well as products like BlueNalu cell-based seafood.
  • ADM Ventures provides equity investment and expert guidance to their portfolio companies, including Air Protein (air-based meat – yes, air-based meat), Geltor (biodesigned proteins), and Future Meat (cultured meat).
Animated GIF-downsized_large (6)
View the list of 30+ active investors in foodtech here

❌ Challenges:

There is some tension in working with the big players. CVC guidance and assistance can be transformative for a startup, but there’s still a risk the corporation will enter the startup’s space as a competitor.

It’s unlikely, but founders should absolutely seek legal counsel when considering CVC investment to protect their IP and understand the risks. Trust, but lawyer up.

Likewise, founders should recognize that any strategic benefits of CVC investment are subject to change. Anything that hurts the startup will hurt the CVC’s returns, but the corporation will have competing (and ever-changing!) priorities.

CVC investment will often be a clear win-win that outweighs the risks. But founders should still recognize that CVCs are a horse of a different color, and proceed with caution. And remember: CVC is still < 10% of all food & agtech VC activity, and it’s currently a founder’s market with plenty of funding avenues open in other channels

🔮 Predictions:

We know our current food system is broken. We need system change from all angles: startups, industry, government, and consumers. So we love to see big food & big ag investing in positive change.

Here’s how we see this unfolding in the coming years:

🚜 Agtech CVC will be especially hot. Agtech innovation requires huge R&D. One agtech company (no matter how massive) can’t do everything themselves. Early-stage investment will continue to grow as a key strategic channel for Big Ag.

🏅 Early winners will generate serious FOMO, further fueling CVC growth. We’re in the early days of foodtech CVC and it takes years to generate returns. But we’ll read more and more stories of early CVC investments paying off big.

↩️ The M&A decline may reverse in a market downturn if startup valuations crash. But even if M&A comes back into vogue, we don’t see CVC activity declining much.

💶 CVCs must offer unique advantages to stay relevant. As we explored last week, ‘specialty’ VCs are making serious investment across stage and industry. And these specialty VCs offer many of the competitive advantages of CVCs (in-house expertise, industry relationships). CVCs must be compelling in both its term sheet and services, or focus on seed rounds on disruptive tech in their field.

🐄 Synergy between Corporate + Startup will drive big wins. Example: an animal feed startup partnering with a livestock giant would have an unprecedented opportunity to scale their operations.

🔁 Long-play CVCs will fuel system change. While some VCs expect quick returns (say, 5 years), many CVCs are backed by massive companies with a 100-year outlook. That means a CVC could invest in a moonshot startup that needs years of R&D. This opens up a meaningful funding channel for long-play startups, especially in agtech.

Sharks and minnows swimming together might feel a bit odd at first. But it’s a key way that big food companies will improve their sustainability outlook while growing their bottom line.

Change from within, without, wherever: count us in.

Disclaimer: Our database numbers are based on public information on CVC websites and Crunchbase, but we know that isn’t the whole story  — if you have more accurate figures for us, reply to the email and we’ll update.

Ads-Newsletter-2021-BIV

What if Goliath had simply cut David a check?

Well it’s happening. With a massive rise in investment from Corporate venture capital (CVCs) into FoodTech startups, this week we’re zooming in on the Corporate VC activity across the industry: why it’s increasing, who’s active, and what it all means for FoodTech founders.

From Snacking multinational PepsiCo x Plant-based pioneer Beyond Meat. Dairy giant Müller x dairy-free Yofix. Meat producer Tyson x cultured meat producer Future Meat Technologies. Odd couples are all around us, and today we’re playing Cupid 🏹

It’s not just companies hedging their bets against their existing business. Take Kraft Heinz’s $29M investment in a cannabis software startup. That’s not for a pot-infused Magic Ketchup (...sign us up for that, though), but it's because big corporations have industrial expertise and heaps of capital to put to action.

Likewise, it’s not just Big Food in food CVC (i.e. see Swedish media giant Bonnier backing Infarm’s €170M round last year).

CVC investment is a often a darn good deal for everybody involved. Startups get capital and clout. Corporates get a cut of the action. Consumers get a wider range of sustainable and nutritious products at competitive prices. Win, win, win.

An overview of the active CVC investments. Data from Crunchbase & FoodHack Database.

📈 Key figures:

  • CVC activity increased 4.4x in 2020, rising from 66 deals with $770M capital committed in 2019, to a massive 107 deals at $3.2B, according to Finistere Ventures data.
  • Recent CVC growth is part of a longer-term trend: since 2010, the CAGR for CVC participation has been 152%.
  • M&A deals are on the decline, down 33% since peaking in 2015. After a brief rebound in 2019, last year saw a 10-year low of 2,160 CPG & retail deals, per Deloitte.
  • Despite massive growth, CVC activity still made up just 8% of the total 2020 European FoodTech investment. That share is likely to grow in 2021.

🤷‍♂️ Why: Challenges in Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)

A big part of the CVC story is the decline in M&A. With M&A down, corporations look more towards partnerships and investments. Here’s why mergers keep slowing down:

💸 Startup Valuations are higher than ever. VC money & tech breakthroughs have tremendously increased the average valuation of a FoodTech company, meaning acquisitions are more costly than ever.

🔌 Integration is hard. Gone are the days of buying a small CPG product and easily ramping up production. The brightest CPGs and companies in FoodTech use proprietary fermentation methods, molecules and extraction techniques. Making integrating and scaling a new acquisition internally, incredibly difficult.

📉 The keg’s all tapped. After the longest bull market in history and a hot M&A market earlier in the decade, there’s simply less out there to acquire. M&A are usually either scale (building market share or buying up competitors) or scope (new regions, products, or industries). Scale M&A is especially on the decline, making up just 44% of 2019 M&A, down from 71% in 2016.

Make no mistake: M&A lives on, with plenty of examples like Dr. Oetker’s €1B acquisition of drink delivery startup Flaschenpost last November or Barilla’s pickup of Pasta Evangelists for a rumored £40M. But the pressures on M&A keep increasing, driving more interest towards CVCs.

FG-2020-Consumer-and-Retail-M&A-Report-01

💡 Why: Opportunities in CVC

In addition to a “push” away from M&A, there’s a “pull” towards CVC. Here’s what gets CVCs excited about the space:

💰 Financial Returns: many CVCs make traditional, equity investments into startups, anticipating returns when the company is acquired or listed (or when they can sell their shares to another party).

🧠  Strategic Return: some CVCs also invest for non-financial strategic benefits, like understanding consumer patterns, learning to innovate with more agility, or funding products and technologies that will serve their business (i.e. Cargill investing in animal feed & health monitoring startups).

😇 Good Will: no big corporate has a spotless public image. Investing in sustainable startups is a great (if expensive) way to boost that image by showing real commitment to building a better food system.

🤷‍♂️ What’s in it for the founder?

All of the above translates back to the startup as well. Big checks to scale up. A great network of industry leaders to assist. Distribution power like never before. And recognition that the startup is really on to something. Nothing says “we’re serious!” like a round from Nestlé.

Screenshot 2021-05-31 at 11.49.39
We've gathered a list 30+ active investors in foodtech here

👀 Who: CPG Corporate VCs

  • General Mills’ 301 Inc offers direct equity investments, with 17 to date including Beyond Meat, GoodBelly, and D’s Naturals.
  • Barilla’s Blu 1887 has mostly invested in pasta-related businesses like 3D pasta printer BluRhapsody or fresh pasta recipe box Pasta Evangelists (which Barilla later acquired in January). They’ve recently gone further afield with investment in alt-meat platform Planetarians.
  • Danone Manifesto Ventures is invested in 18+ health- and sustainability-focused brands primarily in France and the US, including Farmer's Fridge, Harmless Harvest, Agricool, and Hungry Harvest.
  • Rich Products Ventures is the venture arm of Rich Products, with over 2,000 products sold globally under other brand names. Recent investments include Thistle (Series B), MycoTechnology (Series D), and Tovala (Series B).
  • Hershey’s C7 Ventures is the investment and acquisition arm of the chocolate giant, with investment in nutrition bar firm Fulfil or cacao-as-superfood shop Blue Stripes. Last week, C7 acquired Lily’s, a low-sugar chocolate brand.
  • Chipotle Aluminaries is the chain’s accelerator focused on next-generation sustainable farming companies and has already helped 19 companies to date.
  • Chobani Incubator is similarly focused on impact-driven startups, providing an accelerator program in addition to an equity-free grant.
  • PINC is the incubator of Paulig Group. The Finnish CPG group is focused on Nordic brands and looking for plant-based foods, alt-proteins, sales platforms, waste and upcycling, and personalised nutrition.
  • Kellogg’s Eighteen94 is a $100M fund taking minority stakes for both financial returns and strategic benefits. Success stories include Kuli Kuli and MycoTechnology.
  • Lotus Bakeries’ FF2032 Fund has placed minority investments in better-for-you snack startups Oot Granola, Love, Corn, and Peter’s Yard on behalf of the Belgian biscuit behemoth.
  • Nestle’s Inventages’ 37 investments have been in ambitious life science and nutrition startups, serving as lead investor in $10M+ rounds from Series A-D.
  • Katjes’ Katjesgreenfood is focuses on vegan, vegetarian, low-gluten brands like vegan range Veganz, açai bowl brand The Rainforest Company, Wild Friends nut butters, and plant-based pet foods from VegDog.
  • Mondelez’s SnackFutures is both inventing new brands and investing on behalf of Oreo and Cadbury’s parent. They’ve also formed CoLab, an accelerator for early-stage startups including a $20,000 grant.
  • Tyson Ventures has placed 20+ investments focused on alt-proteins and sustainable nutrition. Investments include Beyond Meat, Upside Foods (formerly Memphis Meats), and MycoTechnology. They also invested this month into Rejoicy, an easy e-commerce platform for local merchants.
  • Unilever Ventures participates mostly in Series B rounds for rapid-growth brands. Their 100+ investments include Instacart with multiple successful exits via investments Milkbasket, Vix, Froosh, and Yummly.
  • Coca-Cola’s VEB (venture & emerging brands) is invested into brands like Health-Ade kombucha or Bringg last-mile logistics, with a focus on investing into majority stakes for emerging brands.
  • Savola Group invests on behalf of the Saudi oil, sugar, dairy, and restaurant conglomerate. Initial investments include investing in last-mile logistics platform Lyve and online grocery platform Pandaclick.
  • Kraft Heinz’s Evolv Ventures is a $100M fund with 8 investments to-date investing across the food value chain, including autonomous checkout platform Zippin, farm-to-table delivery service GrubMarket, and cannabis dispensary platform flowhub.
  • Delivery Hero’s new DX Ventures is independently investing an initial €50M in early-stage startups, focusing on upstream logistics and AI platforms.
  • Döhler Ventures is the ingredient titan’s venture arm, investing in the likes of Startchy (edible coating for perishables), Lyre’s Spirit Co (non-alcoholic spirits), and ahead (DTC performance nutrition).
  • Dr. Oetker’s be8 Venture’s portfolio is focusing on sustainable ingredients, supply chain solutions, food delivery, and packaging. The multinational food processor is just getting started, backing Bluu BIoscience (cultivated seafood).

Together with Big Idea Ventures

Speaking of Big Food getting in on the future of food..


Big Idea Ventures
is backed by some of the leading names in the industry, including Temasek, Buhler, Givaudan, Bel Group, Tyson, and many more.

Apply to their accelerator today if you’re an early-stage startup developing innovative plant or cell-based foods, ingredients, and technologies seeking operational capital and mentorship to scale quickly. Deadline: 1st June


👀 Who: Agtech Corporate VCs

  • Cargill Ventures is a newly-centralized investment team, channeling investment directly from Cargill business units into startups in their space. They monitor the biggest problems facing the industry and invest in early-stage startups (typically equity investments). Investments include digitization, computer vision, and animal nutrition.
  • FMC Ventures, the venture arm of FMC (best known for insecticides), invests in emerging agritech. Investments include soil DNA sequencing platform Trace Genomics and pheromones-as-pest-control startup BioPhero.
  • BASF Venture Capital invests on behalf of the world’s largest chemical producer. Focusing on Series A rounds between $1M-$5M from an “evergreen” round of $250M. All returns are put back in the fund. Their 30+ investments include packaging, energy, bioplastics, and agtech startups like Hummingbird (remote sensing + AI for ag) or ecoRobotix AG (ag robotics).
  • Leaps by Bayer has chalked up almost 40 investments since 2015, including 17 in agtech. Recent investments include a vertical takeoff & landing system for ag drones (Guardian Agriculture). With most investments sitting between agtech and health sciences.
  • Syngenta Ventures has 26 investments and 3 exits across company stages. Investment areas include agri-fintech like Tarfin (price monitoring & credit platform), data platforms like Phytech (plant data monitoring), as well as products like BlueNalu cell-based seafood.
  • ADM Ventures provides equity investment and expert guidance to their portfolio companies, including Air Protein (air-based meat – yes, air-based meat), Geltor (biodesigned proteins), and Future Meat (cultured meat).
Animated GIF-downsized_large (6)
View the list of 30+ active investors in foodtech here

❌ Challenges:

There is some tension in working with the big players. CVC guidance and assistance can be transformative for a startup, but there’s still a risk the corporation will enter the startup’s space as a competitor.

It’s unlikely, but founders should absolutely seek legal counsel when considering CVC investment to protect their IP and understand the risks. Trust, but lawyer up.

Likewise, founders should recognize that any strategic benefits of CVC investment are subject to change. Anything that hurts the startup will hurt the CVC’s returns, but the corporation will have competing (and ever-changing!) priorities.

CVC investment will often be a clear win-win that outweighs the risks. But founders should still recognize that CVCs are a horse of a different color, and proceed with caution. And remember: CVC is still < 10% of all food & agtech VC activity, and it’s currently a founder’s market with plenty of funding avenues open in other channels

🔮 Predictions:

We know our current food system is broken. We need system change from all angles: startups, industry, government, and consumers. So we love to see big food & big ag investing in positive change.

Here’s how we see this unfolding in the coming years:

🚜 Agtech CVC will be especially hot. Agtech innovation requires huge R&D. One agtech company (no matter how massive) can’t do everything themselves. Early-stage investment will continue to grow as a key strategic channel for Big Ag.

🏅 Early winners will generate serious FOMO, further fueling CVC growth. We’re in the early days of foodtech CVC and it takes years to generate returns. But we’ll read more and more stories of early CVC investments paying off big.

↩️ The M&A decline may reverse in a market downturn if startup valuations crash. But even if M&A comes back into vogue, we don’t see CVC activity declining much.

💶 CVCs must offer unique advantages to stay relevant. As we explored last week, ‘specialty’ VCs are making serious investment across stage and industry. And these specialty VCs offer many of the competitive advantages of CVCs (in-house expertise, industry relationships). CVCs must be compelling in both its term sheet and services, or focus on seed rounds on disruptive tech in their field.

🐄 Synergy between Corporate + Startup will drive big wins. Example: an animal feed startup partnering with a livestock giant would have an unprecedented opportunity to scale their operations.

🔁 Long-play CVCs will fuel system change. While some VCs expect quick returns (say, 5 years), many CVCs are backed by massive companies with a 100-year outlook. That means a CVC could invest in a moonshot startup that needs years of R&D. This opens up a meaningful funding channel for long-play startups, especially in agtech.

Sharks and minnows swimming together might feel a bit odd at first. But it’s a key way that big food companies will improve their sustainability outlook while growing their bottom line.

Change from within, without, wherever: count us in.

Disclaimer: Our database numbers are based on public information on CVC websites and Crunchbase, but we know that isn’t the whole story  — if you have more accurate figures for us, reply to the email and we’ll update.

Ads-Newsletter-2021-BIV

What if Goliath had simply cut David a check?

Well it’s happening. With a massive rise in investment from Corporate venture capital (CVCs) into FoodTech startups, this week we’re zooming in on the Corporate VC activity across the industry: why it’s increasing, who’s active, and what it all means for FoodTech founders.

From Snacking multinational PepsiCo x Plant-based pioneer Beyond Meat. Dairy giant Müller x dairy-free Yofix. Meat producer Tyson x cultured meat producer Future Meat Technologies. Odd couples are all around us, and today we’re playing Cupid 🏹

It’s not just companies hedging their bets against their existing business. Take Kraft Heinz’s $29M investment in a cannabis software startup. That’s not for a pot-infused Magic Ketchup (...sign us up for that, though), but it's because big corporations have industrial expertise and heaps of capital to put to action.

Likewise, it’s not just Big Food in food CVC (i.e. see Swedish media giant Bonnier backing Infarm’s €170M round last year).

CVC investment is a often a darn good deal for everybody involved. Startups get capital and clout. Corporates get a cut of the action. Consumers get a wider range of sustainable and nutritious products at competitive prices. Win, win, win.

An overview of the active CVC investments. Data from Crunchbase & FoodHack Database.

📈 Key figures:

  • CVC activity increased 4.4x in 2020, rising from 66 deals with $770M capital committed in 2019, to a massive 107 deals at $3.2B, according to Finistere Ventures data.
  • Recent CVC growth is part of a longer-term trend: since 2010, the CAGR for CVC participation has been 152%.
  • M&A deals are on the decline, down 33% since peaking in 2015. After a brief rebound in 2019, last year saw a 10-year low of 2,160 CPG & retail deals, per Deloitte.
  • Despite massive growth, CVC activity still made up just 8% of the total 2020 European FoodTech investment. That share is likely to grow in 2021.

🤷‍♂️ Why: Challenges in Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)

A big part of the CVC story is the decline in M&A. With M&A down, corporations look more towards partnerships and investments. Here’s why mergers keep slowing down:

💸 Startup Valuations are higher than ever. VC money & tech breakthroughs have tremendously increased the average valuation of a FoodTech company, meaning acquisitions are more costly than ever.

🔌 Integration is hard. Gone are the days of buying a small CPG product and easily ramping up production. The brightest CPGs and companies in FoodTech use proprietary fermentation methods, molecules and extraction techniques. Making integrating and scaling a new acquisition internally, incredibly difficult.

📉 The keg’s all tapped. After the longest bull market in history and a hot M&A market earlier in the decade, there’s simply less out there to acquire. M&A are usually either scale (building market share or buying up competitors) or scope (new regions, products, or industries). Scale M&A is especially on the decline, making up just 44% of 2019 M&A, down from 71% in 2016.

Make no mistake: M&A lives on, with plenty of examples like Dr. Oetker’s €1B acquisition of drink delivery startup Flaschenpost last November or Barilla’s pickup of Pasta Evangelists for a rumored £40M. But the pressures on M&A keep increasing, driving more interest towards CVCs.

FG-2020-Consumer-and-Retail-M&A-Report-01

💡 Why: Opportunities in CVC

In addition to a “push” away from M&A, there’s a “pull” towards CVC. Here’s what gets CVCs excited about the space:

💰 Financial Returns: many CVCs make traditional, equity investments into startups, anticipating returns when the company is acquired or listed (or when they can sell their shares to another party).

🧠  Strategic Return: some CVCs also invest for non-financial strategic benefits, like understanding consumer patterns, learning to innovate with more agility, or funding products and technologies that will serve their business (i.e. Cargill investing in animal feed & health monitoring startups).

😇 Good Will: no big corporate has a spotless public image. Investing in sustainable startups is a great (if expensive) way to boost that image by showing real commitment to building a better food system.

🤷‍♂️ What’s in it for the founder?

All of the above translates back to the startup as well. Big checks to scale up. A great network of industry leaders to assist. Distribution power like never before. And recognition that the startup is really on to something. Nothing says “we’re serious!” like a round from Nestlé.

Screenshot 2021-05-31 at 11.49.39
We've gathered a list 30+ active investors in foodtech here

👀 Who: CPG Corporate VCs

  • General Mills’ 301 Inc offers direct equity investments, with 17 to date including Beyond Meat, GoodBelly, and D’s Naturals.
  • Barilla’s Blu 1887 has mostly invested in pasta-related businesses like 3D pasta printer BluRhapsody or fresh pasta recipe box Pasta Evangelists (which Barilla later acquired in January). They’ve recently gone further afield with investment in alt-meat platform Planetarians.
  • Danone Manifesto Ventures is invested in 18+ health- and sustainability-focused brands primarily in France and the US, including Farmer's Fridge, Harmless Harvest, Agricool, and Hungry Harvest.
  • Rich Products Ventures is the venture arm of Rich Products, with over 2,000 products sold globally under other brand names. Recent investments include Thistle (Series B), MycoTechnology (Series D), and Tovala (Series B).
  • Hershey’s C7 Ventures is the investment and acquisition arm of the chocolate giant, with investment in nutrition bar firm Fulfil or cacao-as-superfood shop Blue Stripes. Last week, C7 acquired Lily’s, a low-sugar chocolate brand.
  • Chipotle Aluminaries is the chain’s accelerator focused on next-generation sustainable farming companies and has already helped 19 companies to date.
  • Chobani Incubator is similarly focused on impact-driven startups, providing an accelerator program in addition to an equity-free grant.
  • PINC is the incubator of Paulig Group. The Finnish CPG group is focused on Nordic brands and looking for plant-based foods, alt-proteins, sales platforms, waste and upcycling, and personalised nutrition.
  • Kellogg’s Eighteen94 is a $100M fund taking minority stakes for both financial returns and strategic benefits. Success stories include Kuli Kuli and MycoTechnology.
  • Lotus Bakeries’ FF2032 Fund has placed minority investments in better-for-you snack startups Oot Granola, Love, Corn, and Peter’s Yard on behalf of the Belgian biscuit behemoth.
  • Nestle’s Inventages’ 37 investments have been in ambitious life science and nutrition startups, serving as lead investor in $10M+ rounds from Series A-D.
  • Katjes’ Katjesgreenfood is focuses on vegan, vegetarian, low-gluten brands like vegan range Veganz, açai bowl brand The Rainforest Company, Wild Friends nut butters, and plant-based pet foods from VegDog.
  • Mondelez’s SnackFutures is both inventing new brands and investing on behalf of Oreo and Cadbury’s parent. They’ve also formed CoLab, an accelerator for early-stage startups including a $20,000 grant.
  • Tyson Ventures has placed 20+ investments focused on alt-proteins and sustainable nutrition. Investments include Beyond Meat, Upside Foods (formerly Memphis Meats), and MycoTechnology. They also invested this month into Rejoicy, an easy e-commerce platform for local merchants.
  • Unilever Ventures participates mostly in Series B rounds for rapid-growth brands. Their 100+ investments include Instacart with multiple successful exits via investments Milkbasket, Vix, Froosh, and Yummly.
  • Coca-Cola’s VEB (venture & emerging brands) is invested into brands like Health-Ade kombucha or Bringg last-mile logistics, with a focus on investing into majority stakes for emerging brands.
  • Savola Group invests on behalf of the Saudi oil, sugar, dairy, and restaurant conglomerate. Initial investments include investing in last-mile logistics platform Lyve and online grocery platform Pandaclick.
  • Kraft Heinz’s Evolv Ventures is a $100M fund with 8 investments to-date investing across the food value chain, including autonomous checkout platform Zippin, farm-to-table delivery service GrubMarket, and cannabis dispensary platform flowhub.
  • Delivery Hero’s new DX Ventures is independently investing an initial €50M in early-stage startups, focusing on upstream logistics and AI platforms.
  • Döhler Ventures is the ingredient titan’s venture arm, investing in the likes of Startchy (edible coating for perishables), Lyre’s Spirit Co (non-alcoholic spirits), and ahead (DTC performance nutrition).
  • Dr. Oetker’s be8 Venture’s portfolio is focusing on sustainable ingredients, supply chain solutions, food delivery, and packaging. The multinational food processor is just getting started, backing Bluu BIoscience (cultivated seafood).

Together with Big Idea Ventures

Speaking of Big Food getting in on the future of food..


Big Idea Ventures
is backed by some of the leading names in the industry, including Temasek, Buhler, Givaudan, Bel Group, Tyson, and many more.

Apply to their accelerator today if you’re an early-stage startup developing innovative plant or cell-based foods, ingredients, and technologies seeking operational capital and mentorship to scale quickly. Deadline: 1st June


👀 Who: Agtech Corporate VCs

  • Cargill Ventures is a newly-centralized investment team, channeling investment directly from Cargill business units into startups in their space. They monitor the biggest problems facing the industry and invest in early-stage startups (typically equity investments). Investments include digitization, computer vision, and animal nutrition.
  • FMC Ventures, the venture arm of FMC (best known for insecticides), invests in emerging agritech. Investments include soil DNA sequencing platform Trace Genomics and pheromones-as-pest-control startup BioPhero.
  • BASF Venture Capital invests on behalf of the world’s largest chemical producer. Focusing on Series A rounds between $1M-$5M from an “evergreen” round of $250M. All returns are put back in the fund. Their 30+ investments include packaging, energy, bioplastics, and agtech startups like Hummingbird (remote sensing + AI for ag) or ecoRobotix AG (ag robotics).
  • Leaps by Bayer has chalked up almost 40 investments since 2015, including 17 in agtech. Recent investments include a vertical takeoff & landing system for ag drones (Guardian Agriculture). With most investments sitting between agtech and health sciences.
  • Syngenta Ventures has 26 investments and 3 exits across company stages. Investment areas include agri-fintech like Tarfin (price monitoring & credit platform), data platforms like Phytech (plant data monitoring), as well as products like BlueNalu cell-based seafood.
  • ADM Ventures provides equity investment and expert guidance to their portfolio companies, including Air Protein (air-based meat – yes, air-based meat), Geltor (biodesigned proteins), and Future Meat (cultured meat).
Animated GIF-downsized_large (6)
View the list of 30+ active investors in foodtech here

❌ Challenges:

There is some tension in working with the big players. CVC guidance and assistance can be transformative for a startup, but there’s still a risk the corporation will enter the startup’s space as a competitor.

It’s unlikely, but founders should absolutely seek legal counsel when considering CVC investment to protect their IP and understand the risks. Trust, but lawyer up.

Likewise, founders should recognize that any strategic benefits of CVC investment are subject to change. Anything that hurts the startup will hurt the CVC’s returns, but the corporation will have competing (and ever-changing!) priorities.

CVC investment will often be a clear win-win that outweighs the risks. But founders should still recognize that CVCs are a horse of a different color, and proceed with caution. And remember: CVC is still < 10% of all food & agtech VC activity, and it’s currently a founder’s market with plenty of funding avenues open in other channels

🔮 Predictions:

We know our current food system is broken. We need system change from all angles: startups, industry, government, and consumers. So we love to see big food & big ag investing in positive change.

Here’s how we see this unfolding in the coming years:

🚜 Agtech CVC will be especially hot. Agtech innovation requires huge R&D. One agtech company (no matter how massive) can’t do everything themselves. Early-stage investment will continue to grow as a key strategic channel for Big Ag.

🏅 Early winners will generate serious FOMO, further fueling CVC growth. We’re in the early days of foodtech CVC and it takes years to generate returns. But we’ll read more and more stories of early CVC investments paying off big.

↩️ The M&A decline may reverse in a market downturn if startup valuations crash. But even if M&A comes back into vogue, we don’t see CVC activity declining much.

💶 CVCs must offer unique advantages to stay relevant. As we explored last week, ‘specialty’ VCs are making serious investment across stage and industry. And these specialty VCs offer many of the competitive advantages of CVCs (in-house expertise, industry relationships). CVCs must be compelling in both its term sheet and services, or focus on seed rounds on disruptive tech in their field.

🐄 Synergy between Corporate + Startup will drive big wins. Example: an animal feed startup partnering with a livestock giant would have an unprecedented opportunity to scale their operations.

🔁 Long-play CVCs will fuel system change. While some VCs expect quick returns (say, 5 years), many CVCs are backed by massive companies with a 100-year outlook. That means a CVC could invest in a moonshot startup that needs years of R&D. This opens up a meaningful funding channel for long-play startups, especially in agtech.

Sharks and minnows swimming together might feel a bit odd at first. But it’s a key way that big food companies will improve their sustainability outlook while growing their bottom line.

Change from within, without, wherever: count us in.

Disclaimer: Our database numbers are based on public information on CVC websites and Crunchbase, but we know that isn’t the whole story  — if you have more accurate figures for us, reply to the email and we’ll update.

FoodTech News Digested ✉️
Every Monday (12pm CET) & Friday (1pm CET) in your inbox

Reports

A brave new world: exploring how the Internet of Things (IoT) can help the food industry
Exploring the holy grail of alt-meat: whole-cut plant-based meat and seafood
Alt-Eggs: Meet the startups scrambling to hatch the latest egg substitutes
Fava Beans: Is the humble fava bean the next big thing in plant-based?
The final hurdle: the latest innovations in last-mile grocery delivery
Pass the salt: the companies working on new ways to reduce sodium in our food
Restaurant Tech: Robotic dishwashers, virtual receptionists and more: exploring the latest innovations in restaurant tech
Honey without bees & milk without cows: the 30+ synthetic biology startups reimagining food as we know it