Blue Horizon Ventures, a Zurich-based vegan venture capital fund, will invest in startups ranging from alternative proteins to smart packaging.
Investors are piling up in a veg-focused venture capital fund as the coronavirus pandemic highlights growing tensions in global food production.
Blue Horizon Ventures, a Zurich-based venture capital firm dedicated to making food more sustainable, has closed a € 183 million ($ 222 million) fund that will invest in startups ranging from alternative proteins to packaging intelligent. The fund has attracted more than 100 investors and has exceeded its initial target of raising € 100 million, according to managing partner Michael Kleindl.
“Due to the pandemic, awareness of sustainability and the loopholes in the food system have become so evident,” Kleindl said in an interview. “Covid has accelerated the transfer of capital to more impactful and sustainable investments.”
Climate change, a growing population and, more recently, the pandemic, have prompted the search for alternative food sources. In hopes of finding the next Beyond Meat Inc. – which has quintupled since its IPO in 2019 – investors are exploiting the desire to replace meat with environmentally friendly alternatives or to tackle issues like than food waste. Much of the investment in the food of the future is made by venture capital firms.
Venture capitalists injected $ 18.1 billion into food tech startups in 2020, largely thanks to the lure of food delivery apps or online grocers, according to researcher PitchBook.
Blue Horizon has caught the interest of institutional investors, even getting money from two pension funds, Kleindl said, without giving further details. Other investors include the European Investment Fund, Mexican food manufacturers Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV and Sigma Alimentos SA de CV, Be8 Ventures Management GmbH and Givaudan SA.
Blue Horizon Ventures, where around 90% of the staff is vegan or vegetarian, has so far supported startups such as plant-based meat producer The Livekindly Co. and lab-grown meat maker Mosa Meat BV.
“We’re really trying to get the animal out of the equation,” Kleindl said.
The firm plans to launch a second fund in the fourth quarter, which will be slightly larger than the first, he said.
“The innovation we are seeing is really amazing,” Kleindl said. “I can talk for hours about the cool companies we see.”
(Updates with graphic, food technology finance after fourth paragraph.)