Seafood major Thai Union sets up VC arm, commits to invest $30m in foodtech

Thai Union CEO Thiraphong Chansiri.

Bangkok-based seafood processor Thai Union Group has launched a venture fund with an initial commitment of $30 million to invest in food-tech startups, according to its announcement.

The corporate venture capital firm will focus on three strategic areas under foodtech, namely, alternative protein, functional nutrition and value chain technology.

“As we move into the coming decade, we will increasingly cooperate with innovative startups in strategically interesting areas. This will complement our own activities as we are broadening our business beyond our traditional core,” said Thai Union CEO Thiraphong Chansiri.

The fund has made its maiden investment into alternative protein startup Flying Spark, whose technology enables easy and low-cost cultivation and processing of fruit fly larvae. Flying Spark produces 70 per cent protein powder, described as “an excellent source of amino acids”.

The startup had received a seed investment from Israeli foodtech incubator The Kitchen Hub, a programme by Israel’s second-largest food producer Strauss Group.

Thai Union has recently partnered with Thailand’s National Innovation Agency and Mahidol University to create Space F, Thailand’s first food-tech accelerator.

Having been in the market for over 40 years, Thai Union said its annual sales exceeded 133.3 billion baht ($4.1 billion). Since 2015, the company has been operating the Global Innovation Centre to do R&D on marine biotechnology, engineering, medicine, food science, and nutrition.

Thailand is home to a number of CVCs which are on the lookout for technologies disrupting traditional businesses. The prominent CVCs in the country include Siam Commercial Bank’s Digital Ventures, Kasikorn Bank’s Beacon VC, Sansiri’s Siri Ventures, Add Ventures by SCG and Dtac, among others.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.