Temasek, Enterprise SG back new foodtech fund seeking to raise $100m

There is a new venture fund in town and it is seeking to raise $100 million to invest in startups in plant-based food, alternative protein and associated food technologies globally.

Meet Big Idea Ventures. Founded by Andrew Ive, a former managing director at US-based, food-focused accelerator Food-X, the venture capital firm has already secured capital commitments from Temasek Holdings, US food giant Tyson Foods and Enterprise Singapore.

The three investors have committed to contribute about 30-40 per cent of the fund, Ive told DEALSTREETASIA.

Big idea Ventures is the latest to join the protein fund club. For the uninitiated, protein funds invest in companies that deal with sustainable or ‘green’ protein products, concepts, technologies or services.

While the VC firm’s mandate is global, it will require the startups it will back to base or move their operations to North America or Singapore — the home base of its limited partners.

“We’re looking for businesses that will be significant on the world stage,” said Ive. “The reason we’re focusing on North America and Singapore is because we want to build the value chain from initial innovation all the way through to the consumer, so that when we find a great business, we can introduce their product to market more efficiently.”

Singapore’s state investment firm Temasek is already an active investor in the alternative proteins space, with investments in popular brands such as Impossible Foods, JUST and Quorn.

Enterprise Singapore, too, has been pumping capital in the sector. In January, its investment arm, SEEDS Capital committed to investing over $66.6 million into agri-food tech startups in Singapore.

But while Singapore’s food tech landscape is very much in its infancy, Ive is not ruling out the possibility of Asian foodtech startups scaling up to take on rival brands such as Impossible Foods in the years to come.

Ive said, “If you pick up any food category, whether it’s beverages or candy, and lay out all of its brands, you’ll find hundreds of them in each of those sectors. But in the plant-based food sector, there are just a handful, maybe just one or two.”

“We may look back at Beyond [Meat] and Impossible and say they were great stepping stones, but they were not the ultimate brands that we have today,” he added.

In order to build its pipeline of foodtech startups in the region, Big Idea Ventures will also be launching a Singapore-based accelerator in July this year. About 10-15 per cent of its corpus will be deployed into this accelerator, which will seed 80-100 startups over a period of four years.

It will be a five-month programme with over 800 hours of mentorship in areas such as product, packaging, financing and go-to-market strategy.

Eligible startups will receive seed investments of $250,000 in exchange for 8 per cent equity. Upon graduation, top performing startups may receive follow-on investments of $750,000 to $5 million depending on team performance, product traction and ability to raise external funding.

Also Read:

Temasek-backed Impossible Foods craves more funding, said to seek $1b valuation

Venture-backed plant protein startups tap China’s hungry market

Singapore allocates $535m for digital, food security push

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.