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.