The Thai company said, in a statement on September 30, that the investment in Singapore-based VVNP will “deepen its network of identifying co-investment and collaborative opportunities in the global agrifood tech ecosystem”.
VVNP is targeting a $150 million corpus for its second fund, which was launched in 2019, according to its website. It also revealed it had over 800 companies in the pipeline. The vehicle sealed its first close in June this year and completed a maiden transaction in Mushlabs’ $10 million Series A funding in August. Mushlabs is a Berlin-based company that uses fermentation to create meat-alternative products from edible mushrooms.
VVNP’s $40 million first fund, closed in 2016, has invested in seven startups so far including Ynsect (France), Nuritas (Ireland), Mitte (Germany), ViAqua (Israel), and Nutrition Innovation (Singapore). The fund typically invests between $300,000 and $3 million in the seed to Series C funding stages, according to its website.
Thai Union will also invest in three foodtech startups, including Singapore-based diabetes food firm Alchemy Foodtech; the US insect tech and e-commerce company Manna Foods Co; and HydroNeo GmbH, an aquaculture technology company based in Germany and Thailand, according to the statement.
All three firms were part of the first cohort of SPACE-F, Thailand’s first foodtech incubator, and accelerator programme, Thai Union said. In September last year, Thai Union partnered with Mahidol University, and Thailand’s National Innovation Agency to launch SPACE-F.
“We are committed to open innovation as an important part of Thai Union’s innovation strategy, complementing our in-house innovation efforts. Our venture capital investments in the foodtech space are an important part of this,” commented Thiraphong Chansiri, president and CEO, Thai Union.
He added that Thai Union will look to pursue collaborations wherever possible. “Investing into VisVires New Protein also opens a wider, global spectrum for opportunities and we’re looking forward to developing a range of exciting opportunities with them,” he said.
Thai Union’s venture fund focusses on three strategic areas: alternative protein, functional nutrition, and new technologies along the food value chain. The fund’s first investment was Israeli alternative protein startup Flying Spark, which produces protein powders from fruit fly larvae.