Big Idea Ventures Raises US$50M In Bühler & Tyson-Backed Alternative Protein Fund

New York and Singapore-based accelerator and venture capital firm Big Idea Ventures (BIV) has raised US$50 million in its final close of its debut fund dedicated to alternative protein innovators. The New Protein Fund I, which was completed earlier in March, saw Japanese food giant Meiji join as a new investor alongside existing big-name backers including Bühler, Tyson Foods and Temasek.

Big Idea Ventures has announced the final closing of its US$50 million debut New Protein Fund, which saw major Japanese confectionary brand Meiji Holdings join as the latest investor to back the fund. Other investors who participated in the round were some of the largest global food conglomerates, among them Bühler Group, Givaudan, AAK, Temasek and Tyson Foods.

Thailand’s NR Instant Produce PCL and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation also backed the dedicated alternative protein food tech fund.

“Additional LPs include families and foundations who care about supporting the innovation of sustainable sources of protein using plant-based, cell-based and fermentation-based technologies,” Andrew D. Ive, managing general partner at BIV, told Green Queen Media.

Peanut plant-based chicken startup Haofood is one of the companies in BIV’s accelerator program. (Source: Haofood)

In addition to protein-focused companies, including those developing meat, seafood and dairy alternatives, the fund supports alternative ingredient innovation and other technologies within the industry ecosystem globally. In March, BIV teamed up with the Swedish-Danish specialty oils and fats giant and strategic partner AAK to accelerate solutions in the realm of ingredients.

These technologies can deliver protein far more efficiently and sustainably than the traditional methods.

Andrew D. Ive, Managing General Partner, BIV

The majority of the proceeds from the latest round for New Protein Fund I will go towards fuelling BIV’s accelerator programs based across Singapore, New York and Paris, and “following on from the rising stars of these programs,” said Ive.

BIV will be investing in their accelerator companies with ticket sizes of US$200,000, as well as a potential further allocation of funds ranging from US$500,000 to US$2 million for the “strongest performers” in their cohorts. The firm recently welcomed its latest crop of 15 startups in April, who are developing everything from cultured whole-cut turkey to plant-based cheese and vegan-friendly microbial fermentation seafood.

Regarding direct investments into food tech companies, which will make up around 25% of the New Protein Fund, BIV will be making US$500,000 to US$2 million investments.

New Breed Meats has recently joined BIV’s accelerator program. (Source: New Breed Meats)

Asia will be a driving force across the alternative protein categories.

Andrew D. Ive, Managing General Partner, BIV

Some of the most promising food techs that the New Protein Fund has already backed include India’s plant-based egg startup Evo Foods, Australian carbon neutral vegan “veef” maker Fenn Foods, Singapore-based jackfruit meat alternative Karana, and French cell-based foie gras startup Gourmey.

Commenting on the fundraise, Ive told Green Queen Media that “this is just the beginning” for the future of alternative protein and the growth trajectory that the industry is likely to see globally, but especially in Asia.

“Asia will be a driving force across the alternative protein categories as more and more Asian countries see how these technologies can deliver protein far more efficiently and sustainably than the traditional methods,” explained Ive. “If we work together we can build food innovation ecosystems which will improve food security across the whole region.”

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