Big Idea Ventures, an investor in early-stage alternative protein and food technology, is collaborating with several higher education institutions, including Rutgers University, for its Generation Food Rural Partners fund.
Rutgers is one of five new universities added to the list.
“When we designed this investment platform, our goal was to get five universities to collaborate with us. To have secured collaboration commitments from 15 world class research universities is an incredible vote of confidence and a testament to the power of innovation at the university level,” said Tom Mastrobuoni, chief investment officer for Big Idea Ventures.
Innovation Ventures, the technology transfer office within the Rutgers Office for Research, partners with the Rutgers community to encourage deliberate innovation, protect and leverage Rutgers intellectual property, foster collaboration with industry, and enable entrepreneurship. In 2021, Rutgers’ received $907.9 million in funding from federal and state agencies, corporations, and foundations for its research; generated $47 million in licensing revenue; and increased its number of active startups to 87.
The GFRP fund team will evaluate intellectual property developed at Rutgers and other collaborating universities to identify new developments with the strongest commercialization potential. The fund will then invest in new companies formed around research that comes out of the institutions, and the companies will be headquartered in rural communities nearby.
“The GFRP Fund will ignite research innovation at our partner universities in agriculture, food and protein sciences which will create new companies located in rural America,” said Frank Klemens, managing director of the GFRP Fund at BIV. “Rural America has always been the center for innovation in food and agriculture production and this partnership between these world class Universities and GFRP Fund will create the next generational growth in rural America.”