Campbell Soup to invest $125 million in food startups

Campbell Soup is the latest corporation to jump on the venture funding bandwagon, announcing Wednesday that it will put $125 million toward disrupting the food industry.

The new venture fund will be called Acre Venture Partners, and will be managed by outside partners. President and CEO Denise Morrison announced the new fund in Boca Raton, Florida at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference, Fortune reported.

“The food industry is being transformed by the fusion of food, well-being and technology,” Morrison said, according to a transcript from the conference. “New business models are emerging at every step of the value chain from farming and agriculture through food home delivery. There is a massive influx of venture capital aimed at disrupting the food ecosystem flowing from traditional VC firms and from funds managed by large food companies.”

Since 2010, about 400 food startups have received more than $6 billion in funding, Morrison said. Until now, Campbell’s influence in that sector has been limited. The soup company has made a few early stage investments, including in Juicero, a Silicon Valley-based startup dedicated to providing on-demand fresh juice. Business Insider reported on the Juicero funding by Campbell and other investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and GV (formerly Google Ventures).

Campbell isn’t alone in its business move. A growing number of corporations have opened their own venture arms over the past few years, including 7-Eleven, Walgreens and JetBlue Airways. They’re funneling their money into the startups that are disrupting their industries — think General Motors investing in Lyft, and UPS investing in delivery startup Roadie. The money often goes to the corporations’ direct competitors, with the goal that the investments will be an opportunity to forge partnerships and gain access to new technology.

There are plenty of food-related startups for Campbell to choose from, especially in the food delivery market, which has become especially crowded.

Image: Campbell logo

 
 

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