Kraft Heinz has become the latest major food company to start a venture fund for systematic investment in new food technologies.
The industry giant recently announced the formation of Evolv Ventures, a unit with initial funding of $100 million that “will work with tomorrow's most innovative founders and companies,” said CEO Bernardo Hees. Evolv will be headed by Bill Pescatello, an investment-fund veteran who was a founding partner of a similar fund for NBCUniversal and GE Capital.
Kraft Heinz will use the money to invest in companies specializing in technologies that can be used for food processing and distribution, especially related to supply chain, e-commerce and direct-to-consumer marketing, Peescatello says.
Other food giants have started similar venture funds, including General Mills and Kellogg. This led to investments in several small brands perceived as innovative, such as Farmhouse Culture, a fermented-foods startup in which General Mills invested $6.5 million last year.
Evolv is the second investment platform launched by Kraft Heinz this year. In March, it announced Springboard, a venture “dedicated to nurturing, scaling and accelerating growth of disruptive U.S. brands” for products like organic foods and plant-based proteins.