General Mills has announced an investment of $15 million (€13.8 million) in two early-stage venture capital funds, Fearless Fund and Supply Change Capital.
The initiative aims to support founders from underrepresented groups and will be designated for food-related businesses that seek to drive systemic impact and financial returns.
The investment will be made through General Mills’ venture capital arm, 301 INC.
Doug Martin, chief brand and disruptive growth officer of General Mills, said, “We experience firsthand the expertise and passion of the diverse and female founders within our 301 INC portfolio, and yet there is a systemic gap for minority food entrepreneurs looking for early-stage venture capital funding.”
“We’re excited to join forces with these amazing partners to uncover and accelerate more founders, at earlier stages. Closing this gap means more great innovation in our food system — from new concepts to emerging food technologies — and more inclusive cycles of opportunity for entrepreneurs, companies and communities.”
Fearless Fund, built by women of colour, invests in businesses led by women of colour seeking pre-seed, seed-level, or series A financing. It aims to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for founders building scalable, growth-aggressive companies.
Arian Simone, general partner and co-founder of Fearless Fund, said, "Access to capital is one of the most prominent hurdles to women of colour reaching their potential as founders, despite having an excellent track record in building successful businesses built on great ideas.”
Supply Change Capital, women and Latina-powered venture firm, invests at the intersection of food, culture and technology.
The firm supports early-stage food and food tech founders focusing on sustainability, health and diversity.
Noramay Cadena, co-founder and managing partner of Supply Change Capital, added, "Food and food systems are at the heart of our culture and economy. As the multicultural consumer population in the US grows, we are focused on unlocking change in the venture ecosystem to infuse women and people of colour with the capital they need to shape our future food landscape.”
301 INC and General Mills have pledged to use their scale and expertise to improve equity in food access and representation.
Since the reorganisation of General Mills’ corporate venture capabilities into a Disruptive Growth organisation in June 2021, approximately 80% of 301 INC investment dollars have gone to minority-led or female-led food businesses, including Grub Market, Pet Plate and Everything Legendary, the company noted.