I’m back to write some posts on the topic of startups, mainly what happens between the Food&Beverage and Venture Capital. For a startup it is essential to find funds for development, so in this post we will see some examples of funding.
According to data from PitchBook, food and beverage startups raised $7.8 billion in the first three quarters of 2022. Conditions were certainly not the best, and probably won’t be for many more months. As early as the end of 2021, cracks were starting to appear in the large technology companies, the ones that then drag the whole sector along. Big Techs started firing after years of hiring rain, and Venture Capitals started using their investments more wisely.
However, despite the difficult market, many investors are still looking for innovative companies in the Beverage sector and Venture Capital sees many opportunities in this market.
Some of the top US investors in the food and beverage sector include AF Ventures, AgFunder and Barrel Ventures. AgFunder, a company based in San Francisco and founded and managed by women only, has financed Fable Food, an Australian alternative food company. In these times when we talk about synthetic meat with a certain Italian disgust, Fable Food sells preparations based on mushrooms both for the preparation of sauces and in the form of dishes that look like a steak. Launched in 2019, they have had $14.8 million in funding to date. My opinion is that we need to promote and stick to our Italian recipes and foods, but without looking at alternative foods with detached disdain. The risk for Italy is to stay out of a market which, in 5 years time, could be the prerogative of the USA, Israel and Australia.
The Food&Beverage and Venture Capital had their peak in 2021, like many other sectors. 2022, which began with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has slowed down all investments a bit, but the food market is certainly still the interesting part.
Another company in the Food sector financed by AGFunder is Future Fields, which is involved in extracting proteins from insects thanks to their biotechnological plants. Even this sensitive topic, in Italy, but the same argument I made before applies: avoiding investing in research risks seeing us cut off from the future market. So far, in several rounds, it has raised nearly $19 million, founded in 2018 and based in Canada.
The record for the largest financing belongs to Goldbelly, based in New York and born in 2012, which received a loan of 100 million dollars in May 2021 thanks to a Californian Private Equity. It has raised $133.1 million in Series C so far. It is an online marketplace where you can find specialty foods made from local artisan products. The company offers logistics services by providing boxes and packaging for order shipments, and an integrated platform dedicated to restaurants. In this way they offer the tools for ordering and home deliveries even for small food shops which, otherwise, would have difficulty making deliveries.
For the beverage sector, New York-based Flaviar raised $13.9 million. It’s a dedicated liquor club that allows members to try a mix of different liquors with their subscription service
In addition to Goldbelly and Flaviar, other financial startups in the beverage sector include RightRice and Sophie’s Kitchen. San Francisco-based RightRice raised $5.5 million. RightRice has developed an alternative to rice created entirely from vegetables. Sophie’s Kitchen, located in Dover, Delaware, raised $5.6 million. They produce plant-based seafood and include non-GMO and gluten-free plant-based vegan seafood alternatives.
In the sector of fine wines, i.e. fine wines, Vinovest, a Californian company that deals with the exchange of fine wines between collectors, is growing rapidly. They have developed a search and exchange platform and also help in the purchase and provide the bottle conservation service. You can see the bottles either via a webcam placed on the shelf or go in person at any time. They also organize exhibitions for collectors who want to present their collections to buyers and investors.
The food market is undoubtedly the evolving sector, both in terms of distribution and logistics systems and new production technologies. Plant foods are becoming increasingly interesting, both in terms of environmental sustainability and access to food. Food&Beverage and venture capital could change all the food market in the world. The bricks for the next food revolution are probably being laid in these years.