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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Bluestein Ventures raises $45M for third meals tech fund

Meals tech funding could have declined together with general enterprise capital, however Bluestein Ventures isn’t letting that gradual it down. The Chicago-based early-stage enterprise capital agency closed on $45 million in capital commitments for its Fund III.

Andrew Bluestein, co-managing associate of Bluestein Ventures, based the agency in 2014 and introduced on Ashley Hartman, additionally co-managing associate, eight years in the past. They be part of different enterprise capital corporations, like Kost Capital, Provide Change Capital and Joyful Ventures, which have lately raised new funds to spend money on meals tech.

Bluestein Ventures invests at pre-seed to Sequence A and has amassed a portfolio of over 50 firms, concentrating on consumer-facing know-how throughout the meals provide chain like well being and wellness, proprietary foodtech, commerce and digital know-how.

Earlier investments embrace Factor75, a ready meal supply service acquired by HelloFresh in 2020; Foxtrot, a bunch of tech-enabled nook shops; FourKites, which developed freight visibility software program; and Meati, a mycelium-based different protein. It was additionally an early investor in New Tradition, which is creating animal-free cheese merchandise.

The primary two funds have been anchored by the Bluestein Household, which incorporates Ilene Gordon, former chairman and CEO of ingredient firm Ingredion, and Bram Bluestein, a agency advisor.

Along with the household workplace, the third fund is the primary to incorporate a bunch of exterior traders. The group consists of strategics, further household places of work, executives and entrepreneurs from the meals sector. In reference to the brand new fund, Bluestein and Hartman are joined by Lindsay Levin, who was beforehand chief advertising and marketing officer at RXBAR, as enterprise associate.

“After we began Bluestein Ventures, individuals would ask us why we have been investing in meals,” Bluestein advised TechCrunch. “Now that we’ve seen lots of the traits round customers altering their consumption habits or the main focus extra on well being and wellness, it’s a a lot simpler dialog to have.”

The agency intends to deploy Fund III into between 20 and 25 firms. It has already invested in just a few firms, together with BiomeSense, an end-to-end platform to scale intestine microbiome analysis and testing; WECO Hospitality, a chef-quality ready meal supply service; and Attane Well being, a market for meals prescriptions for these with power circumstances.

Meals know-how, just like healthcare know-how, can take some R&D time to be absolutely developed. Bluestein Ventures believes the sector is at some main inflection factors that can speed up innovation within the subsequent few years, particularly as extra customers prioritize their well being and wellness, Hartman advised TechCrunch.

Add in applied sciences which can be advancing, like synthetic intelligence, machine studying and artificial biology fermentation. On the regulatory aspect, the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration is approving new elements and gadgets and serving to to reframe well being.

“We take a course of strategy to our investing throughout the provision chain, and we’re investing within the earliest levels of an organization’s lifecycle,” Hartman advised TechCrunch. “For Fund III, we’re persevering with to construct out a portfolio with an emphasis on how we rework the meals system. Our broad themes this time are diet, sustainability and digitization. We search for what is occurring on the early levels of innovation inside these areas.”

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