PowerPlant Ventures, a year-old venture firm supporting plant-centric companies that deliver better and more sustainable nutrition announced the closing of a $42 million fund. Aimed at improving the global food system, the fund’s goal is to leverage the power of plants to support the next wave of better-for-you food companies and brands.
The firm was founded in 2015 by Mark Rampolla, founder of ZICO Coconut Water, which was acquired by Coca-Cola in 2013 along with Kevin Boylan and T.K. Pillan, co-founders of the largest vegetarian restaurant chain in the U.S. and Dan Beldy, former Managing Director of Steamboat Ventures, Disney’s VC arm. Powerplant Ventures plans to advance a portfolio of emerging companies across the intersection of food and technology and work with companies that are focused on impacting the global food system with transparency and sustainability.
Our Take: The food business right now is an investor’s dream: a multi-trillion dollar industry in the middle of some major disruptions. From food shortages and unsustainable food production methods to major innovation happening around food science and technology to generational demand for healthier foods to eat and easier and faster ways to eat them – there’s opportunity at every turn. PowerPlant Ventures wants to invest in companies that are tackling several of these core problems using plant-centric solutions.
Why plants? “Plant-based food companies are changing the world by providing better nutrition delivered in more sustainable and ethical ways,” commented Mark Rampolla, Co-Founder of Powerplant Ventures. The firm and its startup fund will look to tap into the demand created by millennials and younger generations for healthier, more transparent food sources and look for companies crafting efficient solutions that could help solve growing global food shortages. The fund’s initial investments include companies in both those categories, including organic online grocer Thrive Market and cold-press juicer startup Juicero. Food delivery might currently be netting the biggest slice of the food tech investment pie, but healthy and sustainable food investment is catching up.