Too often, women and minority-owned start-ups are overlooked by venture capital firms, and most venture capital money goes to college-educated white males. Specifically in the food tech, less than 3% of funding went to female founders in 2020. Supply Change Capital, founded by Shayna Harris and Noramay Cadena at the end of 2020, aims to flip this standard and invest in food and food tech companies with female, BIPOC, and LGBTQ founders.
To learn more about Supply Change Capital, I spoke on the phone with Shayna Harris, one of the cofounders. Harris said there is essentially a $100 billion opportunity to invest in companies that are making food products that appeal to the growing minority population in the US, which is currently estimated to be around 40% of the total population but will increase to over 50% in the next 25 years.
“With the demographic shifts in this country and a new majority that we will have by 2045, basically with the demographic trends flipping for the first time in our country’s history,” said Harris, “There’s a huge opportunity to ensure that the founders of food companies and food tech companies mirror the demographics of this country.”
There are existing food companies and products that appeal to Black, Latinx, and Asian consumers but many might be considered generic or inauthentic. Harris also shared that through the firm’s research, these minority groups have a strong preference for foods considered “natural and healthy.” Therefore, Supply Change Capital is essentially looking for a few traits when investing in a food company, including sustainable ingredients, unique and flavorful ethnic ingredients, and the ability to appeal to the masses.
Since the firm is just a few months old, it has not yet invested in any start-ups. Harris said the company will be investing in early-stage food start-ups, including both consumer-facing brands and ingredient companies, cutting checks for up to $1 million.