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First ViewsFood & BeverageMay 24, 20220Venadar Food & Beverage Startup Predictions Net Nearly $232M in Funding in Last 15 Months

by Brooke Bender

Venadar published a “First View” of the Future of Food & Beverage in late February 2021 to identify key trends driving innovation and illustrated those trends with our predictions about the best startups in each categoryWe forecasted that entrepreneurial companies in food science, food safety, and packaging would make the biggest impact on the future of the food & beverage, and investors validated our findings by pushing more than $232M in funding to startups highlighted in our reportAdditionally, 2 of the companies profiled were acquired

Food Science category included an acquisition & $70M in funding 

Food scientists and entrepreneurs are continuing to create science-based technologies to optimize food & beverage products.  We saw predictive AI platforms that can understand consumer taste and preferences.  Digitized taste and scent can give the tongue and mouth the perception of flavor.  Since the report was published, of the 9 companies profiled in this trend vector: 

  • Cultured Decadence, which uses cell culture and tissue engineering techniques to make lobster and crab meat directly from animals’ cells was acquired by Upside Foods in January 2022. 
  • Turtletree Labs, which uses cell-based technology to produce clean milk and cultured milk products, received $30M in Series A funding in a deal led by Verso Holdings in July 2021. 13 other investors also participated in the round. 
    • Ceres, offering an aerial spectral imagery and analytics platform designed to optimize crop production with sensors, software, and aircraft, raised $23M in Series C venture fundin
      g in a deal led by XTX Ventures and REMUS Capital in October 2021. Insight Partners, Neventa Capital, Romulus Capital, B37 Ventures, and No Talking Capital also participated in the round.
    • Shiru, which uses machine learning and precision biology to identify and create ideal food proteins, raised $17M in Series A venture funding from Lux Capital, CPT Capital, and S2G Ventures in October 2021.  The company was also awarded a €50K prize from YesDelft and DSM Meat Replacement Innovation Challenge in March 2021. 


Food Safety startups identified by Venadar raised $130M, including an acquisition 

Food safety innovations are paramount for fruit, vegetable, meat, and seafood providers.  New products can determine actual spoilage, instead of relying on suggested “best/use by” dates that may cause unnecessary food waste.  All-natural protective barriers can delay spoilage.  Entire automation platforms can enable end-to-end autonomous cold chain sensor monitoring.  Machine learning and hyperspectral technology can provide real-time and non-invasive data about the quality and status of food products.  All these innovations help reduce risk, prevent waste, and help guarantee consistent quality.  Of 7 startups profiled, 3 received funding and 1 was acquired: 

  • SnapDNA, who offers on-site pathogen testing technology intended to create a rapid pathogen detection system for food processing facilities, joined Advanced Industries Accelerator in November 2021 and received $250K in funding.  Additionally, the company raised an undisclosed amount of venture funding in a deal led by Republic in September 2021 and raised $1.07M of equity crowdfunding via Republic in April 2021. 
  • Mori, a developer of all-natural preservatives intended to extend the life of food products, raised $52.35M of Series B1 venture funding in a deal led by Prelude Ventures in March 2022.  Additionally, Mori raised $16M of Series B venture funding in a deal led by Drawdown Fund in March 2021. 
  • Clear Labs, which provides a genomic-based testing platform intended to offer food safety and quality programs, raised $60M of Series C venture funding in a deal led by Morgan Stanley and T. Rowe Price in May 2021. 
  • Impact Vision, a food security and quality software platform designed to build a transparent and secure global food system and prevent food waste, was acquired by Apeel Sciences for an undisclosed amount in May 2021. 


Packaging innovators net $32.05M in funding 

Packaging remains a key area of focus for food & beverage entrepreneurs.  Environmentally friendly is now a mandatory attribute, while packaging to extend food freshness and intelligent bioengineered solutions continues to show promise.  Supply chain traceability and monitoring were also key contributors of growth in the packaging category. 

  • Stenco, the creator of compostable oxygen barrier technology designed to extend shelf life in the single-use packaging, joined SparkLabs Group as part of 4th Cohort in April 2021 and received $50K in funding. 
  • Talkin’Things, a developer of an IoT packaging platform designed to help brands benefit from connected products throughout the entire supply chain, raised $20M of venture funding from Prosegur, TDJ Pitango Ventures, and Piotr Debicki in May 2022. 
  • AANIKA, which offers customized microbial-based tags designed to track, trace, and authenticate products through the supply chain, raised $12M through a combination of Series A1 and Series A2 venture funding in a deal led by ADIT Ventures in December 2021.  AANIKA also raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Plug and Play Tech Center in March 2021. 


PE and VC firms are driving investment in this category, and flooding startups with capital.  Are corporations doing enough to keep up?  Venadar can help identify key growth areas and work with corporate strategy teams and CVCs to make sure they are finding the right strategic partners to invest in to make their mark on the future of the category and stay competitive. 

These First View reports are generalized category analyses meant to illustrate the Venadar process.  The high-level First View can identify the most promising startups in a category that are directly addressing relevant trends.  What’s the next innovation trend in Food & Beverage and where are the best emerging startups?  Contact us today to see how we can create a bespoke report to directly address strategic gaps and challenges you face and identify the right partners to help you move into the future with targeted innovation efforts.   

To view the full Food & Beverage First View report (and all other categories) visit www.venadar.com/insights   


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