General Mills Invests $15M in VC Funds For Minority, Women Entrepreneurs
General Mills on Wednesday announced a $15 million investment into two early-stage venture capital funds, both of which have been launched by women of color.
The Golden Valley-based food giant made the combined investment into venture capital funds Fearless Fund and Supply Change Capital through its venture capital arm known as 301 Inc. Both of the funds say they’re working to supply capital to minority and women entrepreneurs.
The effort is part of General Mills’ commitment to promoting racial and gender equity by supporting economic opportunity for minority and female food entrepreneurs, according to a news release announcing the investment.
Since a June 2021 reorganization of General Mills’ corporate ventures, approximately 80% of 301 Inc.’s investment dollars have gone to minority- or female-led food businesses, including Black-owned vegan burger startup Everything Legendary.
“We experience firsthand the expertise and passion of the diverse and female founders within our 301 Inc. portfolio, and yet there is a systemic gap for minority food entrepreneurs looking for early-stage venture capital funding,” said Doug Martin, chief brand and disruptive growth officer for General Mills, in the release. “We’re excited to join forces with these amazing partners to uncover and accelerate more founders, at earlier stages. Closing this gap means more great innovation in our food system — from new concepts to emerging food technologies — and more inclusive cycles of opportunity for entrepreneurs, companies and communities.”
Fearless Fund was built by women of color and invests in women-of-color-led businesses seeking pre-seed, seed-level, or series A financing. The fund’s mission is to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for founders building scalable, growth aggressive companies.
“Access to capital is one of the most prominent hurdles to women of color reaching their potential as founders, despite having an excellent track record in building successful businesses built on great ideas,” said Arian Simone, general partner and co-founder of Fearless Fund, in a statement. “We are thrilled to grant General Mills investment dollars to women of color who are looking to cook up the next revolutionary culinary brand.”
Supply Change Capital is a women and Latina-powered venture firm that invests at the intersection of food, culture, and technology, according to the release. The firm catalyzes early-stage food and food tech founders with a focus on sustainability, health and diversity.
“Food and food systems are at the heart of our culture and economy,” said Noramay Cadena, co-founder and managing partner for Supply Change Capital. “As the multicultural consumer population in the U.S. grows, we are focused on unlocking change in the venture ecosystem to infuse women and people of color with the capital they need to shape our future food landscape. We’re thrilled to have the support of General Mills in our network.”