Kraft Heinz is putting a large chunk of capital behind its declared goal of driving growth through food innovations.
The company has committed up to $100 million to Evolv Ventures, a new venture fund dedicated to investing in emerging tech companies with promise for “transforming the food industry.”
Kraft Heinz has hired venture investor Bill Pescatello to lead the Chicago-based fund.
Pescatello was most recently a partner in Lightbank, a venture capital fund founded by entrepreneurs Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell. He was also a founding member of the Peacock Equity Fund, a $250 million global capital fund of GE Capital and NBCUniversal.
Kraft Heinz -- which, like other traditional food CPG giants, has struggled to achieve growth as consumers turn to fresh,
“clean” products -- has been pushing to drive new revenue through product innovations within existing brands. Recent examples have included the much-heralded Mayochup, now hitting stores,
and a line of edible toys from Jell-O.
But the fund will enable Kraft Heinz to move beyond brands, “to have a committed first look at our industry’s most promising and disruptive tech-enabled companies,” summed up Pescatello.
“New technological innovations in the food industry create endless new opportunities to strengthen business models,” stated Kraft Heinz CEO Bernardo Hees. “Through Evolv Ventures, we will work with tomorrow’s most innovative founders and companies in the space, and use the full resources of Kraft Heinz to help them succeed.”