The fund will focus on early-stage companies in Europe developing technological innovations aimed at solving key challenges such as the move to healthier food, shorter supply chains, personalised nutrition and alternative proteins.
Companies can apply directly to Five Seasons Ventures, be referred or may be approached directly.
The initial investment themes for the fund include “shifting diets”, focusing on companies that work on tech solutions for better food and nutrition; “further transparency in the value chain” on the journey from farm to fork; and “reducing wasted calories”, which will address unused production and food waste.
The first tranche of funding would also look at technology that would increase agricultural yield without additional pressure on land resources or the environment, according to Five Seasons.
The company said the surge in innovation in this area was due to a shift in the consumer mindset, the lowering cost of technology, as well as the misalignment between global demand and supply of food.
Five Seasons Ventures was established by co-founding partners Ivan Farneti and Niccolò Manzoni.
Farneti has 20 years of technology venture investment experience and was previously founding partner of Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures and a board member of Seedcamp.
Manzoni was among the first European investors to back 10 innovative food companies such as Impossible Foods, Perfect Day, Beyond Meat, Clear Labs and Memphis Meats.
Farneti said: “In 2018, the opportunity for venture investing in food tech reminds me of where software and the internet were back in 1997, when a huge wave of innovation was not yet met by an adequate supply of capital. This is the time to invest in this sector, bringing together institutional capital and the venture investor mindset.”
Manzoni said: “Increasingly we are seeing consumers become more conscious about their nutrition, on everything from the reduction of salt, saturated fats and sugar, to personalised nutrition and the benefits of understanding our gut microbiota.
“Timing is everything and Five Seasons is looking for game-changing companies that have proven technology, early commercial traction, and are strategically attractive to food corporates.”
Five Seasons Ventures is backed by the European Investment Fund, Nestlé, Fondo Italiano d’Investimento, Bpifrance, selected family offices and successful entrepreneurs.