Big Idea Ventures Partners With AAK To Push Alternative Protein Ingredient Innovation

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New York and Singapore-based venture capital firm Big Idea Ventures (BIV) and AAK, the Swedish-Danish specialty oils and fats giant, has forged a new partnership to speed up the development of alternative protein ingredient solutions. Investing in BIV’s early-stage food tech fund, AAK will provide capital and its expertise to support the fast-growing cell-based and plant-based meat, seafood and dairy categories. 

Teaming up with alternative protein focused venture capital and accelerator BIV, AAK Group plans to support startups developing crucial food solutions and create opportunities for potential collaborations with food industry giants, the Malmö-headquartered company announced on Monday (March 15). AAK will invest in the BIV’s New Protein Fund I, a fund for early-stage startups in the plant-based and cell-based protein, ingredients and technology space

It will further collaborate with BIV to provide a joint platform to support the growth of the alternative protein sector, especially in the realm of ingredients, where startups can tap into the industry expertise and know-how of the AAK Group, as well as the group’s innovation infrastructure, which includes a newly constructed Plant-Based Foods Global Centre of Excellence in the Netherlands to open later this year. 

AAK’s Plant-Based Foods Global Centre of Excellence in the Netherlands is set to be operational later this year (Source: AAK)

AAK gets closer to prospering early-stage businesses who are active within one of our key growth segments.

Johan Westman, President & CEO, AAK Group

“By combining capital and partnership, New Protein Fund I is targeting to build and accelerate future global companies in the plant-based, cell-based, and alternative protein ecosystem,” commented Johan Westman, president and CEO of the AAK Group. 

“With this investment, AAK gets closer to prospering early-stage businesses who are active within one of our key growth segments. We will also be able to collaborate with other fund partners and investors, including some of the most important industry front-runners in the world.”

Niall Sands, president of plant-based foods at AAK, adds that the investment is part of the firm’s pivot in response to the rising demand from consumers in the wake of the coronavirus, which has brought into light the vulnerabilities and dangers of the animal supply chain and elevated health and immunity concerns. 

Singapore Vegan Food Tech Karana Closes US$1.7M Seed Funding
BIV has backed Singapore startup Karana and its natural plant-based meat alternatives made from young jackfruit (Source: Karana)

“Driven by an increased focus on health, well-being, sustainability and climate concerns among many consumers, the long-term outlook for meat and dairy alternatives is very strong. By investing in BIV’s New Protein Fund I, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to future food innovation,” said Sands. 

AAK’s partnership will provide expertise for ingredients that are vitally important to the production of plant- and cell-based foods being developed by the world’s most promising entrepreneurs.

Andrew D. Ive, Founder & General Managing Partner, BIV

BIV says that the partnership with AAK will accelerate the fund’s global footprint and assist startups who are innovating critical food solutions to meet the food challenges of the future as climate change continues to intensify. Among some of the most promising food techs that the New Protein Fund has backed include India’s plant-based egg startup Evo Foods, Australian carbon neutral vegan “veef” maker Fenn Foods, Singapore-based jackfruit meat alternative Karana, and French cell-based foie gras startup Gourmey

“We’re pleased AAK has joined our world-class corporate partners as an investor in the New Protein Fund as it will allow us to strengthen our reach in both Europe and Asia,” commented Andrew D. Ive, founder and general managing partner of BIV. “AAK’s partnership will provide expertise for ingredients that are vitally important to the production of plant- and cell-based foods being developed by the world’s most promising entrepreneurs.”


Lead image courtesy of Beyond Meat.


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