General Mills announced its venture capital arm, 301 INC, will invest a combined $15 million into two early-stage venture capital funds, Fearless Fund and Supply Change Capital. These investments are part of General Mills’ commitment to standing for good and promoting racial and gender equity in representation through economic opportunity for minority and female food entrepreneurs.
These two investments focus on supporting founders from underrepresented groups and will be designated for food-related businesses that seek to drive systemic impact and financial returns:
• Fearless Fund, a fund built by women of color, invests in women-of-color-led businesses seeking pre-seed, seed-level or series A financing, with a mission to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for founders building scalable, growth aggressive companies.
• Supply Change Capital, a women and Latina powered venture firm, invests at the intersection of food, culture and technology. The firm catalyzes early stage food and food tech founders with a focus on sustainability, health and diversity.
“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, General Mills. “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.”
301 INC and General Mills are committed to using their scale and expertise to improve equity in food access and representation. Since the reorganization of General Mills’ corporate venture capabilities into a Disruptive Growth organization in June 2021, approximately 80 percent of 301 INC investment dollars have gone to minority-led or female-led food businesses, including Grub Market, Pet Plate and Everything Legendary.
“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,” says Arian Simone, general partner and co-founder, Fearless Fund. “We are thrilled to grant General Mills investment dollars to women of color who are looking to cook up the next revolutionary culinary brand.”
“Food and food systems are at the heart of our culture and economy,” says Noramay Cadena, co-founder and managing partner, 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.”
General Mills’ commitment to fostering job creation and economic development through supplier diversity
General Mills has been committed to establishing and growing relationships with certified diverse suppliers in the U.S. for more than 50 years. In 2021, the company launched a sponsorship program to fund and support diverse small businesses in attaining their Diverse Business Enterprise Certification.