Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, Mich., established eighteen94 capital (1894) to make minority investments in companies pursuing next-generation innovation, bolstering access to cutting-edge ideas and trends. The investment mandate includes start-up businesses pioneering new ingredients, foods, packaging and technology.
"As consumer preferences move toward more diverse tastes and trends, the pace of innovation in the packaged food industry continues to intensify," says Gary Pilnick, vice chairman. "By investing directly in the most promising entrepreneurs and ventures, we can increase greatly our access to game-changing ideas and trends that could become significant sources of growth for us. At the same time, we will be providing these companies with essential growth capital and access to Kellogg resources and expertise, which will help drive their ideas and businesses. It's truly a win-win."
1894 intends to invest approximately $100 million. As a result, it will play an important role in achieving Kellogg's 2020 strategic growth objectives, which were outlined in Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ May 2016 issue. 1894 will invest in emerging businesses in both Kellogg's core categories and adjacent categories, and in companies that have developed new consumer-driven technologies that could lead to long-term, mutual growth opportunities. While stage-agnostic, the fund will emphasize early stage opportunities with companies that have demonstrated good product and market fit and have generated initial revenue.
1894 will be managed by Simon Burton, managing director, a 10-year executive at Kellogg who also maintains extensive investment experience in the consumer products sector and with start-ups. In addition, Kellogg partnered with Touchdown Ventures, Los Angeles, which specializes in corporate venture capital, to assist with management of the fund.
"We want to help take our partners' innovative spirit and passion as far as they can go," adds Burton. "We want to help create the ideal conditions for growth; that's why we believe that 1894 will become the destination for ideas."