Global RIFF (Revolution in Food Fund), San Francisco, is a new breed of FoodTech venture capital fund looking to transform an unsustainable and unhealthy food system. Global RIFF is comprised of leading food executives supported by an investment analytics platform to help discover, select, invest and develop food start-ups and founders with business models in sustainability and scalability.
"Between dwindling natural resources, undernourished populations, food waste, food allergies, obesity epidemics and food safety issues, today's food landscape is structurally unsustainable and unacceptable," says Manuel Gonzalez, founding partner, as well as founder of FoodBytes! and the TERRA Accelerator. "At Global RIFF, our mission is to unlock the future of food by investing in companies where social good meets scale. Our bet is that the sustainability and wellness sectors will outpace the conventional market, and that we can greatly improve our chances of success with an investment platform that combines artificial and human intelligence."
Global RIFF will deploy a proprietary technology combined with human intelligence to evaluate more than 1,500 early-stage food start-ups. Companies selected by the technology-generated short list will be evaluated by Global RIFF's panel of seasoned executives and entrepreneurs. This technology-plus-human process allows Global RIFF to discover, select and invest in companies with the most potential to develop into full-fledged brands.
In addition to Gonzalez, the Global RIFF team includes:
- Elliot Begoun – Author, food strategist, investment and screening committee
- Chiara Cecchini – Co-founder of Future Food Americas and venture partner
- Chuck Cotter – Legal advisor, food venture investment expert
- Michael Dean – Founding partner of AgFunder and innovator
- Dr. Rob Leclerc – Founding partner of AgFunder and data scientist
- Andrea Magelli – Entrepreneur, innovator, investment and screening committee
- Lisa May – Fulle founder and holistic leadership expert
- Scott May – MISTA founder, food scientist, investment and screening committee
- Jill Portman – Co-founder of Mighty Leaf Tea and food innovator
- Sara Roversi – Founder of Future Food Institute and investment and screening committee
- Danny Rubenstein – Entrepreneur, food strategist, investment and screening committee
- Gary Shinner – Co-founder of Mighty Leaf Tea and food innovator
- Tim West – Food strategist, executive producer of Food Hackathon, investment and screening committee
"We are looking to have an impact on the ways in which we as an industry develop food, as well as the myriad of ways people relate to and think about food," says Portman. "We decided to be part of Global RIFF as advisors and early investors because we are interested in unlocking the future of food and becoming part of the fabric of connectivity where great founders are discovered, invested in and developed, improving human lives while protecting the planet."
The start-up companies Global RIFF nurtures will focus on solutions for the most pressing issues plaguing the food industry, such as:
- Diversifying and increasing plant-based protein consumption, which is healthier and more sustainable compared to processed meats and seafoods.
- Supporting growth in the healthy snack and beverage category and providing personalized and customized nutrition and experiences by harnessing real foods and short ingredient lists.
- Shortening the food supply chain distance, reducing carbon footprints and tapping into consumer preference for locally- and regionally-sourced ingredients.
Global RIFF expects to be fully funded by the summer and ready to put the investment and incubation ecosystem to work.