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thecultivatedb, germany

  • Writer's picturePhoebe Fraser

Joyful Ventures launches $23m fund to propel sustainable protein sector

Venture capital newcomer Joyful Ventures has announced the successful closing of £23 million of its $25 million fund, aimed at catalysing the global animal protein industry towards sustainable, regenerative food solutions.

Joyful Ventures is led by partners Milo Runkle, Jennifer Stojkovic and Blaine Vess, who have a wealth of expertise in the alt-protein sector, entrepreneurship and investment. They plan to channel the fund into pre-seed and seed-stage startups from across the globe that disrupt and innovate the food system.

The target technologies include plant-based, precision fermentation, mycoproteins, molecular agriculture and cultivated technologies, with a strong focus on B2B opportunities.

Cell-based sausage
Ivy Farm's cell-based sausage

Joyful Ventures’ co-founder and general partner, Jennifer Stojkovic, said: "We're not just passively investing in promising sustainable food technology startups. Our team is fully committed to leveraging our expertise, powerful network and industry insights to nurture our portfolio companies, guiding them towards growth and success. Not many in the industry have access to the industry’s top founders and CEOs at their fingertips like our team. This kind of connectedness and mentorship experience is invaluable for our founders."

Stojkovic continued: “Rather than trying to deal with the carbon, methane and the nitrogen that we're creating, let’s prevent it from happening by changing what is on our plates. Boston Consulting Group found that investing in plant-based protein is 11 times more impactful from a climate investment perspective than EVs, it's three times more impactful than decarbonising cement, and four times more impactful than green building, and yet that's where you keep continuing to see most of the investments go."

"If you are interested in investing in climate, and you want real, scalable, quick solutions, there's nothing better than food.”

Stojkovic built her career in the tech industry under Silicon Valley’s most prolific venture capitalist, Ron Conway, and worked with the industry’s leading companies including Google, Microsoft and Meta. In 2020, she leveraged her expertise to found the Vegan Women Summit, the “world’s largest” platform of future of food professionals.

Milo Runkle founded Mercy For Animals and co-founded New Crop Capital and The Good Food Institute. He has dedicated his career to advocating for food system reform and pioneering the alt-protein sector.

Blaine Vess is an entrepreneur and investor who has a proven track record in successful startup exits. She brings extensive investment experience to Joyful Ventures, having backed over fifty early-stage companies.

Joyful Ventures' founders
Joyful Ventures' founders (left to right) Blaine Vess, Jennifer Stojkovic and Milo Runkle

Joyful Ventures' advisory team and LPs encompass a large variety of global industry founders and CEOs representing diverse voices and perspectives, including Bjorn Oste, co-founder of Oatly, Sandhya Sriram, CEO of Shiok Meats, Ryan Bethencourt, co-founder of Indie Bio and CEO of Wild Earth and Arturo Elizondo, CEO of EVERY.

Joyful Ventures says it is the industry’s only LGBTQ- and woman-led firm – it is dedicated to providing unique and diverse investments into the future of food and driving change through powerful climate solutions.

#JoyfulVentures #US

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