Sea food producer Thai Union Group has announced investments in four companies, including diabetes foodtech innovation company Alchemy Foodtech and investment fund VisVires New Protein (VVNP) — both based in Singapore.
The other two investees are Manna Foods, an insect tech and e-commerce company based in the US, and HydroNeo, an aquaculture technology company based in Germany and Thailand.
The investments were made from Thai Union’s recently-created venture fund, which focuses on alternative protein, functional nutrition and value chain technology startups.
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Alchemy Foodtech is a food science and technology company that develops novel active food ingredients that fight diabetes. By sourcing from nature and proving with science, Alchemy ‘makes bad carbs good’ without change in taste to provide disease management and general public with diabetes prevention.
VVNP backs founders developing transformative solutions for a healthier, safer and more sustainable agri-food system. Founded in 2014, VVNP manages two funds with a global portfolio that includes Ynsect, Nuritas, Mitte, In Ovo, Nutrition Innovation, ViAqua, Aleph Farms and Mushlabs.
HydroNeo develops comprehensive solutions for smart aquaculture management. Its IoT system is designed to integrate into existing production sites to monitor the quality of water for breeding and farming of shrimp and to automate operations.
Through the detection of fluctuations in water quality, farmers are enabled to take countermeasures for reducing the risk of animal losses while the optimised controlling of energy-intensive aeration and feeding increases farm efficiency.
Alchemy, Manna and HydroNeo were part of the first cohort of SPACE-F, the first food tech incubator and accelerator programme in Thailand, which Thai Union is a founding partner of, alongside Mahidol University and Thailand’s National Innovation Agency.
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Thiraphong Chansiri, President and CEO of Thai Union, said: “We are committed to Open Innovation as an important part in Thai Union’s innovation strategy, complementing our in-house innovation efforts. As such, we are working with external parties including universities, research institutions and the broader food tech ecosystem to support and fast-track innovative ideas and technologies.”
“Our venture capital investments in the foodtech space are an important part of this. Of course, our investment in these companies goes beyond a financial commitment as we also intend to provide guidance and support and will look to pursue collaborations wherever possible,” he added.
Thai Union’s venture fund was launched in 2019 with an initial commitment of US$30 million and focuses its investments on three strategic areas: alternative protein, functional nutrition and new technologies along the food value chain.
The fund is investing in early-stage entrepreneurial companies that are active in these areas and will actively partner with these companies to support and accelerate their development.
Image Credit: Thai Union
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