Food maker forms $100M venture capital fund


Kellogg Company is based in downtown Battle Creek. Photo via

A food maker in the region has created a new venture capital fund intended to drive the growth of companies "pursuing next-generation innovation, bolstering access to cutting-edge ideas and trends."

Kellogg Company of Battle Creek announced today its eighteen94 capital fund, or 1894, saying it expects to make minority investments totaling about $100 million.

The fund’s “investment mandate” includes startups pioneering new ingredients, foods, packaging and enabling technology.

Kellogg said 1894 will invest specifically 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 fits and have generated initial revenue.

Simon Burton will serve as managing director of 1894.

Burton is a 10-year executive at Kellogg who also has extensive investment experience in the consumer products sector and with startups.

Kellogg has also partnered with Touchdown Ventures, 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," Burton said.

He said Kellogg wants 1894 to become a “destination for ideas."

Gary Pilnick, vice chairman of Kellogg, said consumer preferences are moving toward more “diverse tastes and trends,” and the pace of innovation in the packaged food industry “continues to intensify.”

“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,” Pilnick said.

He said the companies will benefit through “essential growth capital” and access to Kellogg “resources and expertise.” 

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