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Tyson Foods invests in food startup Tovala

FBR Staff Writer Published 07 February 2018

US food giant Tyson Foods has invested an undisclosed amount in Chicago-based food startup Tovala, a manufacturer of internet-connected countertop steam ovens with fresh ready-to-cook meals.

The investment was made through Tyson Ventures, which was launched in December 2016 as a $150m venture capital fund by Tyson Foods.

Tyson Ventures aims to help food startups that introduce new technologies and products, and sustainable business models.

The venture subsidiary of Tyson Foods joins other investors such as Origin Ventures, startup incubator Y Combinator, the Pritzker Group, Morningstar founder Joe Mansueto, and restaurant entrepreneur Larry Levy in what was Tovala’s Series A round of funding.

Tyson Foods corporate strategy executive vice president and chief sustainability officer Justin Whitmore said: “Our venture capital fund was created to invest in promising entrepreneurs who are on the cutting edge of innovation in the food industry.

“Our investment in Tovala gives us another opportunity to explore new ways of meeting consumer demand and shape the future of food.”

Tyson Foods said that the new investment will help in the growth of Tovala. This would include addition of staff in all its departments, expansion into other territories, and investment in technology, product, operations and marketing.

Tovala co-founder and CEO David Rabie said: “Our mission is to make it easier for busy people to eat better at home. By controlling the experience end-to-end including the hardware, software, and food, our customers benefit by not having to sacrifice convenience, health, or taste.

“We’re excited to work with Tyson Foods to explore bringing a wider variety of meals to our customers' homes."

Last month, Tyson Ventures made an investment in Memphis Meats, a food tech that produces cultured meat directly from animal cells.

Image: Global headquarters of Tyson Foods in Springdale, Arkansas pictured in 2013. Photo: courtesy of Brandonrush/Wikipedia.org.