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General Mills launches new venture capital offshoot to fund food startups

General Mills is a brand that aims to have its finger on the pulse of whats new and happening in the food manufacturing world, mostly through the conven...

Frazer Jones
|Oct 23|magazine6 min read

General Mills is a brand that aims to have its finger on the pulse of what’s new and happening in the food manufacturing world, mostly through the conventional routes of acquisition and internal product development. But with its latest venture, General Mills plans to use its funding and influence to help small startups direct the future of food. This week General Mills’s 301 INC division announced the launch of a new venture capital program dedicated to supporting young food companies and entrepreneurs with funding and mentoring as they grow their business.

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“The rapidly evolving consumer landscape is dramatically changing the game in the food industry,” said John Haugen, vice president and general manager of 301 INC, in a press release from General Mills announcing the launch. “Tremendous opportunity exists outside of General Mills to partner with and foster emerging food brands. Through these partnerships we will help entrepreneurs scale their vision by providing them with a combination of capital and the capabilities that General Mills has built over the past 150 years in the food industry.”

As Haugen states, 301 INC was originally formed in 2012 to develop new and innovative business models within the confines of General Mills itself. In this new role, 301 INC plans to use the knowledge it gained from those ventures to help emerging small businesses face their challenges and break through to success.  

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“Under our previous model, we were primarily building our own businesses from the ground up,” Haugen added. “That experience was invaluable and has given us significant insights into the challenges small, emerging businesses face in the marketplace.  It has helped us to more clearly define the role 301 INC can play moving forward. We believe we can meet consumer needs faster than ever by combining the vision and passion of entrepreneurs with General Mills extensive capabilities.”