Costa Yiannoulis, CIO at CPT Capital and Nick Rosa, Founder & Managing Director, Cultivian Sandbox Ventures share their insights ahead of their panel discussions at Future Food-Tech London.
Can you tell us more about CPT Capital and Cultivian Sandbox Ventures’ focus and what you look for in a food-tech start-up?
CY: CPT Capital is the venture arm of private equity pioneer Jeremy Coller’s private family office with a mission to drive the food technology revolution through investment. We partner with visionary companies using cutting- edge technologies to replace animals in the supply chain and shape the future of protein.
The three main areas we focus on are plant-based proteins (our portfolio includes Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Good Catch), recombinant proteins (our portfolio includes Perfect Day, Geltor, Clara Foods) and cell culture (our portfolio includes Memphis Meats, Aleph Farms and 3F Bio).
Ultimately, we make investment decisions based on the potential for extraordinary capital growth. We invest all the way from pre-seed onwards (ideally getting involved from pre-seed to Series B) with a view to continually backing the company all the way – be that to a sale, an IPO, or longer term.
NR: Cultivian Sandbox Ventures is focused in three general areas:
1.) We are interested in companies that are participating in some of the major trends driven by the rapidly shifting consumer attitudes (basically food that is healthy, simple, economical and contributes to sustainability).
2.) We always look for great teams…balanced teams, that are great technologically and have a good sense of what business model will work to bring their technology to market.
3.) We always are on the lookout for early-stage companies that can ramp up quickly and have identifiable and quantitative milestones.
Another measure we use is the question of whether, when we unlock the door, it opens to a ballroom and not a closet.
What has been the most exciting or surprising investment so far this year?
CY: There has been so much happening for us in the food tech space this year.
Our very first investee company was Beyond Meat, and the run-away success of its IPO this year has been an important milestone for the sector. The firm’s stock price soared to three times its listing price in its first day of trading, making it not only the best first day for a food company, but the best first day for any US IPO in a very long time.
One of our most exciting new investments is Motif Ingredients. Launched as a spin-out of biotech unicorn Ginkgo Bioworks, Motif raised the largest Series A in food-tech to date at over $90m. The company is poised to transform the space by providing ingredients for the next generation of plant-based and healthy foods (both to start-ups and incumbents). We are looking forward to following their progress over the next year and beyond.
NR: It’s always hard to pick favourites but Phylagen comes to mind. By analyzing microbial fingerprints Phylagen could be a transformative platform across multiple industries…including food.
What advice would you give to a start-up when seeking investment?
What will you be looking out for at Future Food-Tech London this year?
CY: I’ll be looking out for passionate, dynamic founders with new approaches to solving the pain-points of our broken food system. I’m looking forward to sharing ideas and insights with the delegates, who are always an animated group of global thought leaders and innovators in the space.
NR: This year at Future Food-Tech London I’ll be on the lookout for new opportunities. I met Nuritas, one of our best portfolio companies at this conference a couple of years ago! Of course, it is always interesting to see the trends that are manifested into companies by entrepreneurs…it’s the entrepreneurs and not the large multinationals that determine what the future will be!
Nick will be chairing the opening panel: Transforming Health Outcomes through Ingredient Innovation on Day 1, October 17 and will be joined by:
Hanne Sondergaard, CMO, EVP of Marketing, Innovation, Communication & Sustainability, ARLA FOODS
Jochen Heininger, Vice President Marketing & Product Mgmt, ADM
Erica Sheward, VP Business Development, LEATHERHEAD FOOD RESEARCH
Ellen de Brabander, SVP R&D, PEPSICO
Costa will be chairing the panel: Overcoming Obstacles to Scale Cellular Agriculture on Day 2, October 18 and will be joined by:
Peter Verstrate, COO, MOSA MEAT
Lou Cooperhouse, CEO & Founder, BLUENALU
John Carrigan, Chief Scientific Advisor, REBELBIO