Bluestein Ventures Secures $45M in Third Food Tech Fund

Food tech investment may have declined along with overall venture capital, but Bluestein Ventures is not letting that slow it down. The Chicago-based early-stage venture capital firm closed on $45 million in capital commitments for its Fund III. Andrew Bluestein, co-managing partner of Bluestein Ventures, founded the firm in 2014 and brought on Ashley Hartman, also co-managing partner, eight years ago. They join other venture capital firms, like Kost Capital, Supply Change Capital and Joyful Ventures, that have recently raised new funds to invest in food tech. “When we started Bluestein Ventures, people would ask us why we were investing in food,” Bluestein told TechCrunch.

Despite a decline in overall venture capital investments, the innovative minds at Bluestein Ventures continue to push forward in the world of food tech. Recently, the Chicago-based early-stage venture capital firm closed a significant deal by securing $45 million in capital commitments for its Fund III.

Andrew Bluestein, co-managing partner of Bluestein Ventures, founded the firm in 2014 and enlisted the help of co-managing partner Ashley Hartman eight years ago. They are among the ranks of other successful venture capital firms, including Kost Capital, Supply Change Capital, and Joyful Ventures, who have also raised new funds to invest in food tech.

Bluestein Ventures primarily invests in pre-seed to Series A stages and boasts a portfolio of over 50 companies. Their focus is on consumer-facing technology that spans the entire food supply chain, such as health and wellness, proprietary foodtech, commerce, and digital technology.

Among their previous successful investments are Factor75, a meal delivery service that was acquired by HelloFresh in 2020; Foxtrot, a collection of tech-enabled corner stores; FourKites, a company that developed freight visibility software; and Meati, a producer of alternative protein using mycelium-based technology. Bluestein Ventures was also an early supporter of New Culture, a company that works to create animal-free cheese products.

The first two funds for Bluestein Ventures were anchored by the Bluestein Family, which includes notable names such as Ilene Gordon, the former chairman and CEO of ingredient company Ingredion, and Bram Bluestein, a firm advisor.

However, the third and most recent fund is the first to include a group of external investors. This group consists of strategics, family offices, industry executives, and entrepreneurs from the food sector. In connection with this new fund, Bluestein and Hartman are joined by Lindsay Levin, who previously held the role of chief marketing officer at RXBAR, as a venture partner.

“When we started Bluestein Ventures, people questioned our decision to invest in food. Now, with shifting consumer habits and a growing focus on health and wellness, it’s a conversation that is much easier to have.”

– Andrew Bluestein

The firm plans to allocate Fund III towards 20 to 25 companies. A few companies have already received investments from Bluestein Ventures, including BiomeSense, a platform for gut microbiome research and testing; WECO Hospitality, a high-quality prepared meal delivery service; and Attane Health, a marketplace for food prescriptions for individuals with chronic conditions.

Like healthcare technology, food technology often requires significant research and development time to reach its full potential. Bluestein Ventures believes that the sector is at a crucial turning point, and that significant advancements will be made in the next few years. This is especially true as more and more consumers prioritize their health and wellness, according to Hartman in an interview with TechCrunch.

In addition to consumer demand, advances in technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and synthetic biology fermentation are also contributing to the growth of the food tech industry. And on the regulatory side, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is approving new ingredients and devices, paving the way for innovation and transformation in the sector.

“Our investment process is focused on the entire supply chain, and we like to get involved in the earliest stages of a company’s lifespan,” Hartman added. “For Fund III, we’re specifically seeking out companies that are revolutionizing the food system. Our key focus areas this time around are nutrition, sustainability, and digitization. We’re always on the lookout for emerging innovations in these spaces.”

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Dylan Williams

Dylan Williams is a multimedia storyteller with a background in video production and graphic design. He has a knack for finding and sharing unique and visually striking stories from around the world.

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