Tyson Foods Inc., through its corporate venture subsidiary Tyson Ventures, has completed an investment in Tovala, a Chicago, Ill.-based food start-up that makes smart countertop steam ovens with fresh, ready-to-cook meals. The terms of the investment are not being disclosed.
In Tovala’s recently closed and announced Series A round of funding, Tyson Ventures now joins a group of investors that includes Origin Ventures, the Pritzker Group, start-up incubator Y Combinator, Morningstar Inc. founder Joe Mansueto and restaurant entrepreneur Larry Levy. The capital raised will be used to support Tovala’s growth, including adding staff across all departments, geographic expansion and investment in product, operations, technology and marketing.
“Our venture capital fund was created to invest in promising entrepreneurs who are on the cutting edge of innovation in the food industry,” said Justin Whitmore, executive vice president corporate strategy and chief sustainability officer of Tyson Foods. “Our investment in Tovala gives us another opportunity to explore new ways of meeting consumer demand and shape the future of food. We look forward to our collaboration.”
Tovala co-founder and chief executive officer David Rabie said the company’s 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,” he said. “We’re excited to work with Tyson Foods to explore bringing a wider variety of meals to our customers' homes."
Tyson Ventures was launched in December 2016 and is focused on investing in promising entrepreneurial food businesses that are pioneering new products or technology.