MINNEAPOLIS — 301 INC, a venture capital arm of General Mills, Inc. is investing a combined $15 million into Fearless Fund and Supply Change Capital. Both companies are women- and minority-owned, early-stage venture capital funds that seek to expand financial opportunity for underrepresented entrepreneurs in the food industry.
Fearless Fund, co-founded by Ayana Parsons and Arian Simone, invests pre-seed, seed-level or series A funding in women-of-color-led businesses with the stated mission of bridging venture capital funding gaps and building growth-aggressive companies.
“Access to capital is one of the most prominent hurdles to women of color reaching their potential as founders, despite having an excellent track record in building successful businesses built on great ideas,” said Ms. Simone, general partner and co-founder. “We are thrilled to grant General Mills investment dollars to women of color who are looking to cook up the next revolutionary culinary brand.”
Supply Change Capital is a women- and Latina-run venture capital firm co-founded by Noramay Cadena and Shayna Harris. The company’s focus is investing in businesses that exist on the intersection of food, culture and technology, with a primary interest in diversifying the industry playing field.
“Food and food systems are at the heart of our culture and economy,” said Ms. Cadena, co-founder and managing partner. “As the multicultural consumer population in the US grows, we are focused on unlocking change in the venture ecosystem to infuse women and people of color with the capital they need to shape our future food landscape. We’re thrilled to have the support of General Mills in our network.”
In June 2021, General Mills reorganized its corporate venture capabilities into a “Disruptive Growth” organization. Since then, approximately 80% of 301 INC funding has been invested in women- and minority-led food businesses.
“We experience firsthand the expertise and passion of the diverse and female founders within our 301 INC portfolio, and yet there is a systemic gap for minority food entrepreneurs looking for early-stage venture capital funding,” said Doug Martin, chief brand and disruptive growth officer of General Mills. “We’re excited to join forces with these amazing partners to uncover and accelerate more founders, at earlier stages.”