Joyful Ventures: Revolutionizing the Sustainable Protein Startup Landscape

Sustainable protein startups are at the forefront of transforming the global food ecosystem. With the increasing demand for alternative protein products, innovative companies are emerging to address the environmental and ethical concerns associated with traditional animal-based protein production. One such company leading the charge is Joyful Ventures, a venture capital fund that recently closed a $23 million investment round focused on supporting startups in the sustainable protein sector. In this article, we will delve into the mission of Joyful Ventures, explore the reasons behind their focus on sustainable proteins, and discuss the fundraising environment they encountered. We will also highlight their investment criteria and emphasize the significance of their recent investments in New School Foods and Orbillion Bio. Join us as we explore the exciting world of Joyful Ventures and the future of sustainable protein startups.

The founders of Joyful Ventures, Jennifer Stojkovic, Milo Runkle, and Blaine Vess, share a common vision of driving climate solutions through sustainable protein startups. Their extensive experience in the industry and passion for creating enduring change led them to establish this woman and LGBTQIA+-led fund. Jennifer Stojkovic, founder of the Vegan Women Summit, brings her expertise in promoting diversity and empowering women in the vegan space. Milo Runkle, co-founder of The Good Food Institute, is a recognized leader in the alternative protein movement. Blaine Vess, co-founder of edtech startup Student Brands, adds his entrepreneurial acumen to the team. Together, they form a formidable partnership committed to driving innovation in the sustainable protein sector.

When it comes to sustainable proteins, Joyful Ventures takes a holistic approach. They recognize that transforming the food system requires addressing every aspect of the process, from reducing water footprints and improving plant protein crop texturing to developing end products that align with consumer preferences. While the protein aspects are crucial in terms of emissions, a comprehensive transformation of the system is necessary. Joyful Ventures considers various technologies, including plant-based, precision fermentation, mycoproteins, molecular agriculture, and cultivated technologies, that have the potential to revolutionize the industry. By investing in startups that are innovating in these areas, Joyful Ventures aims to drive meaningful change and contribute to a more sustainable and ethical food ecosystem.

Launching a venture capital fund is no easy feat, and Joyful Ventures faced its fair share of challenges. The fundraising environment proved to be tough, with the founders encountering obstacles along the way. It took several months, from November to June, to secure the initial investments needed to launch the fund. However, despite the difficulties, the team at Joyful Ventures remains elated and optimistic about the future. They recognize the immense potential of the alternative protein space and are confident in the enduring impact their investments can make. Joyful Ventures understands that investing in the sustainable protein sector is a long game, requiring dedication and a commitment to sustainable change that can save the planet.

Joyful Ventures seeks out founders who are in it for the long haul, individuals who understand the challenges of disrupting a century-old system. They prioritize companies that not only create food ingredients that replace animal-based products but also explore diverse revenue streams. By diversifying their offerings, startups can tap into multiple markets, such as high-end cosmetics, to generate additional revenue that supports their mission. Joyful Ventures recognizes the importance of building companies with robust business models that can weather market fluctuations and ensure long-term success.

Founders seeking investment partners will find Joyful Ventures to be a unique and attractive option. The fund is geographically agnostic, meaning they actively seek opportunities worldwide. This global perspective allows them to tap into the diverse talent and innovation present in various regions. Furthermore, Joyful Ventures emphasizes a thorough and meticulous approach to investment evaluation. They carefully assess each opportunity, ensuring that selected startups align with their investment criteria and have the potential for long-term success. Blaine Vess’s firsthand experience as a two-time exited founder adds valuable insights to the team, instilling confidence in the founders that Joyful Ventures will support them every step of the way.

Joyful Ventures’ recent investments in New School Foods and Orbillion Bio highlight their commitment to supporting startups that are pushing the boundaries of sustainable protein innovation. New School Foods, a company focused on creating plant-based salmon, raised $12 million earlier this year, indicating the market’s recognition of the potential in alternative protein products. Orbillion Bio, on the other hand, aims to produce cultivated Wagyu beef and other products, leveraging cutting-edge technologies to create sustainable alternatives to traditional meat production. These investments demonstrate Joyful Ventures’ dedication to fostering a thriving ecosystem of sustainable protein startups that can transform the way we produce and consume food.

With recent regulatory approvals for Upside Foods and Good Meat to sell their cultivated chicken products in the United States, the sustainable protein sector is gaining significant momentum. Joyful Ventures believes that this is just the beginning of a larger movement towards alternative protein consumption. The founders anticipate that once alternative protein products gain a foothold in markets like the United States, other countries will follow suit, propelling the industry forward. Joyful Ventures aims to be at the forefront of this movement, supporting startups that will shape the future of food and contribute to a more sustainable planet.

Joyful Ventures is a pioneering force in the sustainable protein startup landscape, empowering founders to drive change and revolutionize the global food ecosystem. Their focus on sustainable proteins, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and meticulous investment evaluation process set them apart as an investment partner. By strategically investing in startups that are innovating in the alternative protein space, Joyful Ventures aims to create enduring, sustainable change that will positively impact the planet. As the sustainable protein sector continues to gain momentum, Joyful Ventures stands ready to support startups that are shaping the future of food and leading us towards a more sustainable and ethical world.

First reported by TechCrunch.