Sentient Ventures, a new UK venture fund has been launched to invest in early-stage growth capital for alt protein startups globally. Headed by Matthew Glover, co-founder of Veganuary, VFC, and Veg Capital, the Sentient Ventures founding team also includes venture investor Alexandra Clark and former investment banker Manish Karani.
“We will support the scale-up of the companies pioneering innovative food solutions to enable consumers to make better choices” – Matthew Glover
The new London-based Sentient Ventures £30 million investment vehicle will spur growth in firms developing alt meat products in the plant-based and fermentation sectors. Growth capital between £500,000 and £2.5 million will be available to startups driving the net zero transition and removing animals from the supply chain, with the fund targeting a 3-5x return on investments (MOIC).
Sentient Ventures will use its proprietary impact assessment tool to evaluate metrics such as reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as well as animal lives spared or suffering reduced, and land and water use.
As demand for plant-based foods continues to grow, the fund hopes to tap into the commercial opportunity and drive growth in the sustainable, animal cruelty-free, food secure sector. The team points out that animal agriculture is a major GHG emitter, and drives multiple crises including biodiversity loss and species extinction, water pollution and shortages, antimicrobial resistance, the spread of foodborne and zoonotic diseases, and the climate emergency.
Investments will also be aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with the Sentient Ventures core team completed with Suzanne van der Maarel – whose background unites the corporate world with sustainable innovation – as Portfolio Manager.
“Sentient Ventures was born of both passion and frustration: frustration that not enough is being done at a high level to move to a more sustainable and humane food system, and passion for the novel solutions that are reshaping food production without animals, and the founders behind them.
“While the world deals with a confluence of crises that are currently impacting global supply chains, we will support the scale-up of the companies pioneering innovative food solutions to enable consumers to make better choices”, explains co-founder and principal Matthew Glover.