General Mills, the company behind consumer brands like Betty Crocker, Yoplait, and Pillsbury, has recently launched, 301 Inc., a venture capital unit to invest in small startups. General Mills already has a minority stake in the plant-based food company Beyond Meat.
As Fortune points out, General Mills paid $820 million to acquire Annie’s, a popular natural food company, and might have avoided having to make such a significant payout if it had been an early investor in the brand.
In order to impress 301 Inc., each potential investment will need to exhibit that it has “a real opportunity to compete in new categories,” and some deals may be arranged for a potential General Mills buyout in the future — though that’s not a hard requirement.
“You want to build the case that you can be the indispensable partner for that entrepreneur to help them build and scale their vision for the future,” John Haugen, 301 Inc.’s vice president and general manager told Fortune.