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Tyson Foods Launches $150M New Food Technologies Fund In Chicago

Chicago Technology

Tyson Foods aims to be a major player in the tech startup scene. The poultry giant is launching a new venture capital fund aimed at identifying ways to feed the world, and it will be based in Chicago.

Tyson New Ventures has $150M in venture capital to invest in agriculture tech startups that eliminate waste, look for efficiencies in the food chain and identify alternative sources of protein, the Tribune reports. The fund's first investment is a previously announced 5% ownership stake in Beyond Meat, a producer of plant-based protein products like veggie burgers with beet juice added so that they "bleed" like beef when cooked.

Tyson's decision to base the fund in Chicago is a strategically sound one. EVP Monica McGurk says the Midwest is an epicenter for ag tech—there were $4.6B in ag tech investments last year. Tyson has a 500-person office at 400 South Jefferson in the West Loop (shown), one of the city's hottest tech office markets. And Chicago is ninth in CBRE's annual Tech-Thirty list of the top North American tech job markets. [Trib]