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301 INC launches new investment fund through CircleUp

6 November 2015  •  Author(s): Victoria White

301 INC, the business development and venturing unit at General Mills, has launched a new multi-million dollar capital fund through the CircleUp marketplace to seed emerging consumer food brands.


CircleUp connects consumer and retail brand entrepreneurs to accredited investors through its online platform. By using powerful technology and a team of experienced private equity professionals, CircleUp identifies promising brands early in their lifecycles and posts profiles on their site for investors to discover, research and potentially make an investment. General Mills is the first Fortune 500 company to launch an investment fund through this platform.

“We are very pleased to join CircleUp as an active, hands-on investor,” said John Haugen, vice president and general manager of 301 INC. “As we look to partner with and foster emerging food brands, the CircleUp marketplace will enable us to quickly connect with mission-driven brands actively seeking early-stage funding.”

301 INC will now have a ‘strategic funnel’ for sourcing emerging food brands

Through the new fund, 301 INC will have a strategic funnel for sourcing the most attractive emerging consumer food brands. In addition to capital, 301 INC will also give its portfolio companies access to General Mills’ extensive capabilities and expertise across supply chain, research and development, finance and marketing to accelerate their businesses.

Since 2012, CircleUp has helped more than 120 companies raise more than $135 million. Beyond capital, CircleUp helps brands accelerate growth by tapping into its robust retailer and distributor partnerships. Companies that have raised money on the CircleUp platform average 86 percent year-over-year revenue increase following their raise.

“General Mills has been a valued partner since CircleUp’s inception, and we’re excited to deepen our relationship through this investment fund—which marks the first time a major consumer packaged goods company has used an online marketplace to find consumer brands,” said Ryan Caldbeck, CircleUp’s CEO and co-founder. “From the beginning, we’ve been committed to helping our brands access capital and resources to help them scale, and now they will benefit from more access to General Mills.”

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