- Nongshim is investing 10 billion won ($7.4 million) in venture funds to discover food tech startups.
- The investment will be equally divided between Seoul-based investment companies Stonebridge Ventures and IMM Investment.
- The funds will be used to foster startups with technologies that can innovate the food value chain, including smart farms and cultivated meat.
- Nongshim already operates Veggie Garden, an alternative meat brand, and is pushing to export its smart farm business to the Middle East.
- The company aims to discover new growth engines by investing in startups with innovative technologies and ideas.
Nongshim, the South Korean food giant known for its popular Shin Ramyun instant noodles, has announced an investment of 10 billion won ($7.4 million) in venture funds. The investment aims to discover and foster food tech startups with innovative technologies that can transform the food value chain.
The investment will be equally divided, with 5 billion won going to each of the Seoul-based investment companies, Stonebridge Ventures and IMM Investment. Stonebridge Ventures was established in 2017 as a spinoff from Stonebridge Capital, which itself split off from IMM Investment Corporation in 2008.
Nongshim plans to use the investment to support startups specializing in smart farms and cultivated meat technologies. The company already runs Veggie Garden, an alternative meat brand offering a range of products made from plant-based ingredients. It also operates a vegan fine dining restaurant called Forest Kitchen in Jamsil, southern Seoul.
Global Trends and Sustainability
Nongshim expects cultivated meat to become a significant meat alternative in the coming years, aligning with global sustainability trends. The company also operates a smart farm and is exploring opportunities to export this business to the Middle East.
A spokesperson for Nongshim stated that the decision to invest in startups followed internal reviews. The company is investing through specialized investment funds to conduct more in-depth evaluations. Nongshim aims to discover new growth engines by investing in startups with fresh technologies and ideas. The company also accepts startups that sign up for evaluation for cooperation or those seeking investment opportunities.
Nongshim began its startup investment journey with the launch of the program Nongshim techUP+ in 2018. According to the company, the value of the stake it has invested in startups through this program has more than doubled.