Big Idea Ventures Expands University Relationships For Recently Launched Generation Food Rural Partners Fund

Nine university collaborators added, spanning the United States

NEW YORK, April 13, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --  Big Idea Ventures, the global leader in early-stage alternative protein investing, recently announced the launch of the Generation Food Rural Partners (GFRP) fund with NC State as the inaugural collaborator. GFRP is a $125 million target fund that will fuel economic development in rural communities through the commercialization of university-developed intellectual property. Today, BIV is announcing nine additional university collaborators to the fund:

  • Louisiana State University Louisiana State University AgCenter’s research and extension efforts help power the state’s $12 billion agricultural industry. AgCenter faculty continue to bring scientific discoveries to the world marketplace through Intellectual Property. Since 2000, 12 new companies have been started based on licensing from the AgCenter. Royalties from these companies and from other licensing agreements have generated more than $70 million since 1999. Louisiana State University serves as Louisiana’s flagship university and has the unique distinction of being a land-, sea-, and space-grant university.

  • Oregon State University — Research funding at Oregon State University reached $449 million for fiscal year 2020, setting a university record. OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences accounted for $62.6 million of that total and will use the funding to aid industries, create new jobs and improve agricultural production to feed more people – while reducing the impact on climate and the environment.

  • Penn State UniversityPenn State is a top-ranked research university with more than 18 research areas with annual research expenditures exceeding $1 billion. Penn State’s university-level interdisciplinary institutes have been notably successful at breaking down traditional research silos to tackle the toughest challenges for broader societal impact. As Pennsylvania's sole land-grant institution, Penn State has an extensive history of translating agricultural and human health discoveries through the Penn State Agricultural Extension, pilot facilities, and clinics. These efforts are supported by the Invent Penn State initiative, a university-wide program that advances tech transfer, industry partnerships, and startup companies.

  • Purdue University — Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S.

  • Tufts University - Tufts University is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States and enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence. The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts generates trusted science, educates future leaders, and produces real world impact in nutrition science and policy. The Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging is the largest research institution in the world devoted to investigating the relationship between nutrition and aging. The only school of veterinary medicine in New England is located at Tufts. Tufts is engaged in impactful research in the cellular agriculture space in its School of Engineering.

  • University of Hawai’i — The University of Hawai‘i (UH), the state’s major research university, plays a prominent role in Hawai‘i’s economic growth and development through its diverse and world-renowned research programs -- receiving a total of $456.6 million in extramural funding in FY2020. The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, the flagship campus of UH’s ten campus system, is one of an elite handful of land-, sea-, space- and sun-grant universities in the nation. As a Carnegie R1 institution, it is known for its pioneering research and innovation in tropical agriculture, sustainable energy, astronomy, ocean and earth sciences, cancer, engineering, data visualization, microbiomes and more.

  • University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign — As one of the nation’s leading research universities, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been shaping the future since 1867. Illinois consistently leads the nation in NSF-funded research, and the University’s total annual research funding exceeds $680 million. That research drives student experiences and community engagement, powering innovation and driving positive change locally, nationally, and globally. The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at Illinois provides solutions to the world’s most critical challenges to create abundant food and energy, a healthy environment, and successful families and communities. Although proudly ranked among the top 30 agricultural schools worldwide, ACES is a diverse college with top-rated programs in engineering, finance and economics, nutritional science, and so much more. While our faculty and students choose a host of specialties and areas of interest, we all work toward the common goal of improving daily life for people close to home and around the world. Learn more at
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst UMass Amherst is among the nation’s top universities for research as measured by national and international rankings, academic citations and research funding. The campus spends more than $200 million on research each year and is home to more than 60 campus-based research centers. Established in 2014 with a $150 million investment, the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS) translates fundamental research into innovative product candidates, technologies and services that deliver benefits to human health and well-being. IALS draws on the interdisciplinary expertise of more than 200 faculty-led research groups from 29 departments, including food science. UMass Amherst has the oldest academic food science program in the country, ranked #1 in the U.S. for the past three years, according to the 2020 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.

  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute — Worcester Polytechnic Institute has a long history of intellectual property creation across a number of cutting-edge technologies. Innovations span biotechnology, tissue engineering, bioreactor design, sensing technologies, advanced materials, machine learning, and scale-up manufacturing processes. Recognizing WPI’s strong interdisciplinary approach connecting life sciences and manufacturing engineering, WPI’s NSF Industry University Cooperative Research Center for Advanced Research in Drying (CARD), a research center focused in part on the industrial drying of food products, is leading to the development of technologies that support companies in the food industry worldwide.

“We’re honored to welcome these universities to the GFRP consortium,” said Tom Mastrobuoni, chief investment officer for Big Idea Ventures. “The research being conducted at each of these institutions spans our three areas of focus: breakthroughs in food, protein and agriculture innovation. Our team is excited to start building new companies based on technology being developed by some of the world’s best and brightest.”

The GFRP fund will establish venture centers to facilitate collaboration with multiple leading U.S. universities. BIV will staff the venture centers with team members experienced in evaluating intellectual property to work with the universities to identify and evaluate new developments with the strongest commercialization potential and the fund will then invest in new companies formed around the groundbreaking research. These new companies will be headquartered in rural communities near the collaborating universities. The GRRP team expects the first of these to open in conjunction with the initial closing of capital commitments.

“We believe GFRP will drive additional research and encourage entrepreneurs to establish their companies near our venture centers in rural America,” added Andrew D. Ive, founder and managing general partner of BIV. “Our rural communities have always been the center of our country’s food production and this is one way to help those communities continue to grow economically into the future.”

About Big Idea Ventures

Big Idea Ventures (BIV) is solving the world's greatest challenges by supporting the world’s best entrepreneurs. Big Idea Ventures develops the most globally strategic funds delivering significant investor returns while addressing real world challenges. BIV is focused on alternative protein with its New Protein Fund, innovations in the food industry to solve challenges in waste, water use, plastic use and CO2 with its Generation Food Fund and commercialization of university intellectual property with its Generation Food Rural Partners fund.

Media Contact

Big Idea Ventures | Tom Mastrobuoni | | +1-201-725-3800