Since the initiation of Joyance Partners in 2016, our funds have pivoted forcefully toward the emerging science of health and happiness. Health and happiness science is one of the most profound investment opportunities in decades. We feel it is natural and appropriate to make the most of the transformation of these core human experiences in all our current and upcoming funds.
Food and drink are new expressions of the emerging science of health and happiness. Increasingly, young people (and many scientists) are viewing what we eat as the first step in medicine and prevention: Food as Medicine. They also see increasing ties between food and how we feel and function: Food as Mood. Substances traditionally known as food are also sliding into clothing as part of the naturalization of fashion. Food and water stand at the center of environmental concerns in terms of maintaining ample supplies for the world population and as large contributors to pollution and global warming.
Our investment focus on food and drink is on the bleeding (excuse the expression) scientific edge. We aren’t simply investing in the next fad snack. We are looking deeper: to the new, the radical, the transformed, the scientific and health-impactful.
For H1 2020, our focus areas will be:
Lab-grown food – We fully recognize the long development cycles here and the ever-present risk of failure through scientific or regulatory hurdles. Even so, the pressing need to increase food supplies in a challenging world makes this category worth evaluating. And beyond pure nutritional need, lab-based food carries the potential for personalization and optimization; it is one of the strongest sources of medicinal food, where what we eat becomes the launch point for amelioration or prevention of disease or the extension of health span.
Our focus this year will include both pet and human-grade lab-based food. Our primary focus will be on lab food for pets and lab-based fish because they can get to market faster, facing lower regulatory hurdles.
Plant-based food – The path to market here is faster than for lab-grown food. Reaching a market price is straightforward and getting to market can leverage existing channels. Plant-based food foundations we should pay particular attention to include collagen, peas, whey, and eggs. We also should include pet grade alternative proteins. We should find founders who are looking to redesign the entire pet food market (meat, non-meat, manufacturing processes, tracking, standards, etc.), not simply rebranding to be more au courant.
Though we think it is still quite early, we should also look for and evaluate any DNA- and Microbiome- based nutrition products we find.
Lab-grown/plant-based fashion and beauty products – these are derived from, essentially, the same process as next-gen food. We will be open to both novel plant and animal products as well as re-used plant-based products. Next-gen beauty products seem to be highly ingredient-based (collagen, plant proteins, pre- and probiotics, custom vitamins, etc.). DNA and microbiome factors could play a role here as well.
Lab-grown and plant clothing, particularly lab-grown leather, is making big strides in the manufacturing and supply chain side of fashion. Big players like Stella McCarthy and Hugo Boss are moving into the alternative leather space. Therefore, we should look for labs focused on plant-based leather alternatives as well as lab-grown animal leather, and innovations in plant-derived clothing (hemp, algae, mushrooms, etc.).
High consumption beverages, centering on coffee and tea – We will make a special effort to find healthy drinks, such as coconut water. Our explorations here will tie into our focus on water itself.
You can’t get more fundamental than food and drink. Everybody on the planet needs them. Looking ahead, it is increasingly important that we, as a species, move away from total dependence on vast amounts of land and water to nourish ourselves. We need food, but our current modes of production may not stand up to climate change and the growing population. Innovation in food and drink abounds, and we’re hungry to discover and invest in new companies that will fuel the generations of the future.