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The New York Times reports that General Mills "has created a venture capital unit that recently led a $3 million investment in Rhythm Superfoods, a specialty start-up that makes kale chips and broccoli crisps," making the manufacturer of Cheerios "part of an increasing number of old-economy companies, including the convenience chain 7-Eleven and the Campbell Soup Company, that have joined a crowd of technology companies to create venture capital funds. Through them, they scout for new products or services and promising potential business partners."

For General Mills, the story says, "which has also invested in the plant-based food maker Beyond Meat and two other start-ups, the venture capital fund is a way to keep pace with the growing number of small food brands that have found consumer success, especially online."

There could be a downside to this trend, as some critics suggest that the increased availability of venture capital money could drive up valuations for companies that have not yet proven themselves; the argument is that eventually these valuations could come back to earth, and that these corporate funds may find themselves disenchanted.
KC's View:
If these companies are smart, they'll realize that it is less about short term valuations and more about a long term approach to seeding innovative companies that can be game changers.