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The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger I Zero Waste Foundation Innovation Fund
Open Call for Applications

The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation Innovation Fund launches an investment readiness program for U.S.-based startups working to prevent, recover and recycle food waste. We are proud to collaborate with Village Capital.  

The Innovation Fund will award grant funding to emerging technologies and solutions. Innovators will benefit from Village Capital’s award-winning curriculum, intensive feedback from their peers and one-on-one mentorship with potential customers, investors and industry experts.

WHO SHOULD APPLY?

We encourage applications from innovators building high-growth, scalable solutions focused on the following challenge:

We seek to reshape the food system by supporting innovators who are elevating food to its highest use and disrupting the linear supply chain. This could include solutions such as imperfect produce lines, upcycled foods & meal kits, upcycled commercial ingredients and more.

Innovators with diverse life experiences solve problems with a unique perspective. The Zero Hunger I Zero Waste Foundation and Village Capital seek to lift up and support the best startups and founders who are solving critical problems in our food system. We strongly encourage founders with diverse lived experience to apply.

If you are selected as a 2021 cohort member of the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation Innovation Fund, you must be available to participate in: 

✔ A one-week virtual program May 17th-21st

✔ Monthly cohort sessions from June to November

✔ Attend the Venture Forum event in November

Applications close April 1, 2021.

Kroger apps closed

Why Apply?

• Each of the cohort startups will receive $100,000 upfront as seed grant funding.

• An additional $100,000 of grant funding will be available to each cohort startup based on their achievement of identified milestones.

• Each of the cohort startups will participate in 30+ hours of virtual technical and business mentorship, investment milestone planning and access to the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation and Village Capital’s network of partners, investors, stakeholders and mentors. 

•  At the end of the 6-month milestone development period, the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation will offer impact investments of $250,000 to two cohort startups that will be selected by their peers. The terms of these impact investments will be discussed and negotiated after the winners have been selected. 

About the Program

The Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation and Village Capital will recruit, vet and select 10 startups that will participate in a virtual workshop focused on investment readiness, technical skill development and networking with a community of investors and mentors who work in and around the food system. The virtual one week workshop will take place in May 2021. 

Innovators will benefit from an additional 6 months of Milestone Planning and Support, with an opportunity to present their startups and highlight major achievements to an audience of investors and key stakeholders at a Venture Forum Event in November 2021.

To learn more about how we developed the challenge and food systems innovation, read the market assessment here.

March 1: Applications Open; April 1: Applications; Close May 17-21: One Week Program; June - November: Monthly Milestone Planning and Support Sessions November: Venture Forum Event

Who is eligible to apply?

How will we evaluate applications?

Innovator FAQ

ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Do you want to mentor?

Join our growing network of mentors here.

Are you an investor?

If you are an investor interested in supporting innovators who are elevating food to its highest use and disrupting the linear supply chain, join The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger I Zero Waste Foundation Investor Coalition.

Investors in the Coalition can source, assess, share and fund investment-ready opportunities quickly and efficiently with Abaca & support from the Village Capital team.