News Releases

Nov 04, 2015

301 INC launches new investment fund through CircleUp to seed emerging food brands


Partnership will advance General Mills strategy to invest in and grow emerging brands through its 301 INC new business development and venturing unit

MINNEAPOLIS,  Minnesota  -- 301 INC, the new business development and venturing unit at General Mills, today launched a new multi-million dollar capital fund through the CircleUp marketplace to seed emerging consumer food brands.

CircleUp connects consumer and retail brand entrepreneurs to accredited investors through its online platform. By using powerful technology and a team of experienced private equity professionals, CircleUp identifies promising brands early in their lifecycles and posts profiles on their site for investors to discover, research and potentially make an investment. General Mills is the first Fortune 500 company to launch an investment fund through this platform.

“We are very pleased to join CircleUp as an active, hands-on investor,” said John Haugen, vice president and general manager of 301 INC. “As we look to partner with and foster emerging food brands, the CircleUp marketplace will enable us to quickly connect with mission-driven brands actively seeking early-stage funding.”

Through the new fund, 301 INC will have a strategic funnel for sourcing the most attractive emerging consumer food brands. In addition to capital, 301 INC will also give its portfolio companies access to General Mills’ extensive capabilities and expertise across supply chain, research and development, finance and marketing to accelerate their businesses.

Since 2012, CircleUp has helped more than 120 companies raise more than $135 million. Beyond capital, CircleUp helps brands accelerate growth by tapping into its robust retailer and distributor partnerships. Companies that have raised money on the CircleUp platform average 86 percent year-over-year revenue increase following their raise.

“General Mills has been a valued partner since CircleUp’s inception, and we’re excited to deepen our relationship through this investment fund—which marks the first time a major consumer packaged goods company has used an online marketplace to find consumer brands,” said Ryan Caldbeck, CircleUp’s CEO and co-founder. “From the beginning, we’ve been committed to helping our brands access capital and resources to help them scale, and now they will benefit from more access to General Mills.”

Media contacts:

Scott Schneider, Ketchum                                                    

Bridget Christenson, General Mills

Rebekah Nicodemus, Grayling

About General Mills
General Mills is one of the world’s leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries around the world. Its brands include Cheerios, Fiber One, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury,  Old El Paso, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota., USA, General Mills had fiscal 2015 worldwide sales of US $18.7 billion, including the company's US $1.1 billion proportionate share of joint-venture net sales.

About CircleUp

CircleUp ( is an online marketplace that matches accredited investors with consumer products and retail companies. Accredited investors find free access to select private investments, easy tools to identify and diligence companies and online transaction capability to make investments. CircleUp offers an efficient way to access a network of sophisticated investors as well as value added partners. For more information, visit