Supply Change Capital is latest women-led VC to raise substantial debut fund


Shayna Harris, Noramay Cadena, Supply Change Capital, venture capital, foodtech
Image Credits: Supply Change Capital / Supply Change Capital co-founders and managing partners Shayna Harris and Noramay Cadena

Supply Change Capital closed on $40 million in capital commitments for its first fund, targeting investments in the global food industry valued at $10 trillion.

The female and Latina-owned firm is spearheaded by co-founders and managing partners Noramay Cadena and Shayna Harris, who met 14 years ago in business school.

Supply Change Capital’s new fund puts it among a growing group of women-led venture capital firms that closed on sizable debut funds this year. This includes recent announcements by:

  • Jessica Verrilli and April Underwood at Adverb Ventures, who raised $75 million for their debut fund, also announced in July.
  • Jennifer Stojkovic at Joyful Ventures, which raised $23 million, also for investment in food tech.
  • Zoey Dash McKenzie at Public Ventures, which is targeting $100 million.
  • Erin and Sara Foster at Oversubscribed Ventures, which is going after $20 million.
  • Meena Harris and Helen Min at Phenomenal Ventures, which debuted with $6 million.
  • Bénédicte de Raphélis Soissan at Emblem, which raised nearly $54 million.

Women are leaving VC firms and creating a new class of emerging investors

Prior to becoming an investor, Cadena’s background was as an aerospace engineer. When she did pivot to VC, she mainly invested in manufacturing and supply chain companies. Meanwhile, Harris came from the operator side, holding positions as chief operating officer of Farmer’s Fridge and previously developing the sustainable commodities program at Mars.

They started raising for the fund in 2021, and it took them about two years to close the $40 million, which they attribute to some factors that included that limited partners wanted to see how they invested as a team and that they are investing in both technology and consumer companies, 75% and 25%, respectively. However, Cadena and Harris say that by having investments in both areas, they can better understand the pain points they hear from their portfolio companies.

“It’s been interesting how it’s played out in our fund because we don’t think we can be viable and real food tech investors without investing in food,” Cadena told TechCrunch. “That gives us this halo effect to really understand what emerging brands are facing in the ecosystem. That was another hurdle for us to get through — where we have to be very steadfast about the fact that it’s actually important for us to understand both sides of the table.”

The pair are backed by a list of heavy-hitting limited partners, including 301 INC, the venture capital arm of General Mills; MassMutual through its First Fund Initiative; the Office of the Illinois Treasurer through the Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund; Illumen Capital’s Catalyst Fund; and J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

Starting in June 2021, Cadena and Harris began investing. In addition, they offer a six-month cohort program that all founders take part in that focuses on leadership, management and culture.

They invest at the earliest stages in the areas of deep tech food, agriculture and ingredient, supply chain technology and enterprise software, with a thesis around securing the future food supply.

So far, Supply Change has deployed some $13 million already across 15 startups. Eighty percent of the firm’s portfolio is comprised of Latinx, Black or female founders and CEOs.

Those include allergen-free snack food company Partake Foods, ingredients startup Michroma and alternative seafood maker Aqua Cultured Foods. Among the 15, Supply Change led three of the deals.

Cadena and Harris not only invest in culture and climate, but also the demand side, which is driving the world’s food and water crises.

“The demand side is where we really felt like we have a unique lens to bring to this market,” Harris said in an interview. “Where we see opportunity, and where we see consumers are underserved, is delivering the next food over the next couple of generations. They are focused on those changes, and the need is both in terms of the technologies available to help get them the products they’re looking for, and the actual products getting on the shelf.”

For female VCs, bias is a branding issue

More TechCrunch

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

1 day ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo