Tyson Foods, Inc. has hopped onto the delivery service wagon and invested in Tovala, a Chicago-based food startup that makes smart steam ovens with fresh ready-to-cook meals. The investment was done through Tyson’s corporate venture subsidiary Tyson Ventures. The terms of the investment were not disclosed.
Aside from the smart oven that may cook through the company’s meal delivery service, clients can also use the company’s app to find recipes that require oven preparation.
The oven also features a bar code scanner. Whether clients are using Tovala’s app recipes or cooking delivered meals, they simply have to put the prepared dishes in the oven, scan the barcode and the oven will follow the pre-programmed cooking instructions.
“Our mission is to make it easier for busy people to eat better at home. By controlling the experience end-to-end including the hardware, software, and food, our customers benefit by not having to sacrifice convenience, health, or taste,” said David Rabie, co-founder and CEO at Tovala. “We’re excited to work with Tyson Foods to explore bringing a wider variety of meals to our customers’ homes.”
Tyson says Tovala investment could shape the future of food
Tyson Ventures joins a list of investors that consists of Origin Ventures, the Pritzker Group, startup incubator Y Combinator, Morningstar Inc. founder Joe Mansueto and restaurant entrepreneur Larry Levy in Tovala’s recently closed and announced Series A round of funding. According to the company, the capital raised will be used to support Tovala’s growth, including adding staff across all departments, geographic expansion, and investment in product, operations, technology and marketing.
“Our venture capital fund was created to invest in promising entrepreneurs who are on the cutting edge of innovation in the food industry,” said Justin Whitmore, executive vice president corporate strategy and chief sustainability officer of Tyson Foods. “Our investment in Tovala gives us another opportunity to explore new ways of meeting consumer demand and shape the future of food. We look forward to our collaboration.”