David Barber—who co-owns Blue Hill restaurants in Westchester, N.Y., and New York City with his brother, chef Dan Barber—has collected $30 million to launch a new investment fund. Almanac Investments is looking to support companies with products and services that will improve the hospitality industry.
Unlike many of today’s food-focused venture capital funds, Almanac isn’t focused solely on technology within the food industry, such as advancements in farming and the supply chain. Barber says that technology has to be adopted to keep operating costs down as everything else rises, according to TechCrunch. And that includes services, software, platforms and other new technologies that will improve restaurant operations.
The fund has already made three investments: BlueCart, a web-based management tool for wholesale ordering; organic food brand Nona Lim; and Pilotworks, shared kitchen space available for business rentals, similar to a WeWork format.
Prior to starting Almanac Investments, Barber has been an angel investor and has served as an advisor to Acre Investments and S2G Ventures, both of which look at the future of food.
But he’s not the first restaurateur to join the investment space. Roland Dickey stepped down as CEO of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit early last year to help start and take charge of Dickey’s Capital Group, while Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group pooled $200 million through its Enlightened Hospitality Investments to fund the growth of fast-casual restaurants and tech companies. And Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, also said he’s considered forming a VC firm to fund “experiential” retail concepts.
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