Chicago Food VC Bluestein Ventures Closes $45 Million Fund III And Onboards Former RXBar Exec To Strengthen Operations

Food & Drink

Chicago-based investment firm, Bluestein Ventures, has closed its oversubscribed third fund at $45 million, and it aims to continue investing in early-stage businesses across the entire food and beverage supply chain.

Anchored by the Bluestein family and the first to receive backing from external family offices and entrepreneurs with expertise in the food space, the new fund will increase its average individual check size from the previous $500,000 to $1.5 million, while focusing on three core investment pillars — nutrition, sustainability, and digitization.

Bluestein Ventures also onboarded Lindsay Levin, previously CMO at RXBar (sold to Kellogg
K
in 2017), as a venture partner to support operations and marketing for its portfolio.

Managing Partner Andrew Bluestein co-founded the VC firm exactly a decade ago after working as a corporate consultant for a wide range of retail and CPG clients for seven years, during which he identified a rapidly emerging consumer trend driven by health and wellness, as well as digital economy. At the time, he said: “Shoppers were really starting to rethink their consumption habits, and increasingly, they are getting food from new platforms like delivery apps.”

Over the years, Bluestein Ventures has amassed over 50 portfolio companies, notably keto-focused meal company Factor (acquired by HelloFresh for $277 million in 2020), wellness shots brand Vive Organic (acquired by Suja Juice in 2022), plant-based energy beverage company Yerbaé, and Chicago’s premier retail chain Foxtrot that recently merged with local grocer Dom’s Kitchen & Market into Outfox Hospitality.

Investing Across The Food Supply Chain

Bluestein also has a deep family tie to the industry: his mother Ilene Gordon, currently serves as a key advisor to the fund, alongside her husband Bram Bluestein, is a former CEO and chair of Ingredion
INGR
, a Fortune 500 food ingredient manufacturer also headquartered in the State of Illinois. So when betting on potential investing opportunities, transforming the food system to be healthier and more sustainable has remained the core of Bluestein Venture’s thesis.

“That mission won’t change as we’ve started deploying capital from fund III,” said Ashley Hartman, a Harvard MBA who joined Bluestein as the second managing partner shortly after the firm launched. “We invest across the food supply chain — anything from products on the shelf to how goods are manufactured — at the earliest stage of a company’s lifecycle.”

Select companies in the Fund III portfolio include BiomeSense, an end-to-end platform to scale gut microbiome research and testing; WECO Hospitality (chef- quality prepared meal delivery platform WECO Hospitality, and Attane Health, a marketplace for food prescriptions for those with chronic conditions.

Bluestein attributes the successful close of the new fund to their years of trust building within the food industry, despite a tough fundraising environment. Bluestein said: “After investing for the last 10 years, we’ve built strong relationships; this has given us an opportunity to connect with a number of our investors who have deep expertise and interest in the space.”

He added: “The environment is obviously tighter now, but we are excited that we exceeded our target and found limited partners who resonate with our food-focused thesis and experience.”

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