Ryan Klas, principal, 301 INC, is one of our rising stars in corporate venturing in 2023.
Since December of last year, more than 80% of 301 INC’s investment dollars have gone to minority or female-led companies, says Ryan Klas, a principal at 301 INC, the corporate venturing unit of General Mills, a US maker and marketer of consumer foods.
Families in the future will look a lot different from today’s, argues Klas, meaning the minority will likely become the majority, among other demographic changes. It’s one of the areas that General Mills needs to pay attention to, and corporate venturing is an effective tool to respond to this change.
Klas joined General Mills in 2018 as a financial analyst of private equity and private real assets, managing the billion-dollar private market portfolio for the General Mills pension.
The CVC subsidiary brought Klas on board in September 2021 and he “has underwritten more transactions in the last year than 301 INC has in the last five years combined,” according to Johnny Tran, managing director of the unit. Klas’s deals include the unit’s limited partnership (LP) commitments to women-led funds.
In addition, Klas helped lead the investment in Myplas on behalf of the Mbold coalition, a US Midwest-focused plastics’ circular economy initiative that includes Schwan’s, Target, Ecolab, Cargill, Land of Lakes and the University of Minnesota.
“We pride ourselves on being more than capital,” explains Klas. “Our core goal at 301 INC is to elevate founders to support the startup community because we think it’s so important to the future of the food system.”
His role covers the finance aspects for all portfolio companies, including planning, negotiations and strategic resources, and support from the corporation. The 301 INC team also helps startups with areas such as R&D, manufacturing and supply chain.
See the full list of Rising Stars 2023 here.