26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: Rahul Ray, director, Tyson Ventures

Rahul Ray serves as director for Tyson Ventures, the corporate venturing arm for US-based protein-based food processing firm Tyson Foods.

Founded in 1935 by John W Tyson and grown under three generations of family leadership, the firm has a portfolio of products and brands including Tyson, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Wright, Aidells, IBP and State Fair.

Tyson Ventures partners and invests in promising entrepreneurial businesses that align with Tyson Foods’ corporate strategy and can benefit from the firm’s expertise and scale. Tyson Foods innovates continually to make protein more sustainable, tailors food products and raises the world’s expectations for how much good food can do. The Tyson Ventures team plays a role in delivering this innovation strategy.

Founded in December 2016 with $150m of capital, the fund seeks partnerships with startups that align with Tyson Food’s long-term corporate strategy. Tyson Foods focuses on providing affordable, nutritious and sustainable food from a variety of global sources to nourish the world’s growing population.

Ray said: “At Tyson Ventures, we are looking to connect with builders, investors and enablers of human capital productivity via automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, sustainability and food and agricultural technologies.”

This approach is reflected in Tyson Ventures’ investment thesis, which centres its attention on protein-centric food products, technology enablers for the business and sustainability initiatives.

Ray serves as a board observer for seven portfolio companies: productivity smartwatch maker Iterate Labs, online storefront developer Rejoicy, mushroom ingredient developer MycoTechnology, cultured meat producer Future Meat Technologies, food safety testing technology developer Clear Labs, plant-based shellfish substitute developer New Wave Foods and FoodLogiQ, a food safety and supply chain monitoring company.

Tyson Ventures’ portfolio also includes Memphis Meats, which is working on a meat product that is generated directly from animal cells.

In addition, the unit committed to venture capital firm Big Idea Ventures’ New Protein Fund I as a limited partner in 2019. Big Idea is concentrating on plant-based food, alternative protein and ingredient developers and is operating accelerators in the US and Singapore, and makes direct equity investments.

Ray had come from a diverse professional background in areas including investment management, banking, corporate finance and engineering at hedge funds, brokerage Sanford C Bernstein, investment bank Morgan Stanley and supply chain services group XPO Logistics.

He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, a master of science in computer engineering from University of California, Santa Barbara, and a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras.