Brazilian meat major Minerva Foods has initiated its first investment under a newly-launched venture capital fund, picking Clara Foods in the US, a maker of plant-based protein ingredients for food and beverage products.

Minerva unveiled its new fund during the summer, MF92, an acronym of the company name and reflective of its founding date in 1992. Speaking to just-food in August, CFO Edison Ticle said it would focus on international investments with an initial purse of US$30m targeted at “not more than ten companies”, including start-ups and tech companies in areas such as plant-based, logistics, livestock, agri-tech and food retail.

Kicking-off the investment, Minerva has invested $4m in San Francisco-based Clara Foods, which was founded by Arturo Elizondo (CEO) and David Anchel. The company makes animal-free proteins using fermentation technology, including a foamy egg white alternative for baking use.

Clara Foods is a graduate of the IndieBio accelerator programme in California and has since received a number of investments.

It was the recipient of $15m in a Series A round in 2016, before Mexican bakery firm Grupo Bimbo joined a follow-on B round for a total of $30m last year. That consortium also consisted of Ingredion, Hemisphere Ventures and SOSV, and also Blue Horizon Ventures, a food technology-focused venture capital fund, which took a minority interest.