There’s a new incubator in New Orleans for food and food tech startups. The Ceres 504 incubator and accelerator, run by venture capital firm Valmiki 504, is designed to provide access to capital and expertise for food startups in Louisiana.
This announcement comes one month after Valmiki 504 launched a tech incubator in New Orleans called TOPXIGHT LA.
“Following last month’s launch of TOPXIGHT LA, our software and cybersecurity startup incubator, we are pleased to announce additional investments in Louisiana businesses through the launch of Ceres 504,” said Peggy Babin, CEO of Valmiki 504. “Food is central toLouisiana’s culture and business environment and creating truly scalable food brands is important to the long term economic growth of the industry. Scalability and growth are integral to Valmiki’s pioneering approach in combining its investment expertise with the operating assets of its incubators.”
Named after the Roman goddess of food, Ceres 504 will be run by newly added Venture Partner Neil Gibbons. He is involved in the New Orleans startup ecosystem and is a Board Member and Chair Emeritus of Propeller, the social innovation hub.
Branded foods will be the first Ceres 504 vertical, a sector that is expected to reach $3 trillion by 2020. The incubator as it will be providing consumer brand and packaged foods expertise, and direct investment in the food sector.
The Valmiki network is widespread. Cerus 504 will follow the platform/incubator model of Valmiki Capital Management, the parent company of Valmiki 504, which provides companies with a network of experts in any given field. Network partners and supporters that will be assets to the food incubator include Cauvery Consumer Group, Skyler Brand Ventures, BuildFarms, and Reason Street.
Valmiki’s involvement with branded foods dates back to 2005 with seed investments in Zico Coconut Water, which later sold to Coca-Cola for $300 million.