Next Generation AgTech Company Cooks Venture Raises $4 Million

By Annie Baker ● Jan 30, 2020
  • Next-generation AgTech and food company Cooks Venture announced it raised $4 million in funding led by Golden West Food

Cooks Venture — a next-generation AgTech and food company committed to regenerative agriculture and supply chain transparency — announced it has raised $4 million in funding led by Golden West Food Group as part of a long-term strategic partnership with the company. And this investment will enable the expansion of national distribution to wholesale and retailers.

Cooks Venture also announced it has hired Ankur Agrawal as the chief financial officer at the company. Agrawal was instrumental in signing the agreement with Golden West Food Group.

“Consumers are always looking for a wider variety of ethically sourced meats, and we like to be at the forefront of what’s new and innovative in the market,” said Josh Solovy, President at Golden West Food Group. “We align with Cooks Venture’s philosophy that better animal husbandry yields higher quality, great-tasting and better for you foods. That’s why we invested in Cooks Venture and believe they, in short time, will be a market leader for pasture-raised, heirloom and heritage bred, regenerative poultry in the US.”

Agrawal is joining Cooks Venture during a time of rapid expansion. On the heels of raising $12 million in secured financing, the company is working to advance the capacity and reach of regenerative farming nationwide. And Agrawal will apply his deep financial knowledge to lead the company’s sustainable growth, building new investor partnerships, and establishing core processes.

Cooks Venture was founded by Matthew Wadiak, former COO and founder of Blue Apron. And the company is establishing regenerative agriculture systems through a combination of crop science, animal breeding and husbandry, and long-term data monitoring.

And Cooks Venture’s first offering is pasture-raised, slow-growth, heirloom chicken raised on their 800-acre farm, hatchery and breeding facility in Northwest Arkansas.

“I have raised and breed animals for food for five decades and am painfully aware of industrial poultry production,” explained Bill Niman, animal welfare expert. “Cooks Venture’s unique breed, the “Pioneer,” is the product of over a decade of research into better, slower-growing genetics and is the best tasting chicken I have ever had. Finally, we have a scaled humanely raised, slower growing, affordable and delicious alternative that doesn’t torture the animals, farmers, consumers or the environment.”

“Matt is committed to making a positive, long-lasting impact on the agriculture and food systems,” commented Agrawal. “Cooks Venture provides a unique opportunity to combine my passion for healthy food and food systems, reversing climate change and building strong businesses.”

Agrawal is going to report directly to Wadiak. And Agrawal has worked in a variety of finance roles including FP&A, innovation finance, investor relations, and corporate development. Recently, Agrawal served as the VP of Finance at SeatGeek.

Agrawal had first met Wadiak at Blue Apron where he worked for over three years. Before Blue Apron, Ankur worked at Pepsico in a variety of financial roles. And he started his career in investment banking with a focus on food and agriculture clients.

“As Cooks Venture continues to expand, it is critical that we add trusted executives to our team, who can help grow the business. I look forward to seeing what Ankur can do for the company as we look to our second year,” stated Wadiak.