SPRINGDALE, ARK. — Tyson Foods, Inc. has invested in Tovala, Chicago, through its Tyson Ventures subsidiary. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.
Tovala is a multi-dimensional start-up venture. Its service includes a smart oven that may cook meals through the company’s meal delivery service, or users may use the company’s app to find recipes specifically formulated for preparation in the oven.
The oven features a bar code scanner. Whether users are cooking delivered meals or working with a recipe from the Tovala app, they may put the prepared dishes in the oven, scan the bar code, and the oven will follow the pre-programmed cooking instructions.
“Our mission is to make it easier for busy people to eat better at home,” said David Rabie, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tovala. “By controlling the experience end-to-end, including the hardware, software, and food, our customers benefit by not having to sacrifice convenience, health, or taste. We’re excited to work with Tyson Foods to explore bringing a wider variety of meals to our customers’ homes.”
Customers are required to order an oven from the company. It is Wi-Fi enabled and requires an internet connection in order to access meal recipes that are stored and accessed via the cloud.
Other investors in Tovala include Origin Ventures, the Pritzker Group, start-up incubator Y Combinator, Morningstar Inc. founder Joe Mansueto, and restaurateur Larry Levy in Tovala’s recently closed and announced Series A round of funding. The capital raised will be used to support Tovala’s growth, including adding staff across all departments, geographic expansion, and investment in product, operations, technology and marketing, according to the company.
“Our venture capital fund was created to invest in promising entrepreneurs who are on the cutting edge of innovation in the food industry,” said Justin Whitmore, executive vice-president corporate strategy and chief sustainability officer of Tyson Foods. “Our investment in Tovala gives us another opportunity to explore new ways of meeting consumer demand and shape the future of food. We look forward to our collaboration.”