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Chipotle Doubles Venture Fund to $100M

Newport Beach chain has invested in 7 companies in two years; plans to expand portfolio

Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) has doubled its venture fund, dubbed Cultivate Next, to $100 million, also marking the fund’s two-year anniversary.  

The Newport Beach restaurant chain started the investment pool in 2022 and has supported seven different companies in fields such as farming, supply chain, advanced robotics, and plant-based foods. 

These include Local Line, GreenField Robotics, Nitricity, Vebu – currently testing its avocado processing collaborative robot prototype in a Chipotle restaurant, Hyphen – who is building a new automated makeline for the chain, Meati and Zero Acre Farms. Chipotle plans to expand this portfolio in 2024 and beyond.  

Both Local Line and Hyphen have recently received additional investments “due to the early successes,” the company said. 

“Our decision to double our commitment to our Cultivate Next venture fund is a clear indicator that we are investing in the right companies that we can learn from and utilize to improve the human experience of our restaurant teams, farmers, and suppliers,” Chief Customer and Technology Officer Curt Garner said in a statement. 

Chipotle is the second-largest restaurant chain in Orange County ranked by systemwide sales and is currently the most valuable publicly traded firm based in the region with a market cap of $73 billion. 

Autocado is a collaborative robot prototype that cuts, cores, and peels avocados before being hand mashed to create Chipotle’s guacamole.
Credit: Chipotle
A Chipotle team member rolls a burrito while the automated makeline assembles a bowl.

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