McLean-based Mars Inc. has formed a partnership with a Jerusalem-based venture capital fund to support companies seeking solutions to food, agriculture and nutrition problems.

Mars’ research and development agreement with Jerusalem Venture Partners will fund Israeli startups and other companies pursuing “foodtech” innovations.

The partnership members said it will address global sustainability issues, searching for ways to feed people in a way that protects the environment.

The initiative will involve several major Israeli educational institutions, such as Hebrew University, the Weizmann Institute, the Technion, Migall and Tel Hai College.

“Mars is passionate about leveraging leading science and technology to innovate,” Jean-Christophe Flatin, Mars’ president of innovation, science, technology and Mars Edge said in a statement. “Our ambition is to provide people around the world with consumer centric products, services and experiences. One example is personalized nutrition solutions that fit an individual's lifestyle by reconciling the food they want with the nutrition they need. We are clear that we need forward-thinking partnerships and collaborations to do this."

Mars is best known for its candy, pet food and pet-care products, with brands like M&Ms, Snickers and Whiskas.

Jerusalem Venture Partners identifies foodtech as one of the most impactful fields of the future.

Agriculture and foodtech startups around the world last year raised $16.9 billion, a 43% increase over the previous year, according to a 2018 AgFunder report. Israel has more than 230 foodtech tech startups.

The Mars partnership is part of the venture capital fund’s initiative to transform Israel's Upper Galilee area into the global foodtech region.

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