The $50 million fund will team Albertsons with Greycroft, which invests in web- and mobile-based firms, including e-retailers.

Albertsons Cos. Inc, one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States and No. 178 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000, has teamed up with venture capital firm Greycroft to create a $50 million fund that will invest in emerging companies and technologies in the grocery sector.

The companies say the fund will connect Greycroft’s investment expertise and connections with Albertsons’ knowledge about the grocery and e-commerce home delivery markets.

The move follows a number of steps that Albertsons has taken to create and acquire a bigger online presence. For example, the retailer in March announced plans over the summer to launch an online marketplace for food and wellness products.  Once launched, the Albertsons Companies Marketplace will allow vendors to list products for purchase on the platform, with the marketplace handling several front-end e-commerce functions, including search, product descriptions and ordering, in exchange for a commission on each sale.

In January, Albertsons launched a platform called Albertsons Performance Media, “powered by” Quotient Technology Inc. The platform works with consumer brands on their digital advertising and in-store targeting efforts. Last September, Albertsons acquired the meal-kit delivery service Plated for an undisclosed amount.

Albertsons operates grocery and drug stores in 35 states under 20 banners, including Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s and Vons. In the first quarter of fiscal 2018, which ended June 16, Albertsons reported that  e-commerce sales, including sales of Plated meal kits, grew 108% compared with the same period a year earlier.

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Greycroft manage more than $1 billion in assets and has made more than 150 investments since its inception in 2006. The firm focuses on investments in web- and mobile-based firms, including e-retailers. Its current portfolio includes stakes in grocery e-retailers including Thrive Market (No. 208), Boxed Wholesale (No. 345) and luxury apparel and accessories consignment reseller The RealReal Inc. (No. 184).

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