The former McDonald’s CEO who left the Golden Arches in 2015 is launching a VC firm and startup accelerator focused on building new food and beverage businesses.
Don Thompson, who left McDonald’s after nearly two decades with the company, has launched Cleveland Avenue, an “accelerator for remarkable food and beverage concepts.” The firm’s website says it plans to open in January 2017. The news was first reported Wednesday by Crain’s.
It’s unclear how much money Cleveland Avenue has raised. The firm, which is named after the street where Thompson grew up, is based out of a 33,000 square-foot space at 222 N. Canal Street, according to Crain’s.
Among Cleveland Avenue’s first projects is DRINK, a new non-alcoholic beverage bar located inside New York City’s flagship American Eagle Outfitters store. The idea for DRINK was spearheaded by Zoe Feldman, a former senior associate at PepsiCo and the current beverage ventures lead at Cleveland Avenue.
Cleveland Avenue has also invested in Washington, DC-based HalfSmoke, a fast casual sausage restaurant.
Thompson joined McDonald’s as an electrical engineer in 1990 and has held titles of president and chief operating officer before becoming chief executive. A month after his departure, McDonald’s agreed to pay Thompson $3 million for consulting work.
Correction: Feldman spearheaded the concept for DRINK; she was not the founder.