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Agrium Invests in Finistere Fund II Ahead of Final Close Mooted for End of Year

July 28, 2016

Agriculture products company Agrium has invested in Finistere Ventures‘ second agriculture technology fund (FVII).

Agrium is the latest large agribusiness to tap into the agtech venture capital scene and joins the likes of Bayer, DuPont, Monsanto, Syngenta, The Andersons, Wilbur Ellis, and Twynan Agricultural Group, which have either launched their own VC arms, invested in third party funds, or made direct investments in-house.

Finistere is targeting $150 million for FVII after holding a first close in February 2015 on around $30 million. Bayer CropScience and Canadian VC AVAC both made strategic investments in this first round. AVAC will also manage any Canadian investments in the fund through a sidecar fund.

FVII is now targeting a final close for the end of this year, Arama Kukutai, managing partner, told AgFunderNews.

Finistere will focus the majority of its investments in North America, but will also look for opportunities in other parts of the world such as Australia, where it recently launched a fund marketing campaign in the hope of attracting some Australia-based investors.

Finistere has already made a few investments from FVII including genetically modified seed company ZeaKal, personalized nutrition app Shopwell and CropX, a cloud-based irrigation technology.

Finistere is one of the oldest venture firms to focus on the agriculture technology market and started to do so alongside healthcare investments in 2006.

From its first fund, a $32 million vehicle, it invested in crop trait developer Athenix, Hawai’i Bioenergy, animal identification Somark, and technology and bioenergy crop company SGB , according to its website and CrunchBase. A memo seen by AgFunderNews says that Fund I returned between 2.5 and 3x including the $365 million sale of Athenix to Bayer CropScience in 2009.

FVII will make up to 15 investments over a six year period and has a 10-year life with a two extension. It’s targeting a minimum return of 3x and has identified the following subsectors as likely targets: Plant Biotechnology & Biologics, Animal Nutrition & Health, Precision Agriculture & “Big Data”, Supply Chain Management, and Specialty crops, according to the memo.

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