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Brief: Flagship closes $3.4bn fund to build ‘bioplatform’ companies in ag, nutrition & health

June 14, 2021

  • Flagship Pioneering, the fund manager and company formation group, has closed its seventh fund on $3.4 billion after re-opening it to existing investors and a “select” group of new backers.
  • The close takes Flagship’s total assets under management to $14.1 billion.
  • Fund VII will create and grow what Flagship calls “bioplatform” companies that are “re-imagining how to prevent and treat disease, feed a growing population, and sustain our planet” using “chemistry, biology, and machine learning [and] AI,” the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based firm said in a press release.

Why it matters:

While Flagship has a longer track record in the healthcare industry with multiple exits — having completed IPOs for four of its companies in the past year — it has a growing portfolio of agrifoodtech companies. Among them is injectable crop inputs developer Invaio Sciences, which raised $88.9 million for its Series C round last month, and input turned marketplace turned carbon platform Indigo Ag.

With so much capital on hand, Indigo and other Flagship agtech companies have had the luxury of support through various iterations of their business models. CiBO Technologies is the latest example: initially an agricultural modeling business, it pivoted to farmland real estate before changing again towards carbon trading. Some commentators have argued that Flagship’s companies quickly become too big to fail.

Flagship has often co-invested in its agtech companies alongside non-ag players including sovereign wealth funds, institutional investors, and corporates – such as FedEx for Indigo’s $200 million round in January 2020.

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