Fundings in Brief: Food E-Commerce Delivers $4.7m as TIAA-CREF Breaks Farmland Fund Record

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This week saw the launch of two food e-commerce related fundings, two new agriculture funds, and a big play on chocolate.

Turkish Online Food Delivery Service Meal Box Nabs $3.4m Venture Capital Financing

Based in the world’s fifth largest city Istanbul, Meal Box recently secured $3.4 million in financing from Aslanoba Capital, one of Turkey’s largest venture firms. The company is aiming to replace fast food with healthy, traditional Turkish fair through it’s meal delivery service that brings fully cooked and assembled meals straight to customer’s doorsteps. With Turkish food ordering startup Yemeksepeti selling to Delivery Hero for a record breaking $589 million, Meal Box is hoping to attract similar attention by offering city dwellers authentic and healthy fare.

Food Delivery Startup Pickingo Closes $1.3m 

Indian hyperlocal logistics service provider Pickingo has raised $1.3m in a seed round led by Orios Venture Partners, with participation from angel investor Zishaan Hayath. The company plans to use the proceeds to expand its operations into 20 additional cities by the end of 2015. Currently operating in six major cities, Pickingo’s model aims to disrupt the way goods move within a city from the merchant to the end-user through reverse pick-ups for large e-commerce companies like Jabong, Snapdeal, Shopclues, and PayTM. So far, over 300 restaurants, grocers, and pharmacies have signed up for their on-demand delivery service.

TIAA-CREF Closes Largest-ever Farmland Investment Vehicle on $3bn

Pension provider and asset manager TIAA-CREF has closed its second collective investment vehicle for farmland on $3 billion, exceeding its $2.5 billion target. Not technically a private equity fund, TIAA-CREF has structured the vehicle as a limited liability company to hold assets for over 20 years, instead of just 10, with exit opportunities after seven and 14 years. This is the largest farmland-focused collective investment vehicle on record after its first vehicle, TIAA-CREF Global Agriculture I, closed on $2 billion in 2012. Targeting high-quality farmland assets across a number of regions throughout the Americas, Australia, Central and Eastern Europe and New Zealand, the fund has 20 institutional investors. These include Swedish pension AP Fonden 2, Cummins UK Pension Plan Trustee, UK pension Environment Agency Pension Fund, Greater Manchester Pension Fund, New Mexico State Investment Council and the TIAA general account. The company has already made around $500 million of investments from the first fund, Jose Minaya, head of private markets asset management at TIAA-CREF Asset Management, told GAI News in a podcast.

Australia’s Western Victoria Launches $200m Fund to Support Farmers

Western Victoria, a province in Australia, recently announced a new $200 million fund for farmers called the Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund. The fund, which will be established following the successful passage of the Port of Melbourne lease legislation through the Parliament, will benefit farmers and regional communities throughout Western Victoria, including investment in agricultural infrastructure and supply chains to boost productivity, increase exports, and reduce farmers’ costs. It will also be available for projects and programs that benefit the agriculture sector, including transportation, irrigation, energy projects, and market access campaigns.

Archer Daniels Midland Sells Chocolate Business to Cargill for $440m

Chicago-based agricultural products processor Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) recently sold its chocolate business to agribusiness conglomerate Cargill for $440 million. To quell the European Union’s antitrust concerns, Cargill agreed to sell an industrial chocolate production facility located in Mannheim, Germany. The company agreed to sell its cocoa business to Olam International for $1.3 billion in a separate deal last December. ADM will continue to produce vegetable oil, ethanol, and other ingredients used in packaged foods and drinks.

Colliers International Hires Rural & Agribusiness Leader in Australia

Real estate agency Colliers International has jumped on Australia’s farmland investment trend in recent months by bolstering its rural and agribusiness team in the country. And this week it hired Shane McIntyre to head up the team as national director of rural & agribusiness, based in Melbourne. McIntyre is a trophy hire for Colliers hiring him from local competitor Elders, where he spent a large part of his 40-year career in the sector.

Click here to read about last week’s fundings.

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