Pontifax AgTech has held a first close of its second fund on $140 million. The fund is targeting $250 million overall and the team already has commitments of $170 million.
Pontifax is a growth equity fund focused on foodtech and agtech. It invests at Series B stage and beyond. Its first fund, a $105 million vehicle, has already had two exit events with the acquisition of robotics startup Blue River Technology by John Deere and the IPO of Precision Biosciences.
Fund II’s investors are predominantly large institutional investors, including Vermont Public Pension that recently disclosed a $25 million commitment to the fund. The investor make-up of the fund is a break from Fund I, which was predominantly family offices. Several foundations also invested in the fund as an impact investment, underlining the inherent link between food and ag, impact and sustainability; VCs across the sector have told AFN this has opened doors to new investors in a big way.
Pontifax is different to most agri-foodtech VCs in that it focuses on growth-stage investing in startups at Series B stage or later; the majority of sector-focused VCs invest earlier stage. Pontifax, therefore, focuses on taking execution, commercialization and scaling risk after a technology is already proven.
Pontifax’s portfolio includes several ag biotech companies such as AgBiome, Anuvia, Caribou Biosciences, Concentric, and Tropic Biosciences, as well as farm management software group Conservis, traceability and tracking software FoodLogiq, and flower delivery company Bouqs.
Pontifax now has $300 million in assets under management including co-investments made by its investors.