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BRIEF: Verdesian Life Sciences acquired by AEA Investors in exit for Paine Schwartz

January 22, 2021

  • Plant health and nutrition startup Verdesian Life Sciences has been acquired by New York-based AEA Investors, AFN has learned. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Verdesian was launched in 2012 by agrifood-focused private equity firm Paine Schwartz Partners to develop and acquire technologies around nutrient use efficiency. It offers a range of biological, nutritional, and inoculant technologies for the specialty crop, row crop, turf, and ornamental markets.
  • The Cary, North Carolina startup recently expanded into South America. It employs close to 240 staff globally, and claims to have filed for over 290 patents since 2014.

Why it matters:

AEA’s acquisition of Verdesian marks one of the first agritech startup exits in 2021. While the space continues to attract significant investor dollars, exits have been few and far between to date.

Notable ag biotech exits from recent years include US gene-editing startup Precision Biosciences‘ March 2019 IPO at a valuation of $870 million. That same month, another US gene-editing startup, Benson Hill, acquired eMerge Genetics to improve the nutritional value of crops.

In June 2020, TechAccel venture RNAissance Ag acquired RNAgri to boost its manufacturing capacity for its sprayable RNA pesticides.

New York-based Paine Schwartz closed a $1.43 billion fund in October 2019 and has indicated strong interest in the growing ‘plant-based economy.’ It’s prioritizing ESG as part of its screening process for the fund, in part to better align itself with institutional investors who are adding this lens to their portfolios.

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