Published: August 9, 2019
The Irish-based, agricultural specialist investor is providing early stage and follow-on funding to start-ups focused on the often overlooked and little understood sector
In June, Yield Lab Europe – an accelerator programme for the AgTech industry – announced it had launched a new €21mn venture capital fund. This will support early-stage businesses in the area of agrifood technologies, particularly those with the potential to address environmental sustainability and food security challenges.
The money includes an accelerator fund, which will support five startups a year for the next five years with an investment of €100,000 each. It also includes a larger follow-on fund for companies that are too mature for an accelerator. These enterprises, together with the strongest of the accelerator portfolio companies, will receive up to €1mn each over several follow-on rounds.
“The AgTech sector is growing year on year, and we can now apply technology to farming in a way we couldn’t do five to 10 years ago,” Nicky Deasy, co-founder and managing partner, tells EMEA Finance. “So, there’s a plethora of opportunities and a plethora of companies going after them. Some are in the biotech area, while some are in software, hardware, IoT, and big data.”
She adds that, while this is a very large market in a high-growth phase, we are still seeing a shortage of capital.
“There are very few specialist investors relative to other sectors and it’s still hard for companies to get their money raised, certainly at the early stages,” Deasy says. “There’s a need for funding by specialist investors like ourselves, because we can then leverage the more generalist investors who will come in behind us.”