New venture capital firm Five Seasons Ventures has raised $60m at first close to invest in European Food and Agri Tech.
Backed by the European Investment Fund, Nestlé, Fondo Italianio d’Investimento, Bpifrance, selected family offices and entrepreneurs, the fund will focus on early-stage firms working on creating innovative solutions to address challenges faced by the sector.
Today’s news comes amid research that shows that the FoodTech and AgriTech sectors have attracted increasing amounts of venture capital funding, with some interesting companies emerging in the Valley as far back as 2014. According to the AgFunder AgriFood Tech Investing Report, global investment reached $10.1bn last year, representing a 29% increase on 2016, and a four-fold increase since 2014.
In Europe, financing in the sectors has reached €1.4bn in 2017, almost double the amount of investment in 2016, according to data from Dealroom.co.
It’s thought that this surge in innovation is due to many contributing factors, including a shift in consumer mindset when it comes to food and nutrition and the lowering cost of technology.
Five Season Ventures was established by partners Ivan Farneti and Niccolò Manzoni. Farneti has two decades worth of experience in tech venture investment, and has exited investments in excess of $1.5bn.
Farneti said: “In 2018, the opportunity for venture investing in Food Tech reminds me of where software and the internet were back in 1997, when a huge wave of innovation was not yet met by an adequate supply of capital. This is the time to invest in this sector bringing together institutional capital and the venture investor mindset.”
Initially, the fund will look to back companies working on tech solutions for better food and nutrition; providing further transparency in the value chain; reducing wasted calories; addressing unused production and food waste at any stage; and increasing agricultural yield.
Manzoni was amongst the first investors in Europe to back some of the most well-known FoodTech businesses to date, including Impossible Foods, Perfect Day, Beyond Meat, Clear Labs and Memphis Meats.
He added:“Increasingly we are seeing consumers become more conscious about their nutrition, on everything from the reduction of salt, saturated fats and sugar, to personalised nutrition and the benefits of understanding our gut microbiota.
“Timing is everything and Five Seasons is looking for game-changing companies that have proven technology, early commercial traction, and are strategically attractive to food corporates,” Mazoni added.