Venture capital firm Tenacious Ventures, which specialises in the Australian Agri-foodtech segment, has closed its first fund at $35 million.
The Tenacious Ventures Fund I will be used to invest in Pre-series A businesses within the Agtech space. The firm expects to invest 80% of the capital raised into Australian-domiciled startups.
Matthew Pryor, co-founder of Observant, and Sarah Nolet, founder of AgThentic founded Tenacious Ventures. It provides capital and hands-on support to seed and series-a agrifood tech startups.
The Tenacious Ventures Fund I secured its first close last year in March at over $20 Million. Australian Government Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Mike & Annie Cannon-Brookes’ Grok Ventures invested in the fund. The fund later made six more investments to raise another $15 Million.
“Over the last five years, we’ve seen the ecosystem grow and produce world-class startups. But many were struggling to attract funding- local investors didn’t understand the space or have the networks to diligence opportunities. While offshore investors were too far away,” said Sarah Nolet, co-founder of Tenacious Ventures.
Tenacious is part of the federal government’s Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnerships (ESVCLP) scheme. Its current portfolio includes waste management startup Goterra, and Queensland-based SwarmFarm Robotics.
Other investments include – US-based carbon marketplace Nori; Biotechnology company Vow; Pest management agtech startup RapidAIM and sustainable protein company Nowadays.
Agri-foodtech is a niche but a fast-developing segment within the startup ecosystem. It aims to improve or disrupt the broader food and agriculture industry. The sector is primarily technology-driven.
It has at least 13 categories, according to a 2017 report by investment marketplace AGFunder. These include Ag Biotechnology, Farm Management Software, Sensing & IoT, Farm Robotics, Mechanization & Equipment, Bioenergy, Novel Farming Systems, Supply Chain Tech, Agribusiness Marketplaces, and Innovative Food, among others.
“We know that it will take more than just software to create globally impactful solutions in agriculture. We’ve built a team at Tenacious with expertise in hardware, supply chains, manufacturing, and more,” Pryor said.
“We’re excited about non-traditional innovators and unique, transformational business models. We believe these are critical to achieving real impact across the food system.”