Finistere Ventures, a pioneering investor in agrifood technology companies, has just announced the launch of a $40 million-dollar Finistere Aotearoa Fund in partnership with NZ Growth Capital Partners (NZGCP).
Manawatū is recognised as the leading agrifood hub of New Zealand, so it is fitting that this fund will be based here with operations to be run from The Factory in Palmerston North, a leading research and development (R&D) company incubation cluster that has a longstanding relationship with Finistere.
The Factory has been central to Finistere’s investments in New Zealand-grown companies such as BioLumic and ZeaKal, as well as its most recent investment in Sprout alongside partners Fonterra and OurCrowd. CEDA proudly partners with Sprout and The Factory to fuel innovators and doers, create investment opportunities and build on our regions competitive advantage as a leading agrifood hub.
“It is an exciting time for the agrifood industry globally, and Manawatū is leading the way for Aotearoa,” says Stewart. “With $12.4 million of capital invested into local agritech companies, and $1.6million in R&D grants invested in Manawatū agritech companies during the 2019/20 financial year and being home to more than 3,900 scientists and researchers, Manawatū is a place where people and companies in agritech and agrifood choose to be based.” says Linda Stewart, Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA) CEO.
“The regions long commitment to building investment capability in agrifood innovation is further demonstrated through the development and implementation of New Zealand’s first regional AgriTech Strategy. This reinforces the strength and depth of capability and collaboration that we have here and as a result we are seeing investment activity that is far greater than we anticipated.” adds Stewart.
Dean Tilyard, co-founder and director of Sprout, will now serve as Finistere’s New Zealand Venture Partner and lead the new fund.
Tilyard noted, “While more than $46 billion has been invested in agrifood tech over the last decade – a trend likely to increase with the growing focus on sustainability – New Zealand hasn’t had the connected capital players necessary to help our companies take full advantage of this trend. The Finistere NZGCP partnership will make a big difference by being able to lead diligence and financing of local opportunities. Our innovation cluster here is as good as anything in the Netherlands or Israel but has been less known. That is changing.”
The fund will focus on supporting high-potential technologies with a concentration on advanced crop protection technologies, nutrient management, alternative proteins, food delivery, and supply chain advances to promote a healthier, more sustainable agrifood ecosystem. Bringing the fund to Manawatū reinforces Finistere’s commitment to the local ecosystem here, and their commitment to supporting New Zealand’s best and brightest startups.
Co-founder and partner of Finistere Ventures, Arama Kukutai, adds “New Zealand has become a world leader in agricultural research and innovation focused on curtailing the environmental impact of agriculture, fuelled in part by the government’s continued investment and passion for environmental and agricultural efforts. Investing over $250m annually through its public sector institutions, cementing its commitment to a zero-emissions national agriculture strategy and continuing its close partnership with its ag and food ecosystem, New Zealand is a centre for agricultural excellence.”
“Having a strong local presence in Aotearoa has long been on our agenda. We are excited to partner with NZGCP to support the global commercialization of NZ’s most promising agrifood technology advancements,” says Kukutai.
About Finistere Ventures
Finistere Ventures is a leading global agrifood technology and life sciences venture capital
investor with offices in Palo Alto, San Diego, Ireland, Israel and Manawatū, New Zealand. Its team has developed and invested in some of the most successful agrifood tech companies of the last 20 years – building and backing companies worth more than $5 billion. Visit Finistere.com.
Finistere Ventures is a US fund manager, and the partnership is in US dollars, with the amounts in this release being approximate NZ dollar conversions. The actual Elevate commitment is US$10m up to a maximum of US$15m, based on Finistere’s first close of US$20m and targeted final close of US$30m.