AgTech VC fund begins search for scaleable start-ups

Fiona Edwards Murphy, ApisProtect
Fiona Edwards Murphy, ApisProtect

Yield Lab to harvest new business ideas

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5 June 2019 | 0

Yield Lab Europe has announced the launch of Yield Lab Europe Fund 1 LP, a European venture capital fund which will invest in innovative early stage AgTech businesses with the potential to scale up internationally.

The fund will include an accelerator fund which invests €100,000 into five companies each year, and a larger follow-on fund to lead rounds through to Series A for selected companies.

The fund’s €21 million first close is backed by a €10 million investment from Enterprise Ireland, €4 million from AIB, and three leading private family offices.

The fund will invest in companies that improve the sustainability of food production, helping to reduce the contribution of the sector to climate change and environmental pollution.

Yield Lab Europe has run its AgTech accelerator over the past two years, through which it has invested in seven companies including Cork-based ApisProtect, whose technology helps commercial beekeepers protect the health of their honey bees; Meath-based insect farm Hexafly who uses black soldier flies to upcycle brewing waste into high value proteins, oils and natural fertilisers; Carlow-based Microgen Biotech, whose technology prevents the uptake of toxic heavy metals into plants and our food; and Cork-based MicroSynbiotiX, an animal health company developing a microalgae oral vaccine technology platform to reduce antibiotic usage and tackle disease in aquaculture.

Speaking about the fund’s launch, Paul Finnerty, chairman of Yield Lab Europe, said: “The launch of this new fund is a testament to our success to date and the potential of this sector. It gives us the financial firepower to be a leading player in early stage investment in European AgTech. Over the past two years we have invested in and supported seven highly innovative start-ups that are building international businesses of scale.”

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