Over the past few years, the agriculture sector has been attracting huge investments, as VCs are investing in solutions that seek to solve the food security problem amid the rapid population growth. According to Deloitte, the agriculture industry is on the verge of turning into a high-tech industry; clearly indicated by the growing number of agricultural startups and investors.
In this regard, Astanor Ventures, a Brussels-based investment firm has closed a $325M (approx €273M) global fund to help “revolutionise the food and agriculture sector.” The VC is planning to invest its first fund exclusively in food, agriculture, and ocean tech startups across Europe and North America.
Creating future of food
As per the company’s claims, new science and cross-pollination between technologists, farmers, microbiologists, environmentalists, engineers, AI experts, food scientists, chefs, fermentation alchemists and others passionate about sustainable food is creating a future of food built at the intersection of technology and nature.
Eric Archambeau, co-founder, and partner, Astanor Ventures says, “It’s never been clearer that there’s a direct connection between the food that we eat and the environment that we live in. When one part of the ecosystem that connects farmers, consumers, livestock, rivers, seas, soil, plants, and the air becomes damaged, all parts suffer.”
“The pandemic has brought this home to us vividly and there is now an urgent need for an impact investor like Astanor which is using tech and capital to bring about a revolution in food and farming, while also working towards accelerating the UN’s sustainable development goals and mitigating climate change,” he further adds.
Aims to keep population nourished
The Belgium company aims to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges including keeping the world’s growing population nourished while protecting the environment. Within its network, Astanor counts entrepreneurs, impact investors, farmers, chefs, policymakers, food scientists, and high-profile sector experts, such as Kathleen Merrigan, a professor in the School of Sustainability and executive director of the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University, and an Astanor Venture Partner.
Archambeau adds, “We are looking for those passionate, driven entrepreneurs who understand that food production has become disconnected from the soil and its microbiome, with horrible consequences for the planet and our ability to feed the world’s growing population well and sustainably.”
Invested in more than 20 startups
Founded by Eric Archambeau and George Coelho, Astanor Venture has invested in more than 20 European and US startups that are working to accelerate regenerative agriculture, innovate food production techniques and farming, as well as promote food culture and the enjoyment of food. The portfolio companies include Ϋnsect (Berlin), La Ruche Qui dit Oui (France), Notpla (UK), Apeel (California), and InFarm (Berlin).
Infarm recently raised €144M in the “first close” of a Series C round of funding; the round is expected to reach about €168 M. LGT Lightstone led this round of investment in a mix of equity and debt financing. Existing investors Atomico, TriplePoint Capital, Mons Capital, and Astanor Ventures; Hanaco, Bonnier, Haniel, and Latitude also invested in this round.
In October, this year, France-based Ÿnsect raised a notable €190.6M in a Series C extension round. This funding round was an extension of its Series C round. Astanor Ventures led the round, along with LA-based Upfront Ventures and Robert Downey Jr.‘s FootPrint Coalition.
Launched Balderton Capital in Europe
Both Eric Archambeau and George Coelho believe passionately that new technology can restore health to people and the planet while creating a future of food that is nourishing, regenerative, scalable, trusted, and delicious. It’s worth mentioning that the firm’s founders — Eric Archambeau and George Coelho launched Balderton Capital in Europe and were early investors in Spotify, Betfair, Freenow, LoveFilm, and Zopa.
Main image credits: Astanor Ventures