Yield Lab Europe has announced the launch of Yield Lab Europe Fund 1 LP, a new European AgTech venture capital fund which will invest in innovative early stage businesses in the area of agrifood technologies that have 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 €21m first close is backed by a €10m investment from Enterprise Ireland, €4m 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. It is planned to raise further capital for the fund over the next 12 months.
Yield Lab Europe has successfully run its AgTech Accelerator Programme over the past two years, through which it has invested in seven companies. Portfolio companies from Ireland include:
• 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.
• Cork-based MicroSynbiotiX, an animal health company developing a microalgae oral vaccine technology platform to reduce antibiotic usage and tackle disease in aquaculture.
Announcing the investment by Enterprise Ireland, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys said, "Venture capital is essential for the growth and development of successful high potential Irish businesses and I am delighted to announce the creation of the European AgTech Fund by Yield Lab, to be based in Ireland. This fund is very important, marking a significant increase in the availability of capital for companies in the agri-tech sector."