YIELD LAB, AN agtech venture capital and accelerator firm, has launched a new €21 million investment fund based out of Galway that will invest in European startups.
The US outfit’s European fund will back early stage startups working on new tech within agriculture, such as food production and solutions for climate change. It also runs an accelerator programme in Galway.
Managing partner Nicky Deasy, who will run the fund’s operations from Galway, told Fora that it will help bridge a gap in funding for agtech and agrifood startups.
“It’s a sector that’s not within the mainstream of what venture capital does. Most are life sciences or technology and IT related funds,” she said.
Yield Lab Europe announced that the fund, dubbed Yield Lab Europe Fund 1 LP, has marked its first close at €21 million, with the intention to raise further funds for the pot over the next year.
It is backed by €10 million from Enterpise Ireland, alongside €4 million from AIB and further backing from a number of family offices.
“The area of agrifood has traditionally been under-served in terms of venture capital investment and people having the expertise to actually make those types of investments,” Deasy said.
Yield Lab launched a European base in Ireland two years ago with its agtech accelerator programme, where it provides €100,000 and training and mentorship to startups. It also has operations in Argentina and Singapore.
The fund will earmark around €1 million per company that will be invested over two to three rounds, Deasy said.
“Our companies need more money and the sector as a whole globally is experiencing very significant growth,” she added.
“It’s an area I think that traditionally has had very little research and development (R&D) and innovation for quite a long time. That’s changed, there are a lot of issues around sustainability and how we produce our food.”
Yield Lab Europe has invested in several agtech startups, including Irish startups like Cork’s ApisProtect, which is creating internet of things tools for beekeepers, and Meath’s Hexafly, a startup using insects to assist in the production of animal feed.