The fund has doubled in size to reach a value of €124 million, and thus become the leading venture capital fund in France – and one of the leaders in Europe – dedicated to innovation in agriculture, food, bioenergies and green chemistry.
This final funding round represents a turning point for Capagro Innovation: it will enable it to cope with a growing deal flow and improve its capacity to invest in its most promising stakeholdings.
Paris, France, 19 October 2017 — Capagro has announced completion of a second funding round worth €66 million. This follows the reopening in January 2017 of the subscription period for its venture capital vehicle, Capagro Innovation.
Set up in April 2014 with an initial allocation of €37.5 million, which rose to €58 million following the first subscription period completed in January 2016, Capagro Innovation set itself the objective of doubling in size through a new investor round.
This goal has now been reached as the fund’s allocation has risen to €124 million, higher than the initial objective of €120 million. The fund has also welcomed some new subscribers – Agromousquetaires, ISAGRI, InVivo and LSDH – alongside its historical partners, some of which made a significant contribution to this final funding round: Groupama, Crédit Agricole and Bpifrance – the latter contributing notably in the context of the French government’s Investments for the Future Programme (PIA), on its own behalf and on behalf of the General Commission for Investment (CGI).
“The success of this operation wholly validates the initial idea which drove creation of our fund”, comments Jean-Baptiste CUISINIER, Chairman of Capagro. “The growth of the digital and robotic sciences, advances in biology and biotechnologies, and demands from society regarding agriculture, food and the recycling of biomass, have all converged. The resulting innovations constitute a valuable for France and Europe, on condition that the entrepreneurs can find financial partners capable of supporting them in the long term. That is the commitment of Capagro Innovation.”
In three and a half years – well before its initial forecasts – Capagro Innovation has invested in 15 companies and examined more than 400 applications from innovative enterprises seeking to raise equity and whose products or services meet precise criteria for maturity.
This final funding round endows the fund with new resources to meet increasing demands, even though it remains the only venture capital fund in France (and one of the only funds in Europe) that specializes in supporting innovation in agriculture, food, bioenergies and green chemistry.
These greater resources will also permit it to increase the number of its stakeholdings – ultimately around twenty – while at the same time improving its ability to invest in the most promising holdings in its portfolio. Under its initial configuration, interventions by the fund – mainly as a minority stakeholder – took the form of funding tickets worth between €1 million and €5 million, to enable start-ups with finished products or services to reach the market and grow at a large scale. As from now, by doubling in size, the fund will be able to make much larger investments of up to €10 million in a single holding.
“Our fund has thus provided itself with the means to respond to the changing capital needs of the start-ups it supports”, explains Jean-Baptiste CUISINIER. "We must be ready to enable these young companies to succeed in advancing from the status of a start-up to that of a firm that has demonstrated its growth potential. This challenge is particularly important because, despite a strong rise in demand, there are very few funds like ours in Europe.”
A global ambition
Through this fund, Capagro aims to contribute to exploiting the advantages of French AgTech in global markets, where the sector recorded investments worth $4.6 billion worldwide in 2015 (versus $2.5 billion in 2014), ahead of sectors as emblematic as FinTech or CleanTechs. The sector continued to perform well in 2016 despite a 30% drop in the value of investments to $3.2 billion, counterbalanced by a 10% rise in the number of operations completed the same year (Source: AgTech Investing Report 2016, AgFunder).
Capagro Innovation assembles 13 leading industrial groups and financial institutions that are closely involved in sustainable development and the farming world: AG2R LA MONDIALE; Agromousquetaires; Bpifrance (on its own behalf and on behalf of the General Commission for Investment – CGI) in the context of the French government’s Investments for the Future Programme (PIA); Crédit Agricole; Groupama; Agrica; Groupe Bel; ISAGRI; Groupe LSDH; InVivo; Sofiprotéol (the finance and development arm of the Avril Group); Tereos and Terrena.
The fund supports projects linked to societal challenges of crucial interest to the farming world, from the development of a sustainable agricultural product to the challenges of quality and nutrition in the agrifood industry, and including the ability of biomass to offer a sustainable alternative to raw materials of fossil origin and the agricultural or industrial recycling of biomass under a circular economy.
Capagro Innovation is managed by Capagro SAS, a portfolio management firm specialized in venture capital investments in biomass-related sectors, accredited by the AMF in the spring of 2014 and whose creation was driven by Sofiprotéol, Tereos and Bpifrance. Capagro is a socially-responsible investor that takes account of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria in its investment decisions.