ADM Capital makes fourth deal from debut ag fund

The Cibus vehicle, which has a $500m fundraising target, has deployed nearly $70m after backing Israel-based Rootility.

ADM Capital has led the $10 million series funding round of Rootility, a developer of root-focused plant breeding methods.

The Israeli start-up, which launched in 2006, has now raised $37 million, a source told Agri Investor. GreenSoil Investments, Israel’s largest agrifood technology fund, and Middleland Capital, a North American agtech venture capital firm, also took part in the funding round. Both of them were already investors in the business.

The deal marks ADM’s fourth through Cibus, its debut agribusiness fund. The vehicle, originally expected to hit its $500 million target and hard-cap this quarter, has now deployed $68.5 million, Agri Investor understands. In January, we reported that the firm was aiming for a second close at the beginning of this year, following a $101 million first close in May 2017.

ADM declined to comment on fundraising.

The methods Rootility develops aim to improve crop yield and overall agronomic performance while preserving crop quality. They do not use GMOs, the company said, and are developed in cooperation with seed companies and food processors.

“Over the last several years we have been able to revolutionize rootstock breeding in several crops including industrial and open-field fresh tomatoes,” said Rafael Meissner, the company’s founder and chief executive. “With this additional investment we will be able to scale our operations and enter new territories where ADM Capital has a strong foothold, including several markets in Asia.”

Cibus had previously invested in a mature almond orchard in the Australian state of Victoria, Spanish olive oil maker Innoliva and New Jersey-based vertical farming company AeroFarms. The fund has a 10 percent allocation to early-stage businesses.

The rest is earmarked for investments in mid-market companies with an EBITDA greater than $3 million, which the firm will hold for between four and six years with an IRR target of between 20 percent and 25 percent.