Agrium invests $15m in Finistere Fund II

The agribusiness company is using the investment as an opportunity to source new technology.

Agriculture products and services company Agrium has made a $15 million commitment to agtech venture fund Finistere Ventures Fund II.

The investment will give the agribusiness corporation access to innovative technologies, as well as the potential to acquire and incorporate Finistere portfolio assets, Agrium vice-president Richard Downey told Agri Investor.

“In many cases it gives us the first opportunity to evaluate and potentially acquire new technologies,” he said. “It’s a very efficient and effective way for us to get a first look at technology we might want to bring in, particularly on the wholesale side, but in the retail side as well.”

Finistere, based in San Diego, was targeting a $150 million final close this summer on its second fund, which was launched last year and targets new technology addressing agricultural productivity, climate change and food security issues.

Finistere partner Spencer Maughan told Agri Investor in May that large agribusiness companies have shown an increasing interest in acquiring start-ups in the agtech space.

“There’s a huge appetite, probably larger than when we started, for acquisition of technology. The big companies, as part of their innovation strategy, have more aggressively adopted an acquisition posture, which in some ways is similar to the pharmaceutical industry in the 90s,” he said.

Other investors in Fund II include Bayer CropScience and Canadian VC firm AVAC, according to PEI Research & Analytics.