Anterra on track to hit $230m hard-cap for agtech fund

Managing partner Adam Anders says the sector has hit a ‘sweet spot’ where traditional VC investors, corporates and real estate investors are all paying attention to the space.

Anterra Capital’s second food and agriculture technology fund is on course to hit its $230 million hard-cap following a “faster than expected” $175 million first close, managing partner Adam Anders told Agri Investor.

The Amsterdam and Boston-based firm launched Anterra FA Ventures II in February 2021 and by May, it had hit its $175 million target for the whole fund.

“It happened a lot faster than we expected,” said Anders. “Our target was $175 million and we just didn’t expect to be at this number so quickly. We have a cap of $230 million but we’re definitely going to reach that. Now it’s a matter of hopefully getting a fantastic club of limited partners together – we want to bring a community together of like-minded people passionate about the transformative power of technology and improving our food system.”

Anders attributed the rapid fundraise to a wider pool of investors now paying attention to agtech than in the past, which has resulted in start-ups routinely raising series stage funding rounds in the hundreds of millions of dollars range and attracting $500 million to $1 billion valuations.

These investors include traditional venture capital firms, large corporates, institutional LPs and traditional real asset investors either wishing to enter the space or those investing in existing assets.

“I actually think we’re coming into a sweet spot. For both the traditional VC fund investors and for the ones that are more adventurous, we’re already there, 100 percent. You see that with the likes of Fidelity and Novo Holdings participating in this round,” Anders said.

“Novo is one of the largest life science fund investors and direct investors in the world and Fidelity is the third largest mutual fund manager in the world. So, the more mature money is definitely there and we’re also seeing increased interest from the real asset investors.”

Investors into the fund include Fidelity-backed Eight Road Ventures, Rabo Investments, Novo Holdings, Tattarang, as well as family offices and sovereign wealth funds. Anders confirmed a pension fund will join the vehicle in time for the fund’s final close.

Anterra’s predecessor 2013-vintage fund closed on $200 million and took $90 million in co-investments. The firm will also pursue co-investments with LPs on its current fund, confirmed Anders, but he declined to disclose the sum of co-investment capital already secured.

Anterra FA Ventures II will invest in seed and series stage agtech start-ups developing innovative on-farm solutions, as well as targeting speculative “platforms that could fundamentally transform food and agriculture,” Anders said.

The firm has already invested in and incubated a handful of companies in the latter category, said Anders, such as a start-up developing viral vaccines for animals using CRISPR gene editing technology, an animal drug discovery platform and ZebiAI, a crop treatment and drug discovery platform.

FA Ventures II invested into ZebuAI at the seed stage and has already exited the business following an $85 million acquisition by Relay Therapeutics.