Established US agribusiness launches VC subsidiary

The Andersons has launched Maumee Ventures to invest into emerging agriculture technologies.

The Andersons, a diversified US agribusiness established in 1947, has launched a venture capital subsidiary, Maumee Ventures, to invest into emerging technologies relevant to the company’s core businesses.

The Andersons is involved in the grain, ethanol and plant nutrient sectors, railcar leasing, turf and cob products, and consumer retailing.

The venture arm will be fully funded by The Andersons and will not raise any external capital, according to Debra Crow, a spokesperson for the firm.

“Maumee Ventures is actively seeking out and examining start-ups where we have in-depth industry expertise and where we can add significant value beyond mere capital investment,” said Joe Needham, managing partner, Maumee Ventures, in a statement.

The new firm will invest into series A and B rounds within several agriculture sub-sectors: plant nutrients, crop protection, grain supply chain, precision agriculture, freight logistics, food safety, and field tracing and renewable energy.

“Investments made by Maumee Ventures can extend our R&D capabilities,” Crow told Agri Investor in an email. “Furthermore, access to applied technology that we believe can solve an end-user’s problem, allows us to offer more competitive products and services for our customers.” The venture project has been in the making for some time, she added.

The Andersons has made a venture capital investment before; it bought a minority stake in eWeather Risk, a weather data provider enabling farmers to develop weather risk management strategies and purchase relevant insurance online.

Maumee can invest between $500,000 and $5 million in any one project, but could consider later-stage opportunities for the right product, according to the website.

“Our approach is different from that of a classic VC firm,” reads the website. “We are unencumbered by a compulsion to ‘exit’ for the sake of earning a quick return. Our belief is that if you build a compelling and simple-to-use product that solves an end-user’s problem, results and returns will follow.”