Flagship Ventures V targets $180m for agri

The venture capital firm recently closed Fund V on $537m and intends to invest one-third into agriculture with the remaining targeting healthcare opportunities.

US venture capital firm Flagship Ventures announced the final close of Fund V on $537 million, which is nearly twice as large as Fund IV which closed in 2010. This takes Flagship’s total assets under management to $1.4 billion.

About one third of the fund will be invested into the agriculture sector, according to Jeffrey Krasner, a senior spokesperson for Flagship Ventures. The remaining two-thirds will focus mainly on healthcare, he told Agri Investor.

“We closed this fund with nearly twice the amount of capital we had initially sought, and in record time,” said Noubar Afeyan, senior managing partner and chief executive of Flagship Ventures, in a statement. “The strong interest from new and existing Limited Partners is a meaningful endorsement of our unique approach.”

Institutional investors, funds of funds, endowments and pension funds are among the investor base, Krasner said in a phone conversation. He also noted that more than half the investors have invested with Flagship before.

Fund V will make early-stage investments into therapeutics, health technologies and sustainability – specifically in the energy, water and agriculture/nutrition sectors, according to a statement.

Last week, Flagship Ventures partnered with Red Rock Biofuels to help build its $200 million refinery, just in time to break ground for Red Rock’s first commercial-scale refinery. Red Rock takes waste biomass from forests and sawmills, and using a proprietary process, transforms it into jet, diesel and naphtha fuels, according to the company website.

In November, Flagship Ventures launched its own agbio company, Symbiota, putting in $7.5 million into its series A fundraising round. Since then the pioneer of plant microbiome solutions has brought three industry leaders and experts to its board of directors.

Fund V made its first investment into an extremely early-stage company earlier this year, said Krasner who declined to disclose more about this investment. However, the newly invested company is in a similar field as Moderna Therapeutics, a messenger RNA drug developer, in which Flagship invested in 2010.

“With this fund, we will accelerate our process of creating companies through VentureLabs, and we anticipate expanding our team and launching as many as five new companies a year going forward,” Afeyan said in a statement. VentureLabs is the invention and launch arm of Flagship Ventures.