Foragen Technology fully exits $42m agtech fund – exclusive

The Canadian venture capital fund's exit involved a range of successful investments including AgraQuest, Chromatin and MCN BioProducts.

Foragen Technologies Management, a Canadian venture capital firm specialising in seed and early stage investments, announced the completion of the Foragen Technologies Limited Partnership Fund earlier this week. The fund is fully invested and the firm has no plans to raise any new funds, managing director Armand Lavoie told Agri Investor.

Created in early 2000, Foragen was a $42 million investment fund devoted to the creation and start-up of advanced agricultural technological ventures in the agri-food and agri-biotechnology sectors. The fund was co-managed by Armand Lavoie, one of the original members of the management team, and the Kirchner Group as part of its successor GP program.

Founded in 1985, Kirchner Private Capital Group provided merchant banking services and offered advisory, operational and transactional support to companies as well as asset management services for institutional investors. The successor GP program acts as a fiduciary to replace or complement the general partner in order to help better align interests, find liquidity and maximise value for limited partners, according to Kirchner’s website.

Mainly focusing on the agricultural sector, Foragen was sponsored by RBC Capital PartnersCIC Investment Management, a subsidiary of CIC Insurance group, and Investissement Québec, a provider of financial solutions for businesses in Québec.

Past investments include MCN Bio Products, which developed a unique, patented process to manufacture value-added canola-based ingredients for the aquaculture and animal feed industries. MCN BioProducts was sold to Bunge, a global agribusiness and food company, in April 2012. The same year, AgraQuest, a natural bio pesticide company, was sold to Bayer CropScience for about $500 million.

Other investments included Chromatin, a developer of patented technology that improves crop performance, and Radient, a company converts renewable biomass feedstock into natural ingredients for use in pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, functional food, and cosmetic applications.

“This is still another validation of our ‘Successor GP’ program which we developed to address situations such as Foragen,” said Bud Kirchner, founder and chief executive of Kirchner Group, in a statement. “Our model is predicated on the process expertise of decades in similar situations combined with the unique experience of domain experts such as Armand.”

Lavoie has over 20 years of operational, venture capital, fund management and transactional experience. He has managed investments and served on the boards of several industrial life sciences, health and wellness, and cleantech companies, according to his bio.