Israeli GPs plot agtech rollout via Ahern acquisition

Pulse Agri Investments and Tene Investment Funds plan to bolt on additional agtech services that will benefit from Ahern’s distribution network and established status.

Pulse Agri Investments and Tene Investment Funds’ acquisition of Ahern Agribusiness is a long-term agtech play designed to take advantage of the vegetable seed company’s distribution network, two managing partners at Pulse Agri told Agri Investor.

US-based Ahern develops and sells vegetable seeds in its core markets of Mexico and Central America. The firm also has plant genetics and crop management capabilities, and evaluates seed varieties for suppliers such as Bayer, Syngenta and others.

The 40-year-old company was acquired by the two Israeli firms in a January deal. Financial details were undisclosed.

“We identified Ahern as one of the most important opportunities we need to look at because we believe strongly that in order to be successful in the agtech, you need strong distribution,” said Amnon Eshet.

“It’s very a fragmented industry, it’s not easy to get into and it is very conservative in many cases, so you need a strong foot on the ground. That’s why we decided that instead of investing in different technologies, we’re better off having a strong distribution then going upstream and looking for good technologies that can use this platform.”

Pulse Agri was founded roughly two years ago by Eshet and Roee Tamari, the pair confirmed. The firm drew from its own pool of capital – the size of which Tamari declined to disclose – as well as from private investors participating in the deal through Pulse Agri.

Tene Investment Funds drew from its $480 million fourth flagship vehicle, which is now close to being fully deployed.

“We are looking to expand the [Ahern] platform in several ways,” said Tamari. “We are now investing in early-stage technologies such as robotics and precise data that are going to be part of the service that this platform will provide.”

The firm has already closed one transaction and has signed a term sheet for another, he added.

“One of the conditions in the term sheet [for the second transaction] is exclusive distributorship in North America with our platform. We are now working on this distribution agreement in order to reach closing with the term sheet,” said Tamari.