Obvious Ventures raises $123m fund to invest in sustainable systems

The fund will focus on investing into technologies across the agri value chain that specialise on healthy living and climate change adaptation.

San Francisco venture capital firm Obvious Ventures has recently closed its first fund, Obvious Venture I, on $123.5 million, a year after its started fundraising.

The fund held a first close on $77 million last July, according to co-founder Vishal Vasishth.

With a focus on agriculture-related companies and technologies, Fund I attracted more than 20 investors, according to filings with the US Security and Exchange Commission. Vasishth said the investor base includes high-quality entrepreneurs and “a good number” of institutional investors.

The venture capital fund is focused on investing into climate change adaptation technologies and other assets that aim to improve how resources are used. It will also invest in companies that aim to empower people and promote healthy living.

“We look at how we can improve the yields of farms and the soil quality, as well as new ways of farming,” Vasihth said. “We invest in on-demand products and we look at the entire value chain within the agriculture sector.”

Last year the fund invested in Beyond Meat, a company that uses plant proteins to replace meat. The company aims to improve human health, positively impact climate change, help conserve natural resources and respect animal welfare, according to its website.

Fund I will focus on the US market and will mainly investing in early-stage companies’ Series A rounds with options for follow-on investments depending on if and when the portfolio companies need it, according to Vasihth. The target deployment period is five years. “US companies could have a global market,” he added.

The firm currently has twelve portfolio companies with more investments in ag and food sectors coming up in the next a few months. The average investment size is between $1 million and $3 million, Agri Investor learned.

Vasishth has over 20 years of experience across operations and investment in both developed and emerging markets.

The fund’s other co-founders, Ev Williams and James Joaquin, are also entrepreneurs with good track records. Williams co-founded Pyra Labs in 1999, which created the blog-publishing service Blogger that was later acquired by Google; and Joaquin co-founded Clearview Software that was acquired by Apple.