The Pontifax Global Food and Agriculture Technology Fund (Pontifax AgTech) provided $6 million to Florida-based Anuvia Plant Nutrients as part of that fertiliser company’s recent $23 million capital raise, Agri Investor has learned.
Ben Belldegrun and Philip Erlanger, co-founders and managing partners of the fund, told Agri Investor that the follow-on investment in Anuvia – Pontifax and its affiliates previously invested $3 million in Anuvia in 2014 – comes in line with its focus on providing growth capital geared toward growing companies.
“When we look at a potential investment we ask if it’s something disruptive to the industry, with proven sales, revenues and management, and we aim to help them scale commercially,” Erlanger said.
Pontifax AgTech, headquartered in Los Angeles, California – the first agtech and fifth life-sciences fund of Israeli life-sciences investor Pontifax – is currently raising $150 million of total committed capital.
The fund typically makes milestone-based investments between $10 million and $15 million in its companies over the course of a three to seven year holding and is understood to be targeting net internal rates of return in excess of 30 percent.
Zellwood, Florida-based Anuvia manufactures an enhanced efficiency fertiliser (EEF) for the turf and agricultural industries, aiming to use organic waste materials in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner.
“Anuvia is currently EBITDA positive, with compelling growth prospects, given its application to a wide array of organic feedstocks and the efficacy of it’s slow release fertiliser product,” Erlanger said.
Anuvia is one of five existing portfolio companies which the Fund has invested in, including AgBiome, Caribou Biosciences, Blue River Technology and Conservus, which reflect the Fund’s focus on life sciences, nutrition, information tech, precision farming and the agriculture supply chain.
“This is exactly the time when you want to be putting long-term capital into the sector,” Belldegrun said. “We think agtech innovation represents one of the most crucial investment opportunities over the next 20 years, much like biotech 20 years ago.
“When you look at biotech, it was initially slow to pick up investor interest, but now sophisticated investors increasingly want agtech exposure in a diversified investment portfolio.”
Pontifax founding investors are comprised of leading family offices, foundations, growers and institutions. They include investors who are founders of their own companies, including David Bonderman (TPG), Tony Ressler (Ares Management), Haim Saban (Saban Entertainment), and Stewart Resnick (The Wonderful Company).
TPG Alternative & Renewable Technologies (TPG ART) led the $23 million raise, as outlined in a recent Agri Investor commentary.