November 20, 2019
BASF Venture Capital makes first inroads into Brazil's agfood sector
BASF Venture Capital is one of the main investors in the first closing of the Brazilian fund AgVentures II having committed US$4 million. The fund is managed by São Paulo-based SP Ventures and focuses on startups from the Latin American agricultural and food (agfood) sector.
The fund aims to support 20 to 25 new companies founded and headquartered in Latin America. Besides BASF, other investors include multinational companies as strategic investors as well as financial investors, international development finance institutions and local family offices. For BASF Venture Capital, this represents the first investment in Brazil.
Brazil is a leading global exporter of crops such as cereals and corn. Agricultural products account for about half of the country's exports. Yet agricultural growers face particular challenges, for example, due to specific climatic conditions. These include a greater proliferation of pests and crop diseases as well as different soil conditions.
In the past two years, Agtech has become one of the most important sectors for venture capital firms in Brazil. The AgVentures II fund is currently the only fund focusing exclusively on agricultural technology. The focus areas for the fund include: agricultural production factors, business management, precision farming, software solutions and livestock management as well as food technologies for innovative food, new ingredients and plant-based proteins, in addition to supply chain technologies, for example, food safety and traceability, logistics and processing technologies. The emergence of a tech-enabled financial services industry focused on the agribusiness segment will also be an important target.
"Cooperation between our businesses and startups has become an important driver of innovation for our customers and growth for BASF in South America. BASF, for example, took an important step by launching AgroStart, an acceleration programme that has already registered 420 startups in the AgTech sector since 2016. BASF Venture Capital's investment in the AgVentures II Fund will provide us with the opportunity to further participate in this dynamic, innovative and co-creative environment that can bring valuable solutions to the industry," says Manfredo Rübens, president BASF South America.
With its investment in the AgVentures II Fund, BASF Venture Capital is taking an important step in supporting the activities of BASF's Agricultural Solutions segment. Markus Solibieda, managing director of BASF Venture Capital, says, "We look forward to supporting promising startups and our business colleagues with this investment. As a partner of AgVentures II, we are preparing the ground for our own future direct investment activities in Brazil and Latin America."