OurCrowd, Bayer set up $15 million agtech fund

Finistere Ventures, Cloud Break Advisors, DuPont are among the partners in the new Radicle fund

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Illustrative photo of an agricultural field in Israel, May 2013 (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of an agricultural field in Israel, May 2013 (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

OurCrowd, the Jerusalem-based crowdfunding venture capital platform, has set up a new accelerator fund to finance early stage agricultural technology start-ups with partners including industrial and agricultural conglomerates Bayer and DuPont.

Finistere Ventures, Cloud Break Advisors and an alliance of other agricultural industry leaders are also partners in the new $15 million Radicle fund, OurCrowd said in a statement.

Radicle aims to reduce the time to develop, market, and commercialize new agriculture technologies and aims to incubate AgTech companies that can solve global farming problems, meet the challenges of productivity and sustainability, and increase the quality in food and agriculture. The fund will invest in a variety of technologies, like genomics and plant sciences, seed technology, biologicals for crop protection and regulation, the application of data and predictive analytics to precision agriculture, and disruptive or new farm systems.

OurCrowd, which already has in its portfolio agricultural companies like EdenShield, a nontoxic chemical application that protects crops from pest damage, and CropX, a software-driven smart irrigation system, will identify investment opportunities in Israel for the fund.

Radicle will also operate in San Diego, Palo Alto, Research Triangle Park and the American Midwest, scouting for opportunities globally, the statement said.

“Turning brilliant ideas into viable farming industry businesses requires an intricate combination of industry experience, academic resources, in-field validation opportunities, and a diverse collection of agricultural partners and investment advisors,” said Kirk Haney, CEO of Cloud Break Advisors. “Our entrepreneurial roots, deep-rooted agriculture network, and proven ability to successfully select and develop game-changing AgTech companies ensure we can help innovators reach their full potential.”

The Radicle accelerator fund will provide advisory services and mentorship, access to the industry and industry partnerships, connections with academic institutions and follow on financing for graduates of the program, the statement said.

“Investing in the Radicle accelerator fits perfectly with Bayer’s global investment strategy,” added Geoff Kneen, R&D Licensing & New Ventures Manager for North America, Bayer. “The deep AgTech knowledge and experience of the management team and investor partners will be able to provide strong guidance to the startup companies.”

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