Rabobank launches VC fund focused on innovative food and agri companies
Rabo Private Equity has launched the Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund that will invest venture capital in high-potential, early-stage food & agri companies that complement the bank’s Banking for Food strategy, which is Rabobank’s vision on global food security and the role that the bank plays as an institution.
“The bank is committed to its Banking for Food strategy, which focuses on the role the bank plays in helping to achieve food security in the context of a rapidly growing world population, changing demographics and consumption patterns and an increasingly complex food system,” says Lizette Sint, Global Head of Rabo Private Equity. “Key to this is the need for innovation in the food and agri space, where the use of new technologies and approaches in genomics, precision agriculture, bio-based applications, vertical farming, smart logistics and resource efficiencies will be crucial in helping to make the food system more secure and efficient. This investment fund will be complimentary to other activities the bank supports in the food & agri innovation space and will support early stage companies who, with investor support, can become tomorrow’s winners in the space. We are very proud to launch this initiative.”
The fund will identify and target companies that contribute to Rabobank’s Banking for Food Principles: Increasing the availability of food, Improving access to food, Promoting balanced, healthy nutrition, and Increasing stability in the food and agri supply chains. Richard O’Gorman, who leads the investment initiative as part of Rabo Private Equity: “We consider investments anywhere along the food and agri value chain, with particular focus on ambitious companies that operate in sectors where we can optimally leverage the bank’s knowledge and expertise, network, and position to help create shareholder value.”
Investments will primarily be in western european countries where the bank is active and the USA. O’Gorman: “We will invest with like-minded investment partners as we believe the combined power of co-investing will offer the bank and the companies we commit to, the best chance of success. Once committed, we will be close partners and provide companies with full access to the bank’s internal food and agri experts and networks, meaning our investments bring much more than just financial support.”
Return on investment
“One key measure of success will be the investment’s financial return, but there are a number of other important criteria,” O’Gorman says. “One of the bank’s goals is to stimulate innovation within the food and agri space, and this fund is another way to achieve that. Early-stage investing gives us greater access to the food and agri innovation ecosystem, which helps us provide our clients and network with stronger support.”
“Ultimately in building value through supporting innovative companies that confront the challenges in the food and agri domain, this is prime example of Rabobank supporting its vision with capital commitment.”