New €20m Fund Launched For Agtech Innovation

06 Sep 2017 | 09.39 am

New €20m Fund Launched For Agtech Innovation

ISIF is committing €40m in total via US VC partnership

06 Sep 2017 | 09.39 am

A new €20m fund has been launched to invest in Irish startup and early stage companies developing technology in agriculture. The Ireland AgTech Fund (IAF) comes via a partnership between the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and California-based agtech VC Finistere Ventures.

As part of the deal, Finistere is planning to open its first European office in Dublin to accelerate its investment and market penetration in Ireland and in the EU.

Finistere’s Kieran Furlong will head up the business’s new office in Dublin. Previously Finistere’s entrepreneur-in-residence, based in California, Furlong is a Wexford native and has experience working with large chemical companies and biotech/cleantech startups.

In addition to the IAF investment, the ISIF is investing an additional €20m in Finistere’s global AgTech fund. According to ISIF, the move gives Ireland exposure to “the fastest growing and highest potential agtech startups around the world, as well as Finistere’s extensive network of co-investors and agri-food industry partners”.

Speaking about IAF, Furlong said that Finistere wanted Ireland to be a hub for European agtech. “All the ingredients are here – a longstanding, export-oriented agri-food industry; world-leading research at Irish universities and institutions such as Teagasc; and, of course, the thriving IT, biopharma and medtech sectors. AgTech is essentially the combination of all of these, so we see great potential for startups here.”

Cathal Fitzgerald, ISIF’s head of food and agricultural investments, said that agriculture and food technology were significant high-potential growth areas for the Irish economy.

“The IAF has strong potential to deliver a commercial return on our investment, stimulate the growth of the Irish agtech sector at large, and support the commercialisation of the state’s significant investment in this sector,” he added.

Photo: Agriculture minister Michael Creed (centre) with Kieran Furlong, Finistere (left), and Cathal Fitzgerald, ISIF (Pic: Fennells Photography)

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