The first venture capital fund dedicated to innovation in the French and European agro-industrial sectors
8 investments made in one year
200 applications received from innovative companies seeking to raise funds
Efforts are ongoing to identity new subscribers and support innovative
French and European start-ups in different agro-industrial sectors
Jean-Philippe Puig, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of CapAgro and CEO of
the Avril Group, and Jean-Baptiste Cuisinier, Chairman of CapAgro, today presented their review of the first year of activity by the CapAgro Innovation fund during a press conference.
A little more than a year since its creation in April 2014, the first venture capital fund in France to be dedicated to innovation in agriculture, food and renewable chemistry and energies has recorded results that exceed its initial goal of taking capital stakes in an average of four companies each year.
Endowed with a €42 million budget, which should be increased to €60 million between now and the end of 2015, during the past twelve months CapAgro Innovation has made eight investments in sectors that are central to the challenges of tomorrow and creators of value and employment:
- In the fields of food and nutrition, CapAgro Innovation has invested in OLYGOSE (which producesIn agriculture, CapAgro Innovation is supporting the development of FORCE-A (non-destructive and real-time diagnostic solutions for precision agriculture and viticulture), VITAMFERO (innovative treatments to prevent infectious and parasitic diseases in the veterinary health sector) and MON EDEN (a pure player in the on-line gardening sector, targeting both amateurs and professionals).
- prebiotic fibres extracted from protein-rich plants that can contribute to controlling excess weight and associated pathologies), NUTRESIA (design of innovative, top-of-the-range ready meals), CRYOLOG (inventor of the “intelligent” label that can verify the correct preservation of food products) and ePROVENANCE (a technology that authenticates, tracks and monitors the temperature of wine during transit and storage, from producer to consumer).
- CapAgro made its first investment in the industrial sector in July 2014, with LINEAZEN, the first manufacturer of high performance, beech, box-ribbed CLT (cross-laminated timber) systems for the construction of buildings more than five floors high.
Furthermore, within a little more than a year, the CapAgro Innovation management team has received more than 200 applications from innovative companies seeking to raise capital and meeting the precise criteria required – notably in terms of the maturity of the products and services they offer.
For Jean-Baptiste Cuisinier, “These figures confirm the role and legitimacy of a fund such as CapAgro Innovation in France, and testify not only to the dynamism of innovation in French and European agroindustrial sectors but also to a lack of financial partners who can support their long-term development.”
At its creation, the fund fixed a five-year goal of investing between €1 million and €5 million in the capital of some twenty innovative companies, based mainly in France and Europe. Having already committed funds to eight investments, CapAgro is now ahead of its initial time-line, thus demonstrating the wealth and diversity of innovation in its target sectors, both in France and throughout Europe. Jean-Philippe Puig, Chairman of the CapAgro’s Supervisory Board and CEO of the Avril Group, explained: “It is vital to support the perspectives offered by innovation in the French and European agroindustrial sectors. Through its provision of funds for dynamic SMEs, CapAgro Innovation is committed to encouraging the emergence of leaders in tomorrow’s markets and thus contributing to maintaining the competitiveness of our country in sectors that can generate value, such as agriculture, food, and renewable chemistry and energies.”
Jean-Baptiste Cuisinier, Chairman of CapAgro, went on: “Science and technology are essential partners for an agriculture that can enable access for our growing populations to healthy and sustainable foods. Faced with these challenges, CapAgro Innovation hopes to support the most promising start-ups in different agro-industrial sectors and drive the sale of their solutions. This financial support is already bearing fruit in the form of eight emblematic investments within just one year, but this is still insufficient in France when we look at the potential of all the projects submitted to us. For this reason, we are even more keen to pursue our fund-raising and contribute to making up the investment deficit faced by young companies and start-ups in our country.”
CapAgro Innovation involves six leading industrial groups and financial institutions that are closely involved in sustainable development and the farming world: Sofiprotéol (the finance and development arm of Groupe Avril), Tereos, Bpifrance, Crédit Agricole (through its subsidiary Crédit Agricole Capital Investissement & Finance, CACIF), Groupama and AG2R LA MONDIALE. The fund supports projects related to the societal challenges that are central to the farming world, the development of sustainable agricultural production and the challenges of quality and nutrition faced by the food industry, as well as focusing on how biomass can replace fossil resources in a sustainable manner and be exploited by agriculture or industry within the framework of a circular economy.
CapAgro Innovation is managed by CapAgro SAS, a portfolio management company specialised in venture capital investments in biomass-related sectors, which was accredited by the AMF in the spring of 2014 and whose creation was driven by Sofiprotéol, Tereos and Bpifrance. CapAgro is a socially responsible investor that takes account of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria in its investment decisions.