for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up

Astanor raises $325 million fund to invest in agri-food tech startups

BERLIN (Reuters) - Astanor Ventures, a backer of German vertical farmer InFarm and French insect breeder Ynsect, said on Friday it had raised a $325 million fund to invest in sustainable food, agriculture and ocean technology startups.

The fund will back ventures that seek to make the food supply more resilient while reducing the impact of agriculture on the environment - vulnerabilities that Astanor says have been exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s never been clearer that there’s a direct connection between the food that we eat and the environment that we live in,” said Eric Archambeau, co-founder and partner of Astanor Ventures.

“When one part of the ecosystem that connects farmers, consumers, livestock, rivers, seas, soil, plants and air becomes damaged, all parts suffer.”

All investments will support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the international community in 2015 to fight poverty, protect the environment and ensure prosperity for all by 2030.

Astanor cited figures that agriculture generates a third of all greenhouse gases and consumes 70% of the world’s fresh water, while 40% of food produced goes to waste or never makes it to market.

Archambeau and co-founder George Coelho previously launched venture capital fund Balderton Capital and were, among others, early investors in music streaming service Spotify.

Since being founded in 2017, Astanor has invested in more than 20 European and U.S. startups - it was the lead investor in French insect farming venture Ynsect and recently backed Berlin-based urban farming startup InFarm.

European venture capital funds have raised 15 billion euros ($17.8 billion) in the current year to date. That makes 2020 a record year already, beating the previous record of 12.5 billion euros in 2019, according to startup tracker Dealroom.co.

(This story corrects figures on European venture capital fund raising in final paragraph)

Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and David Goodman

for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up