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BASF invests US$ 4 million in Latin American agtech startups

BASF Venture Capital is one of the main investors in the first closing of the Brazilian fund AgVentures II.

BASF Venture Capital has committed US$ 4 million. The fund is managed by São Paulo-based SP Ventures and focuses on startups from the Latin American agricultural and food (AgFood) sector. The fund aims to support 20 to 25 new companies founded and headquartered in Latin America.

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AgTech has become one of the most important sectors for venture capital firms in Brazil. The AgVentures II fund is currently the only fund focusing exclusively on agricultural technology.

Challenges in Brazilian agriculture

The challenges in Brazilian agriculture and thus the focus areas for the fund include: agricultural production factors, business management, precision farming, software solutions and livestock management as well as food technologies for innovative food, new ingredients and plant-based proteins, in addition to supply chain technologies, for example, food safety and traceability, logistics and processing technologies. The emergence of a tech-enabled financial services industry focused on the agribusiness segment will also be an important target.

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The focus areas for the Brazilian AgVentures II fund include software solutions for agriculture. - Photo: BASF
The focus areas for the Brazilian AgVentures II fund include software solutions for agriculture. - Photo: BASF

AgroStart

“Cooperation between our businesses and startups has become an important driver of innovation for our customers and growth for BASF in South America. BASF, for example, took an important step by launching AgroStart, an acceleration program that has already registered 420 startups in the AgTech sector since 2016. BASF Venture Capital’s investment in the AgVentures II Fund will provide us with the opportunity to further participate in this dynamic, innovative and co-creative environment that can bring valuable solutions to the industry,” says Manfredo Rübens, President BASF South America.

In addition to providing financial and technical support, BASF also plans to collaborate and share know-how and market insights with the young businesses in the SP Ventures network.

First investment in Brazil for BASF

For BASF Venture Capital, this represents the first investment in Brazil, which is a leading global exporter of crops such as cereals and corn (maize): Agricultural products account for around half of the country’s exports. “Yet agricultural growers face particular challenges, for example, due to specific climatic conditions. These include a greater proliferation of pests and crop diseases as well as different soil conditions. Nevertheless, 2 to 3 harvests a year are possible in Brazil,” states BASF.

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