Investments Over Three Years Signal Continued Innovation In Global Agriculture
ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today Monsanto Growth Ventures (MGV), the venture capital arm of Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON), announced for the first time its growing investment portfolio; nearly a dozen independent companies that are active in key areas of agricultural productivity, digital agriculture and biologicals. The following details are being released in conjunction with Monsanto’s annual research and development pipeline announcement.
“Entrepreneurs are more engaged with the food and agriculture sector than ever before,” said John Hamer, Managing Director of MGV. “We believe MGV provides collaborative access to one of the most innovative agriculture companies, as well as deep venture capital experience within our team.”
MGV has led or co-led all but two of its investments and counts more than 50 different co-investors in its portfolio. The investments range from structured buyouts, to syndicated venture capital investments syndicated with leading venture capital firms. All of them are independently run companies in which where MGV is a minority shareholder.
“We see tremendous potential for transformational advances in agriculture, which is why we are collaborating with Monsanto Growth Ventures to boost startups like Plant Response Biotech,” said Dr. Scott Horner, Managing Director with Middleland Capital, a co-investor with MGV. “We have a front-row seat for innovation, and it’s encouraging to see both industry leaders and the investment community rally to support it.”
Part of Monsanto’s commitment to bringing new technologies to agriculture is recognizing other innovators the company can work with to deliver solutions for farmer customers. “Venture capital investing is a natural outgrowth of Monsanto’s long history of partnering for outside innovation, and we will continue to look for creative deal structures, partnerships and investments that can improve the lives and practices of growers everywhere,” said Hamer.
Many of the companies in which MGV has invested complement Monsanto’s integrated systems approach. This approach will help increase efficiencies in agriculture, and brings together breeding, biotechnology, biologicals, digital agriculture and agronomic practices to give growers better tools and technologies to support global food production.
The top three criteria for selecting companies for investment were: 1) the strategic opportunity represented by the company; 2) a founding team with exceptional vision, passion and commitment to agriculture; and 3) fulfilling key requirements for a venture capital investment including the appropriate return on capital. MGV has also sourced digital agriculture acquisitions for Monsanto, including The Climate Corporation, YieldPop, Solum and 640Labs.
Among the MGV investments are:
As it continues to build out its venture portfolio, MGV will continue looking for promising teams and ideas in agriculture, while aiding the development of cross-over technologies that could benefit agriculture.
“Working with Monsanto Growth Ventures has brought significant value to our firm as we chart our next phase of growth and look into moving our robotic machines from vegetables to row crops,” said Jorge Heraud, CEO of Blue River Technology. “Having a partner with global reach that is willing to make introductions opens doors for us. I’m excited about our ability to take our technology to more places than we could have done alone.”
For more information on Monsanto Growth Ventures and investment opportunities, visit http://www.monsanto.com/whoweare/pages/monsanto-growth-ventures. Monsanto Growth Ventures is growth-stage agnostic and will invest in companies from Seed stage, through Series A and beyond. Its robust program for partnering with early-stage companies leads to stronger partnerships, collaborations that accelerate development and, sometimes, according to strategic goals, mergers and acquisitions. Other members of the MGV team include Ryan Rakestraw, Venture Principal; Kiersten Stead, Venture Principal; and Darren Streiler, Venture Partner.
Monsanto is committed to bringing a broad range of solutions to help nourish our growing world. We produce seeds for fruits, vegetables and key crops – such as corn, soybeans, and cotton – that help farmers have better harvests while using water and other important resources more efficiently. We work to find sustainable solutions for soil health, help farmers use data to improve farming practices and conserve natural resources, and provide crop protection products to minimize damage from pests and disease. Through programs and partnerships, we collaborate with farmers, researchers, nonprofit organizations, universities and others to help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. To learn more about Monsanto, our commitments and our more than 20,000 dedicated employees, please visit: discover.monsanto.com and monsanto.com. Follow our business on Twitter® at twitter.com/MonsantoCo, on the company blog, Beyond the Rows® at monsantoblog.com or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.