24/9/2018 – After closing a US$30 million first fund in June, Singaporean investment fund VisVires New Protein (VVNP) has plans to launch a US$100 million second fund next year in 2019.
One of the few venture capital firms in Asia with a niche focus, VVNP invests in tech innovations for the global food and feed system. It looks to identify and back startups solving an array of food-related issues along the entire supply chain.
“If you look where most of the money is being invested in, most of it is at the farm and consumer level,” said VVNP’s founder Matthieu Vermersch.
“But the industry has stayed the same for the last 150 years,” Vermeersch added. “What we need today is an entire change of the global food system.”
For VVNP, this means the technology, the science, and the business model within the food industry. To identify suitable startups, the investment fund identifies important bottlenecks in the industry and find solutions from there.
It currently has made 3 investments which include insect rearing facility YNSECT, artificial intelligence and genomics-focused biotech startup Nuritas, and its most recent Mitte, a startup that purifies and enhance water with essential minerals.
Moving forward, VVNP plans to ramp up its portfolio from its existing three companies to eight by the end of this year and is currently in the midst of closing two deals in Israel and the Netherlands.
“We want the most forward-thinking team we can find. Just having good technology and science is not good enough for us. Some teams are not looking to carry their project to the size that really matters, so we turned them down,” said Vermersch.
Not all agtech and foodtech companies are suited for venture capital, the founder stressed. These investments tend to demand longer holdout periods and exit opportunities in the food and feed industry also tend to be few and very limited.
In fact, the last 5 years only saw one unicorn exit in the global agtech industry and that is the sale of Climate Corp to Monsanto.
“Some of these companies have great ideas, but don’t provide the returns that we’re looking for. It doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities… but the company needs to solve real, immediate problem with massive consequences. This has to be more than getting more milk of a cow or meat from a pig,”
The founder is confident that VVNP’s proposed second fund will also receive backing from LPs in its debut fund which consists of family offices and an unnamed corporate investor.