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What do the funds do?  The portrait of Astanor Ventures

What do the funds do? The portrait of Astanor Ventures

President of the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation from 2015 to 2018, Eric Archambeau – co-founder of Astanor Ventures with George Coelho – takes his first steps into the world of agri-food through the prism of children and the obesity epidemic which affects them. touches. During this experience, he finds that the entire agri-food system had been gradually developed to sell calories cheaply” , he analyzes. Supermarkets are committed to purchasing power, leading farmers into a spiral: pushing them to produce more, to the detriment of quality that is not paid for at the right price.

Supporting tomorrow’s agriculture

From 2015, research is being carried out on soils. The results highlight the fragility of the agricultural ecosystem. Its balance, and consequently the agricultural sector, are threatened by multiple factors: drought -which will lead to an increase in the price of water-, population growth, the massive use of fertilizers from petrochemicals and global warming which is already threatening some crops. To meet these multiple challenges, “new solutions are being developed, particularly in BioTech and in the field of artificial intelligence” explains the co-founder of Astanor Ventures who intends to finance some with his fund.

Endowed with a capital of 264 million euros, financed by several sovereign wealth funds (including Bpifrance and the European Investment Fund), banks, family offices and endowment funds, this first vehicle finances start-ups in the AgriTech and FoodTech, from the seed phase to the C series, in Europe, the United States but also in Australia. Among the nuggets of its portfolio, we find Infarm -and its concept of urban farm-, La Ruche qui dit oui -specialized in the short circuit-, the unicorn Ÿnsect -insect cultivator- MiiMosa -crowdfunding platform- or again Umiami and its vegetable alternatives.

Investments that well represent the fund’s strategy and desire: to support, not just farmers, but the entire agricultural value chain, from soil conservation to the resale of agricultural products through the processing of these products. .

The average investment ticket amounts to 11 million euros with possible refinancing.

Structure its development and impact

To select and support the nuggets that will transform our agricultural model, the fund has set up a team of around thirty internationally recognized experts. Non-exhaustively, we can mention among the investors: David Barbier, co-founder of a farm-restaurant, an association and agricultural consulting agency, Kathleen A. Merrigan, expert in food and agricultural issues, also executive director from the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona or even Emmanuel Faber, ex-CEO of Danone. For his part, George Coelho, co-founder of the fund, has a long experience of investing in new technologies within Silicon Valley. The fund also has, in its network, scientists, politicians and specialists in agrifood and business strategy.

Skills that complement each other to provide the best possible support to its portfolio, on topics ranging from development strategy to impact measurement. “The fund has a place on the board of directors of the majority of the companies in its portfolio in order to play an active role in the strategy and better advise entrepreneurs on day-to-day development issues” emphasizes Eric Archambeau.

If through its investment thesis, Astanor Ventures already finances impact companies, the fund has decided to adopt a real support policy in this area by helping its nuggets to set up and structure their CSR strategy. This takes different forms: carbon footprint, life cycle analysis, implementation of extra-financial KPIs, labeling, etc.

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