MEMPHIS, TN. – A Memphis-based venture capital fund announced the close of a $31 million fund focused on rural America.
Innova announced the close of Innova Ag Innovation Fund IV, which will focus on early stage investments in rural America and work with national farm organizations and other partners to identify, enable and accelerate ag-tech companies with high growth potential.
As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Rural Business Investment Program, the fund has been certified and licensed to operate as a Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC).
This will be Innova’s fourth fund since the Memphis Bioworks Foundation formed it in 2007.
A key partner for the fund will be AgLaunch, a venture development organization, accelerator and farmer network organization, which focuses on a farm-centric commercialization model for agricultural innovation.
“We are very excited to start investing and look forward to meeting with founders and network partners to identify investment opportunities,” Innova partner Jan Bouten said it a statement. “The fund will make that often critical, initial investment to assist promising startups on their path toward commercialization and scalable growth, all while creating opportunities and jobs in rural America.”
The fund’s focus will be investments in technology-based solutions to solve problems faced by today’s farmers.
Investment areas include:
- Farming technology, equipment and enabling innovation, including robotics
- New technologies pertaining to crop production, harvest, storage, supply chain/logistics and processing/productivity tools and software
- Areas of precision agriculture such as crop, water and chemicals management
- Innovations addressing food security, safety and nutrition challenges
- Novel animal health and welfare systems and practices
“Working directly with farmers, our venture development organization has built a unique and strong support network that greatly enhances the success rate of technology commercialization in agriculture,” said Pete Nelson, AgLaunch director. “Innova’s early stage investment expertise and capital will act as a great catalyst for all we’re doing, and we look forward to further enhancing our already strong partnership with the Innova team.”