A brand new $50 million dollar venture fund is being established in Davis, California to invest in the early stages of agricultural biotech companies. This fund is being called the AgTech Innovation Fund and it is structured as a limited partnership (LP). AgTech Innovation is looking to invest $250,000 to $500,000 in the initial startup fund for a group of companies in agricultural biotech, and more is to be promised to these companies depending on their degree of success. One of the managing partners of this new fund is John Selep who is a retired technology executive and tenured member of the Sacramento Angels (an angel investing group coming out of Sacramento, California). The other managing partner is Julie Morris who was the original chief financial officer of Marrone Bio Innovations Inc In Davis, CA.
Selep said that this was a good time to invest in these agricultural technology companies. The surrounding area around Davis, CA are a enormous amounts of growing agricultural technology companies and the biggest investors in the bay area are not concerned with how the technology works or the causes; however, they have noticed some interesting happenings regarding the industry.
AgraQuest, founded by Pam Marrone, was a biotech company bought by Bayer CropScience for $425 million in 2012. Her next company closed the Sacramento regions first successful initial public offering in decades with a net of $56.4 million. Another agricultural biotech company in Davis named BioConsortia raised $15 million in their round of funding. Davis is only part of the puzzle in this vast growing industry that is agricultural biotech. Selep is also looking in the Central Valley and Northern California, but Davis is the starting point. AgTech will use resources at the University of California Davis to expand their research and findings. Even though, there is a lot of talking about this fund, AgTech is yet to be actually created. The Sacramento region is booming with companies that are developing seed technologies, as well as farming and sustainability innovations in technology. This fund is not only looking at these technologies as opportunities, but more so towards vast sustainability in the global food production as well as major improvements in the quality of our soil, water, and energy.