The global capital growth investor has secured $302 million to invest in food and agriculture technology
Pontifax agtech website photo
Photo as seen on Pontiifax AgTech’s website

Pontifax AgTech, a growth capital investor in the global food and agriculture space, has announced the final close of its second fund, Pontifax Global Food and Agriculture Technology Fund II (Fund II), with commitments totalling $302 million. The fund reached its extended hard cap of $300 million and was oversubscribed, bringing the firm’s total assets under management to $465 million.

Ben Belldegrun, co-founder and managing partner of Pontifax AgTech, said: “Sophisticated investors are increasingly discovering the agriculture and food technology sector as a means to diversify their alternatives strategies and as an opportunity to make a significant impact on sustainability.

“Our growth capital strategy offers investors a compelling risk/return investment profile while benefiting food security, climate change, grower well-being and consumer health.”

Fund II attracted commitments from institutional investors, including domestic and international financial institutions, state pension funds, university endowments, foundations, investment firms, large-scale growers and family offices. 

Supply chain

Food and Agriculture is a $13 trillion business and the world’s second-fastest-growing industrial sector. It employs nearly 40% of the world’s population, which the UN estimates will be close to 10 billion people by 2050. 

That, along with increasing per-capita protein and calorie consumption, is driving a worldwide challenge to meet growing food demand in a responsible and sustainable manner.

Pontifax AgTech invests globally in commercially established businesses with proven technologies that improve the productivity, sustainability and efficiency of the food and agriculture supply chain. 

Its principals work with a proprietary network of leading growers, technology experts and strategic corporate partners to thoroughly evaluate and maximize the success of the fund’s investments. 

Phil Erlanger, co-founder and managing partner of Pontifax AgTech, said: “Food demand is expected to double in the next three decades, while production is constrained by diminishing supplies of land, water and labour, coupled with increasing regulation. 

“The current pandemic has only highlighted issues of food security and makes improving agricultural productivity, nutrition, and supply chain efficiency of paramount importance for global health and sustainability. We are focused on pursuing disruptive technologies that result in healthier food while providing attractive returns for our investors.”

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Pontifax AgTech invests in fast-growing businesses with proven technologies that improve agricultural productivity, nutrition, health, sustainability and supply chain efficiency. Pontifax AgTech works in partnership with its extensive network of growers, technology experts and strategic corporate partners.

The firm has invested in eleven industry-leading companies. Fund I has monetised two investments through the sale of Blue River Technology, next-generation robotics and automation technology for crop cultivation, to John Deere, and the successful IPO of Precision Biosciences, a disruptive gene-editing technology with application to both human therapeutics and sustainable food traits.

Fund I closed at $105 million in October 2017.

Fund II completed an inaugural investment in Provivi, whose biological crop protection technology enables the production of low-cost pheromones that sustainably disrupt the mating patterns of invasive crop insects.

Date published: 16 October 2020

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