Deal is the first investment of a three-year, $125 million co-investment partnership formed by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and S2G Ventures

Benson Hill, a foodtech company that provides a crop design platform to develop healthier and more sustainable food and ingredients, has been chosen as the first investment of a three-year, $125 million co-investment partnership formed by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and S2G Ventures.

Under the partnership, global investment group CDPQ and S2G, a multi-stage investment firm, are investing in companies developing sustainability and climate-friendly solutions in the food and agriculture sector.

The two firms participated in Benson Hill’s recently announced $150 million Series D funding round, which included other strategic and environmental, social and governance-focused investors.

St. Louis, Missouri-based Benson Hill stated that the funding forms part of its broader Series D capital raise and will allow it to develop its platform, enhance partner development across the value chain, and build out the supply chain for its novel food and feed ingredients.

Ultra-high protein soybean

The company added that it plans to commercialise a line of ultra-high protein soybean varieties this year and also plans to cultivate the same approach on sustainability-focused food and ingredient innovation in other high-growth market segments in future.

Matt Crisp, chief executive of Benson Hill, said: “The food and agriculture system is under enormous pressure to evolve beyond the traditional commodity model to meet the demands of today’s consumers and boost resiliency in the face of climate change.

“CDPQ and S2G recognise the urgency of accelerating the evolution of the current agrifood system through innovation, and the critical role of innovators such as Benson Hill to help ensure that food is better from the beginning – better for people, better for farmers and better for the planet.”

Mario Therrien, head of investment funds and external management at CDPQ, added: “Benson Hill’s mission, focused on improving the sustainability and efficiency of the global agriculture and food supply chain, is aligned with CDPQ’s conviction that performance and progress go hand in hand.

“As a company with deep technology expertise across the food and agriculture value chain, Benson Hill is well equipped to deliver more sustainable options to consumers while helping reduce the agri-food industry’s carbon footprint.”

Sanjeev Krishnan, chief investment officer and managing director at S2G Ventures and a member of Benson Hill’s board, commented: “This investment in Benson Hill reflects the core of our investment philosophy at S2G Ventures – companies that both do well and do good are best-positioned to deliver value today and be competitive in the future.

“Benson Hill is an attractive investment not only because of its strong performance and continued growth trajectory, but also because of the way the company and its technology can address looming challenges and add value across the broader food and agriculture value chain, from farmers to end-consumers.”

Date published: 4 March 2021

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