Silicon Valley investor’s $50m AgTech fund targets ANZ


Brandon How
Reporter

Silicon Valley based AgriFood investor SVG Ventures will launch a $50 million venture fund targeting AgTech firms across Australia and New Zealand.

SVG Ventures will establish an Australia and New Zeland headquarters in Melbourne and launch the SVG Thrive Australia Venture and Innovation Platform. This includes a $50 million Thrive Australia Venture Fund.

The platform, established in 2010, includes access to the Thrive accelerator program, corporate innovation program, development programs and events. SVG’s current global three-month accelerator program offers participating firms US$50,000 in cash investment and US$50,000 in program value.

This can be followed by up to US$1 million in follow-on investment. The accelerator program culminates in an opportunity to pitch at the annual Forbes AgTech summit.

SVG also plans to partner with the Australian Food Innovation Centre at La Trobe University. An annual Thrive Australia Innovation and Investment Summit will also be held in Melbourne.

(Left to Right) SVG founder John Hartnett and Victoria’s Minister for Economic Development Tim Pallas.

In 2019-20, Victoria farm businesses accounted for 25 per cent of farm businesses in Australia, according to Agriculture Victoria.

Over the weekend, Victoria’s Minister for Economic Development Tim Pallas was in Silicon Valley to finalise the establishment of the SVG platform in Melbourne.

“This is a significant vote of confidence in Victorian AgTech and the payoff will be in jobs now and in the future. It will provide a major boost for the innovators developing new products and processes to transform agriculture in Victoria and around the world,” Mr Pallas said.

SVG ventures has worked with over 6,000 startups across 100 countries.

To mark SVG’s initial entry into the Australian market, it launched the Thrive Australia Challenge in partnership with CSIRO and the Victorian state government. The event was a live pitch competition for Australian AgTech startups.

The three winning companies of the first Australia Challenge held in the first half of 2020 were awarded up to $250,000 and fast tracked into THRIVE Accelerator Program VI.

The winning company of the Thrive Australia Challenge Award held at the end of 2020, and through the THRIVE Global Initiative series, was invited to pitch at the final of Thrive Accelerator Program VII. Two places on the Silicon Valley Startup Bootcamp were also awarded to the winner.

Following the first challenge, CSIRO global director Nick Pagett said that the partnership with SVG Ventures provided great support for the development of Australian AgTech and FoodTech.

“Our agriculture industries are facing major challenges, and science and technology are enabling us to drive farm productivity and create a sustainable future that address these current and future challenges,” Mr Pagett said.

“CSIRO is thrilled to be partnering with SVG Ventures-Thrive to support Australian startups that are working to develop solutions for farmers that increase their productivity and efficiency.”

In May 2020, CSIRO US and SVG Ventures-Thrive signed a three year partnership to help showcase Australian FoodTech and AgTech startups to investors in the United States.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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