Cultiv8 Funds Management and global investment manager Fidante plan to raise A$100m (€64.5m) for Australia’s first agri-tech fund.

Fidante’s parent company, Challenger, an Australian financial services group, is a cornerstone investor in the first raise for the Cultiv8 Agriculture and Food Technology Fund. Challenger’s contribution was undisclosed.

Cultiv8 Funds and Fidante have launched the fund to invest in new technologies to support the agriculture and food sectors. The vehicle would focus on capital growth and sustainability, with a portfolio of 20 to 30 seed to series B investments in both Australian and global agri-food technology companies, the companies said.

Malcolm Nutt, the fund’s portfolio manager, told IPE Real Assets that a few large institutions and some family offices were looking to invest in the fund in the next few months.

“We haven’t reached out to super funds yet,” he said, “But agriculture is definitely an allocation they are looking to increase, and it is high on their priorities. “They are happy to hear our story, but we haven’t secured any funds just yet.”

Nutt and fellow portfolio manager, Jonathon Quigley, are partners in the SparkLabs Cultiv8 accelerator programme which, over the past four years, has supported 36 start-up companies.

These companies had seen “a huge amount of success”, leading to significant capital raises, a large number of jobs in regional Australia and deliverance of substantial environmental benefits, they said.

Quigley said agriculture and food technology was a small but rapidly-growing segment of the venture capital universe that was serious about reimagining the global agriculture and food industries.

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