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thecultivatedb, germany

  • Writer's picturePhoebe Fraser

Flora Ventures launches $80m fund for agri-food tech start-ups

Israel-based agri-food venture capital firm, Flora Ventures, has announced the launch of its $80 million fund and its first closing, with commitments of $50 million.

Flora Ventures invests in early-stage Israel- and Europe-based start-ups that are building a healthier, more sustainable and resilient agri-food system; and supports those ventures in scaling globally.

The VC firm secured funding in only four months “by identifying an opportunity to fill technology gaps such as food security, digitisation, sustainable agriculture and food as medicine”.

Flora Ventures completed the initial raise with strategic partners including Sadot Kibbutzim, a coop bringing together more than 185 Kibbutzim with an agricultural output of more than $3 billion, exported to over 100 countries. They offer the fund's portfolio proprietary access to agricultural land, production capabilities and expertise for initial proof of concept and the ability to scale their technologies.

Other anchor investors include Haifa Group – a global leader in plant nutrition and special fertilisers, with efforts in sustainability, innovation and precision agriculture, and Harel Group, Israel's largest insurance and finance group.

Flora Ventures’ co-founders are former Mondelēz executive, corporate venture investor and figure in the global agri-food ecosystem, Gil Horsky, and Esther Barak-Landes, VC investor and co-founder of Nielsen's incubator and investment arm.

Flora Ventures co-founders sat at desk
Flora Ventures' co-founders Esther Barak-Landes (left) and Gil Horsky (right)

The founders say they seized the opportunity to create the fund leveraging their complementary skills and network – Horsky's leadership experience in multinational food companies including PepsiCo and Kraft Foods, and Barak-Landes's track record of investing in disruptive tech startups.

Horsky said: "Working for leading food multinationals, as well as co-founding one of the industry's most successful corporate venture capital and incubation initiatives in Mondelēz, taught me the value of having design partners early on. That's why we are excited that Flora can provide our start-ups proprietary access to Haifa Group, Sadot Kibbutzim and Harel Group, which are among the most innovative and agile design partners in the industry.”

Barak-Landes added: "I've been fortunate in my career to lead important VC deals in the Retail-Tech, FinTech and Digital Transformation sectors, which enables me to reapply proven technologies and business models to the agri-food industry where it is greatly needed. I am excited to bring my skills to finding and fuelling start-ups from Israel and Europe that are good for people and kind to the planet while helping to build the next generation of agri-food unicorns."

Flora Ventures has completed its first investment, in Arrakis Bio, an Israeli startup developing a technology poised to revolutionise the production and utilisation of human collagen and gelatin, that is animal-free, high quality and pure.

According to Flora Ventures, it is the largest Israeli-based agri-food VC and, according to IVC data, is the largest Israeli new VC fund to have completed a first closing during 2023 across all tech investment verticals.

#FloraVentures #Israel

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