BREAKING: Astanor Ventures Secures $384 Million for Second Agrifood Fund

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Source: Jennifer Marston

Astroanor Ventures, an impact investor specializing in agrifood, has successfully concluded its second agrifood fund, amassing $384 million (€360 million) in capital. The majority of investors from their initial fund chose to participate in this latest one. Astroanor intends to continue investing in both early-stage and later-stage agrifood startups, as well as exploring related sectors.

This marks the second fund for Astroanor, following their $325 million fund launched in 2020, primarily dedicated to food and agricultural startups. Raising funds this time around took longer than expected, attributed in part to various macroeconomic factors such as shifts in the economy, increased interest rates, global conflicts like the situation in Ukraine, and disruptions in supply chains. Despite the extended fundraising period, there remains significant interest in Astroanor’s mission to support innovative funding solutions for the agrifood sector.

While specific investors in the new fund were not disclosed, most of the investors from the initial fund returned, with a few exceptions driven by financial considerations and market dynamics.

The second fund will continue to back startups at different stages of development, spanning diverse areas like farm equipment automation, alternative protein, controlled environment agriculture (CEA), and technologies for extending the shelf life of produce. Notable startups in their portfolio include Monarch Tractor, v2 Food, inFarm, and Apeel Sciences. Additionally, Astroanor runs a small program for seed-stage ventures, acknowledging the importance of early-stage investments to stay attuned to evolving trends and technologies, such as synthetic biology.

The investment landscape has evolved over time, with some areas that appeared promising several years ago no longer aligning with Astroanor’s focus. For example, vertical farming has encountered challenges related to airflow, air conditioning, and control of variables, while plant-based meat products have faced discrepancies between initial promises and actual outcomes. Nonetheless, Astroanor remains committed to controlled environment farming and acknowledges that certain newer investments in the plant-based category are delivering on their initial promises.

Astroanor’s core focus remains centered on agrifood, with a willingness to explore adjacent sectors that contribute positively to environmental sustainability by alleviating pressure on natural resources like soil, water, and biodiversity. This includes the possibility of investing in new materials companies that address resource conservation.

In the world of venture capital, cooperation is key, and Astroanor values collaboration with other investors. Their mission is to support innovative companies and contribute to their success by partnering with like-minded individuals and organizations.