Venture Capital: Canada’s Conexus Raises $45M For Agtech Startups

August 23, 2021 | News, Venture Capital
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Emmertech, the new fund, will invest in Canada-based agtech companies.

Saskatchewan, Canada-based Conexus Venture Capital Inc. (CVC) has raised $45 million for its Emmertch Venture Capital Fund, which will focus on early-stage entrepreneurs in Canadian agtech, food-tech, and agribusiness sectors. (BetaKit)

Investors in the fund are stakeholders in Canadian agriculture, ranging from farmers and agribusiness to ag-focused insurance companies and credit unions serving agricultural communities. Innovation Saskatchewan also chipped in with $15 million.

Emmertech expects to boost its funds kitty to $60 million by the end of 2021, the anticipated final close date.

About $15 million of the fund is earmarked for Saskatchewan-based agtech companies.

Canadian agtechs and capital challenges

“One of the biggest challenges in Canadian AgTech is the lack of private capital that flows into the space, with Canada’s share of global AgTech investments being only 3.4 percent,” said Sean O’Connor, managing director of CVC. “Additionally, only 11 percent of Canadian agriculture research and development comes from privately funded sources.”

As a result, Canadian agtech founders often depart to launch high-growth companies elsewhere, “taking jobs, wealth and IP along with them,” said CVC.

“The Canadian venture capital playbook doesn’t work within the AgTech industry as it does other industries, so we’ve thrown it out and are building our approach that can create highly reliable technology products ready for commercialization in one of the most important industries in the world,” added O’Connor.

Libro Credit Union

Libro Credit Union, which is the largest credit union in southwestern Ontario and has the largest ag lending portfolio of any credit union in Canada, is a founding investor in CVC.

Libro hopes to ensure that some of the investment will be directed to southwestern Ontario startups.

“We’re supporting a shift in Canadian agtech to a younger, more tech-savvy farmer,” said Steve Bolton, Libro’s CEO and President, in a statement. “This is going to fundamentally change how farming operations are conducted.”

Related Story:   A Partnership to Promote Innovation in Canadian AgTech

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