New Capital Fund Started by Cooperatives
Over the past decades, billions of dollars of venture capital have poured into agricultural technology. Now a couple of farmer-owned cooperatives are joining forces to invest some of their capital in startups as well. GROWMARK and CHS formed Cooperative Ventures, a new capital fund that will focus on creating advancements in breakthrough technologies for the agriculture industry, says GROWMARK Innovation Lead Brad Drake.
Drake… “Between CHS and GROWMARK, we want to be able to maximize the investment of our cooperative farmer capital. We're both cooperatives and ultimately owned by farmers at the grassroots level. So we look at these types of opportunities in the specific strike zones that come up. And we decided to go in these things together and really concentrate the capital into single technology spaces that we can help advance for the betterment of agriculture as a whole.”
Drake said a management team will be assembled to deploy the capital across areas that will benefit farmer owners.
Drake… “Our first effort is a collective $50 million fund spread out over the course of all the investments and probably seven to eight years with kind of a glide path after that in the fields of play of crop production, supply chain with a focus on last mile delivery and the last category, which I'll broadly call sustainability.”
This will give farmers a chance at the upside from some of these venture investments.