In a recent announcement, global accelerator-VC Rockstart closed its AgriFood fund at €22m (approx. US$26M), exceeding its initial target, and this will help the firm to invest in more agritech and foodtech startups as well as co-invest in its AgriFood portfolio companies till series B.
Amsterdam-based Rockstart’s fund saw support from Vaekstfonden’s Green Future Fund and new investors like Joke Pronk, longtime Rockstart investors Marcel Beemsterboer, Jasper de Rooij and Hans Maltha, and global dairy cooperative Arla Foods.
The fund will back founders and scalable solutions that will help build a regenerative and sustainable future across three domains: agriFood, energy, and emerging technologies. Rockstart AgriFood focuses on business models that are developing technologies to better the food supply system from the soil to the gut and since its launch in 2019, Rockstart AgriFood has made investments in 20 startups. In addition, in its 2020 agrifood portfolio, companies presently have a follow-on funding rate of more than 70%, and the current portfolio of 20 startups has collectively raised over €10m(approx. US$1.2m) in total.
Vaekstfonden, the Danish growth fund that has supported the company since 2019, said they will work together to create a framework to report on impact metrics with the belief that businesses that are commercially viable can have a positive impact. On the other hand, Arla Foods which has newly joined Rockstart’s group of investors will support the company to further extend its innovation ecosystem.
In a press release seen by Green Queen, CEO and co-founder of Rockstart, Rune Theill, said that the VC aims to empower the best founders out there who are changing the world for the better. “They are always at the core of our focus. Our passion is to create pathways and opportunities for talented founders and we do that with our domain focussed fund and ecosystem. With the agrifood fund, we started a new chapter in empowering purpose-driven founders we invest in for the long-term.”
Rockstart actively supports the U.N. SDGs with the agrifood fund based on seven of those goals, namely – Zero Hunger, Good Health and Wellbeing, Clean Water and Sanitation, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water and, Life on Land. Plus, it is equally aligned with the E.U.’s long-term strategic vision for 2050 as it addresses various challenges to achieve climate neutrality.
Our passion is to create pathways and opportunities for talented founders and we do that with our domain focussed fund and ecosystemRune Theill, CEO and co-founder of Rockstart
Managing partner of AgriFood at Rockstart, Mark Durno, said: “Our global food industry is poised for an overdue transition to more sustainable and regenerative practices. The fact that industry leaders, such as Arla, Vaekstfonden and many others, put their faith in Rockstart by investing further in our agrifood fund makes us even more optimistic that we can deliver on our mission – empower purpose-driven founders to drive positive change at a global scale.”
Senior vice president of Equity at Vaekstfonden, Mikkel Hesselgren said that they believe in supporting and developing sustainable companies of the future and hence they aligned themselves with Rockstart. “Vækstfonden supported the establishment of Rockstart agrifood with our investment back in the summer of 2019, which helped them open an office in Copenhagen. For the past two years, Rockstart has proven that they play a key role in developing sustainable food companies that have the potential of transforming the food and agriculture industry. We are very pleased that Arla has also chosen to participate in this round. It is a huge opportunity to have such a strong player in the group of investors, and we look forward to working together towards a more sustainable future.”
Rockstart has proven that they play a key role in developing sustainable food companies that have the potential of transforming the food and agriculture industryMikkel Hesselgren, senior vice president, Equity, Vaekstfonden
Going forward, Rockstart AgriFood plans to invest in startups that fall under themes like regenerative & future-proof production, responsible & circular processes and distribution, and quantifiable food consumption.
Applications for Rockstart AgriFood 2021 are now closed and the team is presently reviewing applications for its summer 2021 investments.
Lead image – Mark Durno and Rune Theill (from left to right), courtesy of Rockstart.