Yield Lab Europe closes €50m fund to back agritech start-ups

26 May 2021

Yield Lab Europe managing partners David Bowles and Nicky Deasy with chair Paul Finnerty. Image: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

The Ireland-based fund will ramp up investments in European start-ups at the seed and Series A stages and open a Dutch office.

Yield Lab Europe, the agritech accelerator and venture capital fund based in Ireland, has closed a new fund at almost €50m.

Yield Lab has operations in the US, Latin America and Asia-Pacific, and established its European base in Ireland to scout investments in Europe.

It backs start-ups in the fields of agritech, food production and sustainability and helps those companies scale internationally through its global network.

Some of Yield Lab’s investments in Ireland include bee health tech start-up ApisProtect, IT-Carlow spin-out MicroGen Biotech and Micron Agritech, which develops parasite testing kits for animals. It raised €21m for investing in Europe in 2019.

The new fund will invest at the seed and Series A stages of companies. The European Investment Fund through the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), Invest-NL in the Netherlands and Allied Irish Bank have backed the new fund.

With this new financing in tow, the firm is placing a greater focus on Europe where it is headed up by managing partners Nicky Deasy and David Bowles.

It will be opening an office in the Netherlands to expand its reach on the continent through a partnership with StartLife, an accelerator at Wageningen University & Research. It plans to invest in more Dutch start-ups.

The fund’s criteria for investments are companies that can provide a financial return while also having a positive environmental impact by reducing carbon emissions and supporting the European Green Deal and the European Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy.

“We believe that zero-carbon agriculture and food production is a tremendous opportunity and can be achieved by 2040,” Yield Lab chair Paul Finnerty said.

“We have invested and will continue to invest in technologies to enable this transition. We look forward to investing in the innovation that positions Irish agriculture as being properly viewed as part of the climate solution, and not the problem,” he said.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin