New VC firm Germi8 in SG to invest in agri-food startups in Southeast Asia

Japanese venture firm Leave a Nest and Singapore’s FocusTech Ventures Pte have collaborated with agricultural equipment manufacturer Kobashi Industries and microalgae products producer Euglena to establish Germi8 in Singapore to invest in agri-food startups across Southeast Asia.

According to an announcement, Germi8 will leverage on the strengths of the companies to provide agri-food startups with the right capital, expertise and connections to scale in Southeast Asia.

The firm plans to invest approximately 100 million yen ($943,100) in about 20 projects over the next three years.

Leave a Nest Singapore Pte. Ltd. was established in 2010 as a deep tech innovation platform in Southeast Asia.

Since 2014, the company’s flagship programme, Tech Planter has been expanding rapidly across ASEAN with the aim to discover and nurture startups in the sectors such as deep science and technology.

FocusTech Ventures, on the other hand, is a Singapore-based private investment firm. It began supporting Tech Planter ASEAN in 2014 and strengthened its relationship with a strategic alliance with Leave a Nest in February 2018. Together, they support deep tech startups in Japan and Southeast Asian regions through their strategic capital and networks.

Meanwhile, with the aim of new business and value creation across the agricultural value chain, Kobashi Industries has discovered a wide range of agricultural issues and opportunities in Southeast Asia, which prompted their strategic business alliance with Leave a Nest in January 2018.

euglena Co., Ltd. on the other hand, is also connected to the Leave a Nest Group. It participated in the research laboratory Nest-Bio Venture Lab, established in January 2019 in collaboration with the Leave a Nest Group and the Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology, to focus on the discovery of new research seeds.

The agri-food sector is increasingly gaining prominence in Southeast Asia with VCs spotting big promise in it.

In April, Big Idea Ventures, a new venture fund was set up in Singapore, that seeks to raise $100 million to invest in startups specialising in plant-based food, alternative protein and associated food technologies globally.

Founded by Andrew Ive, a former managing director at US-based, food-focused accelerator Food-X, the venture capital firm has already secured capital commitments from Temasek Holdings, US food giant Tyson Foods and Enterprise Singapore.

Since early 2018, the FoodInnovate initiative was formed by several Singapore government agencies to boost growth in the agri-food sector and strengthen its support structure for startups.