Singapore-based VisVires New Protein (VVNP) plans to launch a $100-million second fund next year, after closing its $40-million first fund in June, its founder told this portal.
VVNP is one of the few venture capital firms in Asia with an extremely niche focus – technologies for the global food and feed system. It seeks to identify and back startups solving an array of food-related issues along the entire supply chain.
“If you look where most of the money is being invested in, most of it is at the farm and consumer level. But this has not changed for the last 150 years. What we need today is an entire change of the global food system. The technology, the science, the business model within the food industry. We try to identify bottlenecks that are really important for the industry and find solutions from there,” said VVNP founder Matthieu Vermersch.
Vermersch is confident that VVNP’s proposed second fund will find backing from LPs in its first fund. The debut vehicle was backed by family offices and an unnamed corporate investor.
Due to its global scope, VVNP has no trouble finding deals despite its niche investment focus, he added.
“We want the most forward-thinking team we can find. Just having good technology and science is not enough for us. Some teams were not looking to carry their project to the size that really matters, so we turned them down,” said Vermersch.
VVNP also plans to ramp up its portfolio to eight companies from three currently by the end of this year and is in the midst of closing two deals in Israel and the Netherlands.
Vermersch says not all ag-tech and food-tech companies are suited for venture capital. These investments tend to demand longer holdout periods. Exit opportunities in the food and feed industry also tend to be few and very limited. In the last 5 years, the global agtech industry only saw one unicorn exit, with the sale of Climate Corp to Monsanto.
“Some of these companies have great ideas, but don’t provide the returns that we’re looking for. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities…but the company needs to solve a real, immediate problem with massive consequences. This has to be more than getting more milk of a cow or meat from a pig,” he said.
Last month, VVNP co-led a $10.6-million round in Mitte, a smart home water system firm from Berlin. Founded in 2016, Mitte builds smart water systems that allow consumers to purify and personalise the minerals in their daily drinking water.