Tenacious Ventures receives A$16 million investment boost

19 Nov 2019

Australian agrifood tech venture capital fund Tenacious Ventures has received a A$16 million injection that will strengthen its ability to invest in startups developing innovative agtech.

The investment comes from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), which invests in clean energy projects on behalf of the Australian Government; and Grok Ventures, the private investment firm of Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and his wife Annie.

Tenacious Ventures – Australia’s first dedicated agrifood tech venture capital firm – is investing up to A$30 million in early-stage agrifood tech companies.

‘Agriculture is a key industry in Australia and across the world, with formidable challenges to overcome,’ says Sarah Nolet, co-founder of Tenacious Ventures and CEO of agrifood tech advisory firm AgThentic. ‘We’re very pleased to have the CEFC and Grok on board, joining other impact, agriculture and technology investors who see the importance and potential of investing in agrifood tech.’

Nearly 400 agrifood tech companies have been created in Australia in the last three years. These companies have developed innovations such as new plant science, supply chain systems and food waste reduction technologies that are helping growers and producers lift farm efficiency and yields while cutting inputs and emissions.

‘We are experts in efficient, climate-adaptive food production – Australian farmers reduced the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of agriculture by 63% between 1996 and 2016,’

Matthew Pryor, co-founder of Tenacious Ventures and agrifood tech startup Observant (acquired by Jain Irrigation in 2017).


‘But more needs to be done to develop and export agricultural technology that improves the efficiency of production on a global scale.’

The agricultural sector is a significant and growing contributor to global emissions. The sector is the world's largest source of non-CO2 emissions, with about 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The broader food system – including growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transport and consumption – is estimated to represent up to 30% of global emissions.

‘The agricultural sector poses a demanding climate change challenge: how to produce more food, more efficiently, for a growing population amid a more extreme climate, while also reducing greenhouse gas intensity and emissions,’ says Ian Learmonth, CEO, Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

‘As a major food exporter Australia has an opportunity to be at the forefront of innovative technology solutions that can address these challenges.

‘With this investment, the CEFC is supporting an exciting Australian industry of the future with the potential to make a meaningful contribution to lowering global emissions while supporting our agriculture sector.’

‘Innovation in agriculture is desperately needed across the world to make our planet more sustainable,’ adds Cannon-Brookes. ‘It’s fantastic to see the CEFC investing in agrifood tech through this commitment to Tenacious Ventures. Kick-starting this industry in Australia will take guts and expertise, and the CEFC brings both.

‘There's no doubt that new ideas in agriculture will play a massive role in reducing carbon emissions, while also delivering return on investment. The upside for Australia’s economy is also huge.

‘Sarah and Matt have a solid track record of finding those new ideas, and then making them work. I can't wait to see the innovation in food tech and agriculture that they deliver.’

Tenacious Ventures is Australia’s first dedicated agrifood tech venture capital firm. Founded by Sarah Nolet and Matthew Pryor, the firm invests in high-growth technology companies improving the productivity, efficiency and sustainability of agricultural production.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is responsible for investing A$10 billion in clean energy projects on behalf of the Australian Government. The CEFC helps lower Australia’s carbon emissions by investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies. The CEFC also supports innovative startup companies through the Clean Energy Innovation Fund, from which the Tenacious Ventures investment was made.

Grok Ventures is the private investment office of Mike and Annie Cannon-Brookes. Grok provides long-term, focused, patient capital to fast-growing technology-enabled businesses.

Find out how Australia is shaping the future of food and agriculture.

Contact Austrade for more information about investment and partnership opportunities in Australian agtech.

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