Capital Fund To Boost Ag Startups

GROWMARK and CHS are forming Cooperative Ventures, a new capital fund that will focus on creating advancements in breakthrough technologies for the ag industry.

The fund aims to provide differentiated value to startups in the agricultural ecosystem by leveraging the networks and success of the two agricultural cooperatives. Both companies will be equal partners in the $50 million fund, which will be established as its own separate legal entity.

The combined markets of the two companies cover millions of acres and thousands of farmers that will create an industry-leading test field for products and services within North America. The fund has identified three core investment areas, or “Fields of Play,” to maximize the impact of each investment:  crop production, supply chain, and sustainability.

“This partnership will help accelerate technology solutions to existing and emerging challenges in agriculture and is yet another way CHS creates connections to empower agriculture,” says CHS President and CEO Jay Debertin.

GROWMARK and CHS will provide tech startups access to distribution capabilities within multiple value chains, allowing for opportunities to test and refine at different scales. Having cooperative member-owners and customers within the same ecosystem will take these innovative ideas to a new level to create shareholder value and customer-focused solutions.

Special attention will be paid to the startup’s strategic fit with both GROWMARK and CHS. Other factors will be based on their drive to lead in the startup space, the ability to deliver value and quality, the experience of management, and ultimately the ability to take a product or service to market. Cooperative Ventures will be comprised of teams based out of Illinois and Minnesota.