Finistere Raises $150M for New Fund Focused on Agricultural Biotech

Xconomy San Diego — 

Finistere Ventures, a San Diego investment firm focused on agricultural biotechnology, said it has closed on $150 million for its second fund.

In a regulatory filing, the firm indicates plans to raise as much as $200 million for the fund, Finistere Ventures II. In a separate filing, Finistere disclosed plans to raise $20 million for a related feeder fund.

Amid challenges that include decreasing agricultural land resources, climate change, and changing population demographics, Finistere said it is collaborating with Bayer CropScience, Calgary-based AVAC, and other global partners to invest in new technology solutions in food productivity, sustainability, and nutrition.

In addition to its San Diego headquarters, where the firm began investing in 2005, Finistere also has added an office in Palo Alto, CA, headed by former Venrock vice president Spencer Maughan.

“Silicon Valley has become a major hub for new agtech companies, and a more diverse group of investors,” Maughan says in the statement from Finistere. “With California as the leading agricultural state by value and the biggest concentration of venture investing in the world, the prospects for investment in Agtech are ideal.”

The firm says its investments will be focused primarily in North America, but it is also working with partners in Australia, New Zealand, and Israel.

In a statement, Finistere chairman Jerry Caulder, says, “The timing for a new fund coincides with the new wave of innovation needed to create the next Green Revolution in agriculture. By partnering with the expanding VC interest, we can build on the positive results we’ve had in this sector.”

In its first fund, Finistere invested in both agricultural biotechnology and healthcare startups, including San Diego-based ZeaKal and SG Biofuels; Campbell, CA-based Sadra Medical; Menlo Park, CA-based Transcend Medical; and Morrisville, NC-based nContact Surgical.