Unity Technologies co-founder launches AgriTech VC Fund

Nicholas Francis, founder of Unity Technologies, is launching a specialised Agricultural Technologies (AgriTech) VC fund in partnership with Investbridge Capital.

Francis’ career to date has involved predicting how software will develop in the face of hardware evolution and societal change.

He co-founded Unity Technologies, a San Francisco-based video game software development company in 2004. The company reported revenues of $772 million in 2020.

The new fund will see Francis commit $10 million as a cornerstone investor with the stated goal of creating a market leading VC fund investing in the most scalable and innovative technology companies in global food production.

Working alongside the Investbridge team, Francis intends to help the portfolio companies reach their full potential, and deliver exceptional outcomes for investors.

In a statement, the organisatoin said that agriculture remains the least technologically developed of any major industry, whilst food production needs to advance at a much faster pace than it has over the past 100 years.

A rising population, worldwide food and labour shortages, and supply chain issues, are all presenting significant challenges for agriculture and food production, it added.

Innovation will be the key to addressing these issues, and with the farming sector already seeing an influx of start-ups looking to use data analysis and technology such as robotics and AI to improve processes. As a result, the AgriTech market is primed for significant growth and subsequent investment returns, the statement said.

Nicholas Francis, AgTech Investment Committee Member, said: “We are standing at the crossroads of two megatrends. On one hand, software is eating the world, and agriculture is one of the last hold-outs. On the other hand, there is a global push to mitigate the climate impact of one of the most important industries of our planet, an industry which contributes almost a quarter of the world’s greenhouse emissions. Over the next decade, we will see tremendous investment influx into the sector, making this the perfect time to help these nascent companies grow.

“Climate change is perhaps humanity’s biggest challenge and the stakes are enormous. Thankfully throughout our history, humanity has always risen to such challenges and we are proud to be at the forefront of this transition. We are not alone, agricultural stakeholders and climate investors are realising the scale of the challenges — and are looking to technologies from end to end, in order to improve their production.”

Commenting on the launch, Oliver Hogg, chief executive at Investbridge Capital, commented: “Welcoming Nicholas to the team marks a significant new venture for us. With his unrivalled experience in the tech market and his leadership of our new fund, we are extremely well-positioned to capitalise on the investment opportunities within AgTech. I look forward to working closely with Nicholas as we grow our offering in this space.”

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