In last week’s editorial on Louis Dreyfus Corporation’s move to set up an agriculture-focused corporate venturing unit I said: “CVC easy as 123.”
It certainly is if you pick the right support and managers beyond the traditional limited partner agreement between corporation and venture capital firm, such as UK-based VC firm Connect Ventures, which raised an $80m fund from limited partners including media group De Agostini.
US-based talent agency Creative Artists Agency has picked venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates to help manage the unrelated $100m Connect Ventures which is targeting early-stage consumer-focused businesses. Connect Ventures’ first deal is an investment in Spire Animation Studios, a new feature animation studio from Ratatouille producer Brad Lewis.
The joint venture will be steered by Rick Yang, general partner and head of consumer investing at NEA. Michael Blank is head of consumer investments at CAA and will manage the agency’s role in Connect Ventures.
Separately, Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, maker of consumer lawn and garden products as well as hydroponic and indoor growing products, has launched its 1868 Ventures fund, which is managed together with venture capital-as-a-service provider Touchdown Ventures.
1868 Ventures will focus on North America-based investments in controlled environment agriculture technologies, plant genetics, natural and organic alternatives for fertilisers and controls, and sustainable products and packaging. Typical investments will range between $250,000 to $2.5m initially, with reserves for follow-on investments or deals where Scotts Miracle-Gro may be a customer or add value.
Randy Coleman, chief financial officer of Scotts Miracle-Gro, said: “The creation of 1868 Ventures is a tip of the hat to [our foundation year and] legacy while allowing our team to discover, support and learn from innovators and entrepreneurs as they build their vision into new realities.”
David Horowitz, co-founder and CEO of Touchdown Ventures, added: “Scotts Miracle-Gro will be the partner of choice for entrepreneurs seeking to create a competitive advantage for their startups in these categories.”
The era of the professional has arrived.