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Netherlands: Agrifood gains access to Brightlands Fund

Agriculture is an economically strong sector in Limburg. Innovative entrepreneurs in the agrifood sector will now gain access to Chemelot Ventures. This fund provides funding to startups and fast-growing entrepreneurs in and around the Limburg Brightlands campuses. The fund will now also explicitly include agrifood in its focus.

The expansion is in the form of a separate entity, Brightlands Agrifood Ventures, which will be managed by Chemelot Ventures. The latter was founded in 2014 by the Province of Limburg, DSM, LIOF and Rabobank for entrepreneurs active in chemicals & materials (Brightlands Chemelot Campus) and health (Brightlands Health Campus Maastricht). Now that the Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo has been launched, the agrifood sector has also been added.

Brightlands Agrifood Ventures will initially total € 17 million, funded by Rabobank Venlo (€ 5 million), Limburg Province (€ 5 million) and LIOF (€ 1 million). The fund management has also contributed. Moreover, the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemende Nederland (RVO) has pledged an amount of € 6 million under the so-called Seedcapital scheme.

Now the parties involved have signed for the expansion of the fund at the Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo. This expansion also stipulates that the fund will be open to other investors in the coming year.

Twan Beurskens Deputy for Economic Affairs and Knowledge Infrastructure for the Province of Limburg: "Due to the growth of the Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo it was foreseeable that innovative SMEs would also need venture capital. That’s why the province is also investing in the expansion of this fund."

Chemelot Ventures expects the agrifood fund to invest in eight to ten technology startups in agrifood that have a close link with the Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo. The fund focuses on innovations in crop protection and optimization, seed improvement, precision agriculture, valorization of agricultural and horticultural waste and healthy nutrition.

Jacques van der Linden, CEO at Rabobank Venlo: "Rabobank Venlo is convinced that this investment will stimulate innovation in the agrifood sector. Furthermore, a great deal of valuable knowledge can be exchanged with Rabobank's investment branch, Rabo Private Equity, which also invests in other Dutch and international agrifood-related funds."

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