Innovative Investment Model Partners with Kibbutzim to Prototype and Test Emerging Technologies to Scale Globally
TEL AVIV, Israel, July 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — FLORA Ventures™ announces the launch of its $80M fund, and its first closing with commitments of $50M, making it the largest Israeli-based AgriFood VC. And, according to IVC data, it is the largest Israeli new VC fund to have completed a first closing during 2023 across all tech investment verticals.
FLORA Ventures invests in early-stage start-ups from two of the leading AgriFood ecosystems, Israel and Europe, that are building a healthier, more sustainable and resilient AgriFood system; and supports those ventures in scaling globally.
The fund’s model is unique in that it is the first VC fund to tap the world’s ‘original’ innovative agriculture pioneers – the Israeli Kibbutzim – as anchor investors and partners.
FLORA Ventures co-founders are Gil Horsky, former Mondelēz executive, corporate venture investor, and leading figure in the global AgriFood ecosystem, and Esther Barak-Landes, renowned VC investor and co-founder of Nielsen’s incubator and investment arm. They secured funding in just four months by identifying an opportunity to fill technology gaps such as food security, digitization, sustainable agriculture, and food as medicine.
They completed the initial raise with top tier strategic partners including Sadot Kibbutzim, a co-op bringing together more than 185 Kibbutzim with an agricultural output of +$3B exported to over 100 countries. They offer the fund’s portfolio proprietary access to agricultural land, production capabilities and expertise for initial proof of concept and ability to scale their technologies.
Some of FLORA’s other anchor investors in this first closing are leading Family Offices and:
Haifa Group – a world leader in plant nutrition and special fertilizers. The company’s efforts in sustainability, innovation, and precision agriculture, together with 18 subsidiaries around the world that distribute to more than 100 countries, make it an optimal partner in helping FLORA’s startups to build go-to-market capabilities.
Harel Group – Israel’s largest insurance and finance group with more than $100B assets under management (AUM). This gives FLORA access to a top tier institutional and financial investor that can provide support and follow-on investments to the fund’s portfolio companies.
Gil Horsky and Esther Barak-Landes say the infliction point of COVID-19, Ukraine war and the climate crisis underscored the urgency for a fund like FLORA Ventures to accelerate innovation and impact in the $8T AgriFood industry.
They seized the opportunity to create the fund leveraging their complementary skills and network – Horsky’s global leadership experience in multinational food companies including Mondelēz, PepsiCo and Kraft Foods, and Barak-Landes’s proven track-record of investing in disruptive tech startups, including leading the first rounds for what came to be publicly traded unicorn tech companies including Payoneer, Amwell and Playtika.
“I’ve been fortunate in my career to lead important VC deals in the Retail-Tech, FinTech, and Digital Transformation sectors, which enables me to reapply proven technologies and business models to the AgriFood industry where it is greatly needed. I am excited to bring my skills to finding and fueling start-ups from Israel & Europe that are good for people and kind to the planet, while helping to build the next generation of AgriFood unicorns,” said Barak-Landes.
“Working for leading food multinationals, as well as co-founding one of the industry’s most successful corporate venture capital (CVC) and incubation initiatives in Mondelēz, taught me the value of having design partners early on. That’s why we are excited that FLORA can provide our start-ups proprietary access to Haifa Group, Sadot Kibbutzim and Harel Group, which are among the most innovative and agile design partners in the industry,” said Horsky.
FLORA Ventures already completed its first investment in Arrakis Bio, a stealth-mode Israeli startup, developing a breakthrough technology poised to revolutionize the production and utilization of human collagen and gelatin, that is animal free, high quality & pure.
For more information visit www.floravc.com