The51 Ventures has announced its Food & AgTech Fund is now fundraising with institutional and retail investors. This is the second fund for The51 Ventures.The51 Ventures' Food & AgTech Fund is a full-stack fund focused on women-led and diverse businesses in the agriculture, food, and aquaculture technology sectors.
The Fund will drive impact and growth by investing capital in those who are at the forefront of innovation in these sectors but statistically underfunded and over-performing: women and diverse founders.
There is also a need for more diverse representation in ag. The 2016 Canadian Census of Agriculture found that Indigenous agricultural operators accounted for only 1.9 per cent of all agriculture operators in Canada, while another study found that racialized individuals made up only 5.1 per cent of the workforce in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting. This reality is a massive barrier to the potential for growth and innovation within the Food & AgTech sector. Moreover, historically women and diverse individuals have played a significant part in agriculture, yet have been largely left out of funding.
The Canadian agriculture and agri-food industry is a key driver of Canada's economy, generating $143 billion and accounting for 7.4 per cent of GDP in 2018. And while one in three farm operators between the ages of 35 and 54 are women, only 7 per cent of agri-food tech deals and 3 per cent of the record-breaking volume of dollars invested in the sector in 2018 went to women-founded teams.