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Willow Hill Ventures will fund, and connect agriculture tech startups with famers

TechCrunch TechCrunch 26/04/2016 Lora Kolodny

International Farming Corp. and Finistere Ventures have agreed to partner under the moniker Willow Hill Ventures to invest in growth-stage agricultural tech startups.

International Farming Corp. owns and manages land that it, essentially, leases out to commercial farmers, helping them maximize the land’s yield and profitability. Finistere Ventures invests in early-stage tech companies building products for the agriculture industry. Its portfolio includes CropX, ZeaKal and ShopWell.

Willow Hill Ventures intends to make land within International Farming Corp.’s asset base accessible to entrepreneurs who want to test out their technologies and science in a real, commercial context.

The idea is to save startups time and hassles in negotiating farm-by-farm to get pilots or beta testing going, explained Finistere Ventures Partner Spencer Maughan.

According to a statement from Willow Hill Ventures, the new fund will eventually invest in: “informatics and big data, novel farm systems, food quality and nutrition, genetics and seed tech that increase the sustainability, profitability and productivity of agriculture. “

Maughan said, “Tech is what propels the land’s value in agriculture, because it propels the yield and costs to operate a given farm. The genesis of this partnership was that we observed farmers increasingly need tech, and tech companies need help scaling their technologies. Right now they go farm gate to farm gate, looking for partners and pilot customers.”

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