That, at least, is the impression from a securities filing this morning, which lists O’Brien as managing member of Fall Line Farms Fund I, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based partnership that will buy and develop farmland. So far, Fall Line has raised $11 million toward a target of $200 million, according to the filing.
O’Brien had not responded to a request for comment as of press time. His profile at AngelList lists him as founder of Fall Line Capital, which is described as “a PE fund dedicated to acquiring farmland and improving its productivity through the application of technology and cutting edge best practices.”
Also listed as a managing director is Clay Mitchell, owner of The Mitchell Farm, a 2,500 acre farm in northeast Iowa that produces corn and soybeans, with a focus on soil conservation practices. Mitchell, a Harvard biomedical engineering grad, describes the approach on the farm’s website as a “combination of no-till, controlled-traffic farming, farmwide wireless LAN, centimeter-level automation of seed, fertilizer and chemical application, and strip-intercropping.” The operation has been profiled in several publications as an example of a “farm of the future.”
On Lightspeed’s website, O’Brien is currently listed as an affiliated partner. His prior investments include Aquantia, a developer of 10G Ethernet semiconductors, Lucky Pai, a Chinese television home shopping network and Evolv, a hiring software platform. Previously O’Brien worked in product management at Ciena, was an associate at early stage venture investor InterWest Partners, and worked as an analyst at Morgan Stanley in the telecom M&A group.