Avrio Ventures, a Calgary-based venture firm, held a $50 million first close on its newest fund, Avrio Ventures LLP II. The target for the fund is $100 million, the firm says. It will focus on later stage venture investments in the food and agriculture sector.
Avrio Ventures is pleased to announce the first closing on its second fund. Avrio Ventures LLP II has now closed on $50 million and is actively seeking new investments. The fund is focused on later stage venture investments in the food and agriculture sector. The target size for Avrio Ventures LLP II is $100 million with a second closing anticipated prior to the end of the first quarter of 2012.
“In the midst of the most challenging fundraising environment in recent memory, it is gratifying to see Avrio continue to grow its portfolio of funds under management,” says Gregory Smith, President of the Canadian Venture Capital Association and Chair of the Avrio Advisory Board. “The conversation around this sector is evolving on a global basis with a seriousness and sophistication that provide significant scope for continued strong performance.”
The principals of the fund (Jim Taylor and Aki Georgacacos) have been focused exclusively on food and agriculture since 2002 and have invested in 36 companies since that time. The fund’s investment premise continues to focus on identifying innovative companies in the food and agriculture sector that are meeting global challenges related to health, wellness and sustainability. The fund pursues investments of $3MM to $6MM in commercialization to growth stage companies, and has six professionals, with offices in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.
Avrio Ventures is also pleased to announce the addition of a new partner to the firm’s management team. Tom Kaneb, formerly of Miralta Capital and a successful entrepreneur and principal investor in the sector, has joined Avrio effective September 1, in the Montreal office. “We are delighted to add a professional of Tom’s pedigree to the Avrio team. His operational expertise over 30 years, combined with his recent venture background and demonstrable track record provides additional depth and geographical coverage to the Avrio team as we continue to exploit Canada’s natural competitive advantage in the sector,” says Georgacacos.
Avrio Ventures was created in 2006 when Farm Credit Canada’s venture capital division (FCCV) spun out its direct investment business. The Avrio team has continued to manage FCCV’s original direct investment portfolio, which to date has generated a gross realized internal rate of return in excess of 20%. FCC was the cornerstone investor in Avrio Ventures LLP I with a $50 million commitment. Avrio Ventures LLP I is now fully invested and is currently seeking its initial liquidity events. “We are pleased with their performance to date and welcome the opportunity to continue our relationship with Avrio Ventures,” says Rick Hoffman, Executive Vice-President and CFO at FCC. “We are also pleased to extend our support of the agriculture and agri-food industry with another $50 million commitment to fund the first close of the Avrio Limited Partnership Fund II.”