BERLIN, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Astanor Ventures, a backer of
German vertical farmer InFarm and French insect breeder Ynsect,
said on Friday it had raised a $325 million fund to invest in
sustainable food, agriculture and ocean technology startups.

The fund will back ventures that seek to make the food
supply more resilient while reducing the impact of agriculture
on the environment – vulnerabilities that Astanor says have been
exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s never been clearer that there’s a direct connection
between the food that we eat and the environment that we live
in,” said Eric Archambeau, co-founder and partner of Astanor
Ventures.

“When one part of the ecosystem that connects farmers,
consumers, livestock, rivers, seas, soil, plants and air becomes
damaged, all parts suffer.”

All investments will support the United Nations’ Sustainable
Development Goals, adopted by the international community in
2015 to fight poverty, protect the environment and ensure
prosperity for all by 2030.

Astanor cited figures that agriculture generates a third of
all greenhouse gases and consumes 70% of the world’s fresh
water, while 40% of food produced goes to waste or never makes
it to market.

Archambeau and co-founder George Coelho previously launched
venture capital fund Balderton Capital and were, among others,
early investors in music streaming service Spotify.

Since being founded in 2017, Astanor has invested in more
than 20 European and U.S. startups – it was the lead investor in
French insect farming venture Ynsect and recently backed
Berlin-based urban farming startup InFarm.

European venture capital funds have raised 5.9 billion euros
($7 billion) in the current year to date. That makes 2020 a
record year already, beating the previous record of 5.5 billion
euros in 2018, according to startup tracker Dealroom.co.
($1 = 0.8419 euros)
(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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