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The51 Food and AgTech Fund announces Farm Credit Canada as their lead investor and initial retail close

Farm Credit Canada (FCC) has signed on to be the lead investor in The51's Food and AgTech Fund, focused on investing in underrepresented founders transforming the business of food and agriculture.

CALGARY, AB - The51 is pleased to announce FCC as the lead investor of The51 Food and AgTech Fund (The Fund), a women-led fund investing in science-based technology entrepreneurs innovating from lab to plate. The $50 million Fund is led by a General Partnership between The51's Co-founders Judy Fairburn and Shelley Kuipers, alongside AgTech pioneer Alison Sunstrum and fund Principal Yuan Shi.

The initial close of The Fund is a unique convergence of The51's community capital (retail investors) and institutional investors working together with founders who are addressing and solving serious global issues. While setting a high bar in developing the investment thesis and reporting processes, the General Partnership believes The Fund will generate market competitive returns while creating positive change for underserved founders and the planet.

"There is no better time to invest in agriculture," says Sunstrum. "Technology financing in AgTech has been growing for the past 15 years, and despite current funding slowdowns in other markets, investment in AgTech continues to outperform."

As recent geopolitical events create challenges in global food insecurity, growth in AgTech investment is being driven by a longer-term interest in productivity gains, reduction in environmental impact and improved farm operator and animal well-being.

"To have Farm Credit Canada on the journey with us is a significant milestone," shares Sunstrum. "FCC has had an unwavering commitment to Canadian agriculture for more than 50 years, and in Canada, agriculture matters." 

"The continued success of the Canadian agriculture and food industry relies on its ability to adopt technology, attract a skilled and diverse labour force, and embrace sustainability, all of which supports profitability and productivity in this vital sector of our economy," said Rebbecca Clarke, vice-president of FCC venture capital. "FCC is pleased to support The51 Food and AgTech Fund which will bring fresh thinking to support a diverse group of entrepreneurs through investment in new technology that will help this sector grow and thrive." 

FCC is committed to matching institutional and retail capital as The51 approaches the next close for The Fund, set for fall 2022. With a focus on underrepresented founders of all genders who are driving diversity, equity and inclusion, The Fund has gathered a pipeline of hundreds of prospective ventures and will begin investing this September in early-stage companies to help them scale to Series A and beyond.

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