Motoring association the NRMA is a cornerstone investor in a new agrifood tech fund backing startups focused feeding the world.
The sustainability-focused agriculture and food technology venture fund Mandalay Fund I by Mandalay Venture Partners now has more than $21 million in commitments towards its first close, with an ultimate target of $50 million.
NOVONIX co-founder Phillip St Baker and PCS Capital CEO Angus Cameron have also committed investments
Mandalay Ventures managing partner Al Fullerton said the fund will look to back early-stage and growth startups in areas ranging from from carbon sequestration, to on-farm efficiencies, supply chain automation, autonomous vehicles, future foods, eCommerce and eGrocery platforms.
“Our mission is to invest in agtech and food tech companies, that have the capability to sustainably and efficiently feed the world’s growing population,” he said.
“Australia’s agricultural industry is predicted to exceed $100 billion in value by 2030 and significant investment in innovation, technology and efficiency is required for Australians to sustainably lead this market.”
Fullerton said Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and sustainability will sit at the Mandalay’s investment thesis and agenda.
“This is an area that is not only desperately needed to secure the future of our food supply, but it is highly relatable. We all eat. We all get it,” he said.
“Australians are renowned for agriculture and innovation so it is a sector that we’re comfortable with. The fact that such a large and well-respected Australian institution like NRMA has come out of the gate so early to back us, drives home the need and confidence in this growing sector.”
NRMA head of investments Ainsley Lee they were impressed by the track record of the management team and their approach to getting heavily involved with and supporting the portfolio companies.
“More broadly, we are highly focused on investing in areas of impact while helping to address sustainability, especially if we can support regional and rural parts of Australia,” he said.
The Mandalay team has collectively been involved in backing over 50 early-stage investments including TrademarkVision and non-alcoholic spirits company Lyre’s, as well as managing multiple early-stage funds. Mark Gustowski, Philippe Ceulen and Timothy Hui managed external startup investments for the Queensland University of Technology before joining forces with Fullerton to establish Mandalay.