Rio Investment Partners, the new successor to Calgary-based Avrio Capital, has announced the launch of a new VC fund focused on agrifood, ag-tech, and food-tech investing across North American. Rio is aiming to commit $150 million CAD in total capital and has so far secured $77.5 million CAD in its first close.
Rio, which has offices in Calgary and Montreal, said the new fund will invest between $3 million to $10 million in growth-stage companies operating in various segments of the agri-food tech market. The fund’s backers currently include Farm Credit Canada, an agricultural term lender.
“The deployment of capital at the intersection of technology and the agri-food value chain has never been more compelling.”
“The creation of Rio represents a bold vision for agri-food tech venture capital investing. In today’s competitive environment, firms are either growing or shrinking and as a consequence, evolution is essential,” said co-founder, Aki Georgacacos. “As the team considered its future, and notwithstanding the enormous success of the Avrio funds, we saw a unique opportunity to rebrand and establish the foundations of a global agri-food investment vehicle.”
Rio has recruited several members of the Avrio team, including Georgacacos as managing director, Steven Leakos as managing director, and Jonathan Goodkey as principal in the new fund. Jean Francois Huc, fellow co-founder will also join Rio as a managing director.
In 2016, Avrio closed its largest late-stage venture fund to date, with $110 million CAD in commitments. In the past, Avrio invested in companies like Brookside, and Wolf Trax Inc., which were both selected as the Canadian Venture Capital Association’s Deal of the Year for generating outstanding investment returns. Rio noted all existing Avrio equity and sub-debt funds will continue to operate under the Avrio name.
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Avrio’s choice to rebrand came from the team’s desire to build a platform that could invest in a very comprehensive way across the entire agri-food tech space. As Avrio began to build out the idea, Georgacacos told AgFunderNews he felt it made sense to adopt a new approach, with a new name, while maintaining the heritage of Avrio.
Rio invests across the agri-food tech space, including in agricultural productivity, protein technologies, and healthy foods. Rio said the once budding investment sector has flourished in recent years, as public and private stakeholders have attempted to tackle major global issues related to sustainability and wellness.
“The deployment of capital at the intersection of technology and the agri-food value chain has never been more compelling,” said Huc. “I am excited to be joining the Rio team as the sector reaches an inflection point and reveals tremendous opportunities to build transformative companies.”
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