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By Jack Ellis,

The Yield Lab Europe - the European affiliate of US-headquartered accelerator group The Yield Lab - has completed the second close of its sustainable agrifoodtech fund.

The EU's European Investment Fund through the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), Dutch government-linked Invest-NL, and Irish financial services provider Allied Irish Banks are among the new investors backing The Yield Lab Europe's new fund. Several family offices also participated in the second close.

The fund's total capital stands at almost 50 million ($61.3 million) to date.

Nicky Deasy, co-founder and managing director at The Yield Lab Europe, said that the fund is continuing to raise money, with a final close expected in September this year.

"We are in discussions and due diligence with a number of investors. We don't know yet what the final close amount will be," she told AFN.

The Yield Lab Europe is raising the fund to back startups at Seed and Series A stage across the continent. So far, it has completed seven investments:

ApisProtect (Ireland) - honeybee monitoring
Equimetrics (Ireland) - 'smart' health monitoring for horses and other equine animals
Kaffe Bueno (Denmark) - 'upcycling' coffee grounds into food and health products
MicroGen Biotech (Ireland) - developing microbial products to block crop uptake of heavy metals
Micron Agritech (Ireland) - rapid testing for parasitic infections in livestock
N2 Applied (Norway) - decarbonizing livestock through biogenic methane reduction
RootWave (UK) - sustainable weed control using electric treatment

According to Deasy, the fund will consider investments in a broad range of startups - though gene editing, genetically modified organisms, cannabis, and B2C segments - such as branded consumer foods - are outside of its ambit.

It claims to have "mapped" more than 2,000 European startups through its research efforts already.

Key to investment decision-making will be the target startups' "environmental impact," in addition to their ability to generate "strong" financial returns, The Yield Lab Europe said in a statement.

"We have an impact measurement system based on the IMP [Impact Management Project] approach," Deasy said.

"We set specific targets for each of our companies based on the impacts that they expect to create as they scale commercially. Those impact metrics are reported upon regularly to our LPs and discussed at our advisory committee meetings."

Alongside the second close, The Yield Lab Europe is announcing its expansion to the Netherlands. The venture builder is opening an office there as part of its new partnership with StartLife, a fellow venture builder affiliated with the country's Wageningen University, where The Yield Lab Europe will become investor-in-residence.

"The Netherlands is a world leader in agrifood, with a high-tech, export-focused agrifood industry, and a strong university sector, creating research-led startups with deep technologies," Deasy said.

"StartLife has a strong ecosystem of partners, and a large portfolio of early-stage companies which align well to our investment strategy. Invest-NL is also supportive of our plans to set up operations in the Netherlands and invest into more Dutch startups."

European Investment Fund chief executive Alain Godard said his organization is "pleased" to support The Yield Lab Europe's expansion on the continent.

"Scaling up world-class research to advance agricultural technology, improve production, biodiversity, and animal health, and adapt to a changing climate is crucial for agriculture in Ireland and Europe," he said in a statement.

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