BASF Venture Capital and Amathaon Capital Acquire Minority Stake in Bioinformatics Company Computomics
October 14, 2021
- Computomics AI recommends crosses adapted to future climatic conditions
- Plant breeders can significantly accelerate market launch of new varieties
- Investment promotes innovative solutions for more sustainable agriculture
Tübingen, Munich and Ludwigshafen, October 14, 2021 – BASF Venture Capital GmbH (BVC), the corporate venture company of BASF Group, and Amathaon Capital, a venture capital company specializing in AgTech, are investing in the Tübingen-based bioinformatics company Computomics. Existing shareholders include the seed investors High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) and MBG Mittelständische Beteiligungsgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg (MBG).
Computomics focuses in particular on predictive breeding technology for crops and has developed a cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI). The technology analyzes the plant’s genome as well as other factors such as local environmental data. Computomics can thus provide its customers with recommendations for the development of higher-performing crops adapted to future climates and speed up breeding. The parties agreed not to disclose the financial details of the investment.
Computomics’ advanced technology enables plant breeders to make a data-based preselection to identify candidates with the greatest yield potential for each environment and each region. The disruptive technology combines traditional plant breeding processes with an extensive set of additional variables, such as the climate and future regional climate change, the soil microbiome, genetic diversity and agricultural practices, in order to fully capture the plant’s environment and its genetics. Taking into account all of this information, it simulates all possible crosses, explores the performance of millions of potential offspring and then chooses the most promising ones.
Our technology is unique in the market. Using it shortens the time-to-market for a new crop variety and also decreases land and water usage. By using naturally available biodiversity, it represents a competitive alternative to genetic modification.
Dr. Sebastian J. Schultheiss, co-founder and Managing Director of Computomics
With the investment in Computomics, Amathaon and BVC contribute to advancing the multifaceted transformation of agriculture and support the European Union’s Green Deal. Crops that are resilient to climate change, have a significantly higher yield than traditionally bred varieties and thus require less arable land, or are resistant to pests, are an important building block for increasing the sustainability of agriculture. Such new varieties help to reach the European Green Deal’s goal of considerably reducing the use of fertilizers and pesticides. With Computomics’ technology, these varieties can be commercialized with significantly improved resource efficiency.
We were impressed by Computomics’ pioneering technology and innovative business model. The investment in Computomics is the latest in a number of our activities that support BASF’s strategy of fostering innovations to realize the Green Deal. These innovations also include technologies that contribute to producing affordable and sustainable food.
Markus Solibieda, Managing Director of BASF Venture Capital GmbH
It is already apparent that climate change is leading to a geographical shift in arable land and crop varieties. One reason is that agricultural productivity becomes increasingly sensitive with rising temperatures. Computomics has developed a key technology to bring high-performance varieties that will withstand future climatic conditions to the market faster and more economically.
Borris Förster, Managing Director of Amathaon Capital
Computomics plans to use this investment to expand its global strategic and technical sales and marketing activities and to finance further research and development of its product portfolio.
We are happy to have Amathaon Capital and BASF Venture Capital on board, two investors with a wealth of experience and a synergistic approach in the AgTech sector. They will accompany us on our journey towards greater sustainability in agriculture and support us in expanding our activities.
Dr. Sebastian J. Schultheiss, co-founder and Managing Director of Computomics
Computomics offers a proprietary machine learning technology platform that applies AI to genetics, phenotype, microbiome, and environmental datasets. Computomics is a team of world-leading experts in machine learning, plant research and bioinformatics, who use data to unlock the diversity of biological life. In over 180 projects, Computomics enabled customers to make data-driven decisions and thereby accelerate sustainable agricultural development that can feed the world. Computomics’ interpretable machine learning technology enables rapid understanding of genomic data for plant breeding, agricultural biotech, and microbiome researchers. Long-term entrepreneurial independence is one of the core values of Computomics. Our secure data handling processes ensure that client data are kept confidential and protected. To learn more about Computomics, please visit computomics.com.
About Amathaon Capital
Amathaon Capital invests in radical long-term solutions and visionary founders on a mission. Founded in 2020 by Borris Förster, Dr. Tobias Schönhaar and Saxovent Smart Eco Investments, Amathaon is a Munich-based venture capitalist focused on early stage AgTech and AgBioTech companies. Amathaon invests with a synergetic portfolio approach and fosters collaboration between portfolio companies to bring scalable holistic solutions to market and drive innovation in the European AgTech and AgBioTech sector. Among other things, Amathaon focuses on sustainable solutions to enable the implementation of the European Green Deal and to address the growing global labor shortage in agriculture.In this way, Amathaon Capital helps founders to shape the most important part of our food production in a sustainable way.
About BASF Venture Capital‘
At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF Venture Capital GmbH (BVC) also contributes to this corporate purpose. Founded in 2001, BVC has offices in Europe, the U.S., China, India, Brazil, and Israel. BVC’s goal is to generate new growth potential for current and future business areas of BASF by investing in young companies and funds. The focus of investment is on new materials, AgTech, Digitization and new, disruptive business models. Further information at www.basf-vc.com.
At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. More than 110,000 employees in the BASF Group contribute to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of €59 billion in 2020. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S. Further information at www.basf.com.
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor that finances high-potential, tech-driven start-ups. With around EUR 900 million in total investment volume across three funds and an international network of partners, HTGF has already helped forge more than 600 start-ups since 2005. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and startup experts help guide the development of young companies. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech start-ups in the fields of digital tech, industrial technology, life sciences, chemistry and related business areas. To date, external investors have injected more than EUR 3 billion into the HTGF portfolio via more than 1,800 follow-on financing rounds. HTGF has also successfully sold interests in more than 140 companies.
Fund Investors in the public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, KfW Capital, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and 32 companies.
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Stefanie Grüter, Head of Marketing & Communications
T.: +49 228 – 82300 – 188