GROWMARK and CHS cover millions of acres and thousands of farmers across North America. Today, the two companies announced the formation of Cooperative Ventures, a new capital fund that will focus on creating advancements in breakthrough technologies for the agriculture industry. Both companies will be equal partners in the $50 million fund, which will be established as its own separate legal entity.
The combined markets of the two companies will create an industry-leading test field for products and services for startups. The fund has identified three core investment areas to maximize the impact of each investment: crop production, supply chain, and sustainability.
"This is a terrific opportunity to act cooperatively by working together on a venture meaningful to agriculture and our corresponding supply chains," said GROWMARK CEO Jim Spradlin. "Both GROWMARK and CHS have trusted relationships and expertise within our networks, which will provide tremendous value for technology startups and ultimately benefit our respective customers."
"This partnership will help accelerate technology solutions to existing and emerging challenges in agriculture and is yet another way CHS creates connections to empower agriculture," said Jay Debertin, president and CEO of CHS Inc.
GROWMARK and CHS will provide tech startups with access to distribution capabilities within multiple value chains, allowing for opportunities to test and refine at different scales. Having cooperative member-owners and customers within the same ecosystem will take these innovative ideas to a new level to create shareholder value and customer-focused solutions.
Special attention will be paid to the startup's strategic fit with both GROWMARK and CHS. Other factors will be based on their drive to lead in the startup space, the ability to deliver value and quality, the experience of management, and the ability to take a product or service to market. Cooperative Ventures will be comprised of teams based out of Bloomington, Illinois, and St. Paul, Minnesota.
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