Source: Impossible

Blue Horizon is in early discussions with investors about raising a $750 million growth equity fund, New Private Markets has learned.

The private equity firm, which focuses on investments in the food system, raised its first fund – a $20 million seed funding vehicle – in 2016 and raised a $220 million venture capital fund in 2018.

Its first growth capital fund, the 2019 BH Growth 1, is not a conventional blind pool fund, but a roll-up of seven businesses focused on plant-based protein. Blue Horizon initially invested $200 million into The LiveKindly Collective, as the vehicle is called, and in March this year raised an additional $335 million from a group of institutional investors led by TPG’s Rise Fund. The LiveKindly Collective is understood to have a net asset value of circa $1 billion, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

For its second growth fund, BH Growth 2, the firm is targeting returns of more than 3x invested capital and has had initial conversations with investors, the source said. It has already made two warehoused investments for the fund. In September it invested in AgBiome, which produces crop protection products from natural sources, alongside Novalis LifeSciences. It is also understood to have participated in June in a series B funding round for Motif, which makes additives to improve the texture of plant-based protein, alongside Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, BlackRock and others.

Blue Horizon declined to comment on any elements of this story.

The firm is led by four managing partners with a mix of industrial and private markets backgrounds. Björn Witte, Blue Horizon’s CEO, has held leadership positions within the food and agriculture sector. CIO Przemek Obloj joined Blue Horizon from Canadian pension investor PSP Investments, having previous held positions at CVC Capital Partners and EQT. Sedef Koktenturk , COO and head of impact, is a former director from Generation Investment Management. Michel Hirschi, CFO, has held finance positions across technology and industrials businesses. In October, Blue Horizon hired Partners Group’s global head of legal Ela Musat as general counsel.

The firm describes itself as “a pure play impact investor in the future of food”. The growth fund will be an Article 9 fund under the EU SFDR regulations, meaning it has sustainability as an objective.

A large part of Blue Horizon’s focus has been on the alternative protein sector, which could be worth as much as $290 billion by 2035, according to study the firm undertook with consultancy BCG. With the likes of the AgBiome investment, it has also started investing in food production systems across the food value chain.