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Sao Paulo Innovation Fund Makes First Investment in São Paulo’s Promip

15 September 2015

(Press Release) São Paulo, September 2014 – Promip, an agricultural biotechnology firm located in Engenheiro Coelho, deep in the São Paulo Countryside, is the first company to be invested by the Sao Paulo Innovation Fund, which is managed by the venture capital general partnership SP Ventures. Promip is the only Brazilian company that boasts a biofactory to manufacture and distribute predatory mites that complement agrochemicals & GMO seeds in pest, disease and harmful plant control, seeking to improve agricultural productivity. The transaction represents a R$4MM (four million reais) Series A Funding for Promip.

Founded in 2006 by two Phd entomologists, Promip develops innovative initiatives that increase agricultural productivity, thus bringing additional solutions to the use of agrochemicals and Genetically Modified products. With the support of the Fund, the company intends to develop a strategic plan to widen its production capacity and develop new Research and Development projects.

Biological products are already a necessary foundation for other global agriculture markets such as those of Europe and North America. However, no other world-scale tropical agriculture but Brazil’s boasts a structured biotechnology chain applied to Integrated Pest Management. There is still plenty of room to grow, as biotech gains ground into the USD9Bi (nine billion dollar) Brazilian agrichemical market. It is through the development of this chain that Promip has become a reference nationwide. The company called the Sao Paulo Innovation Fund’s attention because of its innovative strategies and high growth potential.

The Fund’s leading LP is Desenvolve SP, the Development Agency of the state of Sao Paulo. Other investors also include Sebrae-SP, FAPESP, FINEP and the Corporacion Andina de Fomento (CAF). According to Desenvolve SP’s president, investing in state of the art technology in an important sector of the economy such as agribusiness is of paramount importance. “This is one more step towards our goal, which is to offer conditions for our main State Research Centers to become breeders of high tech companies. We understand that Promip shall improve the competitiveness of the national agribusiness by disseminating top quality technology from São Paulo to the entire country” – states Milton Luiz de Melo Santos.

According to Francisco Jardim, founding partner of SP Ventures and the Fund’s manager, Promip represents a remarkable case of entrepreneurship and innovation. “The company was born thanks to the research work of two exceptional scientist-entrepreneurs through an elite Research Center in a sector in which the country excels. Our expectation is that with the financial, managerial and governance support that we bring to the table, Promip can continue to experience explosive growth. We understand it will be the main Brazilian actor in the agribusiness biotech revolution” he affirms.

“The investment made by the Sao Paulo Innovation Fund was crucial to enable us to perform at a much higher level” says Marcelo Poletti, Promip’s co-founder together with Roberto Konno. “The company acts in a sector that demands ongoing innovation. With the fund’s support, we will be able to move forward in a more consistent way in both research and business” – Konno affirms.

Future investments
The Sao Paulo Innovation Fund is part of the São Paulo Innova Program. Its goal is to invest in small and medium size corporations and technological startups, widening the São Paulo government initiatives aimed at fostering innovation. The State is responsible for more than half of the national scientific production, besides including a large number of technology parks and incubators.

A total of 18 to 22 small companies acting in the information technology (IT), nanotechnology, photonics and life sciences sectors with annual revenues of up to R$ 3.6 million shall be selected to receive investments.