Trendlines, Tchenguiz set up $40m agritech fund

Vincent Tchenguiz Photo: Christopher Ratcliffe

Fund CEO: There is no doubt that we share the same outlook and values about the global ecological situation.

Israeli company Trendlines, which is listed on the Singapore Exchange, has announced the founding of a fund for investing in Israeli agritech. The fund will be established by Trendlines together with UK billionaire Vincent Tchenguiz's CBG investment fund, and in partnership with major Singapore investment fund Temasek, in Singapore with local government support.

Trendlines announced today the closing of the fund's first investment of $22 million, which is expected to rise to $40-60 million later. Before today's report, Trendlines was traded on the Singapore exchange at a $40 million (S$55 million) market cap.

A third of the sum to be raised will be earmarked for investment in young companies, mainly in Singapore, while two thirds will be set aside for investment in more mature companies, including in Israel.

Trendlines was founded in Israel by Todd Dollinger and Steve Rhodes, immigrants to Israel from the US, first as a consultant company for startups and later as a franchise holder for two technological incubators: the Misgav incubator and the Kiryat Arba incubator, now called Trendlines Medical and Trendlines Agtech.

The company has posted several exits in the millions or tens of millions of dollars, including ET View Medical and FlowSense Medical, both initially listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), and medical devices companies MitrAssist, Stimatix GI, Inspiro Medical, and PolyTouch Medical. All of these companies were sold at relatively low prices, but the investment in them was also small, so the returns on them were substantial.

Share price down 75% since IPO

Trendlines decided to hold an IPO in 2015. The initial attempt was in Canada, but when it appeared that the effort would be unsuccessful, the company quickly withdrew it and within two months held its IPO in Singapore. Initially, the company had no connection with the Singapore market. A year after the IPO, however, a medical devices incubator was founded in Singapore, and agtech activity is also now being set up there.

Trendlines' share price has not fared well in Singapore since the IPO. The price plunged shortly after the IPO, and the trend has since been moderately negative. The share price is currently 75% lower than the share price in the IPO. It appears that the pace and size of Trendlines' exits is still unsatisfactory for investors in Singapore, not to mention the fact that the company operates more in Israel than in Singapore.

CBG has invested in several companies in Israel, which serve as an incubator or set of medical devices, agtech, and cleantech companies. These companies include Hadasit Bio-Holdings and Capital Nature. CBG also invests directly in Trendlines.

Trendlines Group VP and CEO of the new agtech fund Nitza Kardish says, "We are delighted with the link to the fund of two anchor investors. There is no doubt that we share the same outlook and values about the global ecological situation, and believe that as private entrepreneurs, we have the duty to act." She added that the fund would focus its seed investments on Singapore, mainly in multi-storey urban agriculture, plant proteins, and water agriculture for raising fish and seafood.

Tchenguiz said today, "An investment in an agrifood fund is appropriate for our developing business and financial model, with investments for the earth's ecological systems. Many of these technologies simultaneously reduce CO2 emissions, and we are focusing on them at the moment."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 24, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

Vincent Tchenguiz Photo: Christopher Ratcliffe
Vincent Tchenguiz Photo: Christopher Ratcliffe
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