Avrio Fund III Closes Three More Deals

September 6, 2017

Avrio Capital Provides Investment Activity Update, Purchases Majority Stake in Morris Industries Ltd.

CALGARY, AB / September 6th,  2017 / CNW / Avrio Capital Inc. (“Avrio”) is pleased to announce an update to its investment activities from its third institutional late stage venture fund, Avrio Ventures Limited Partnership III (the “Fund”).   During the quarter, Avrio was active, having deployed approximately $20M of capital across three new investments.

“In a typically slow period for deploying capital, we are very pleased to have completed three platform investments that highlight the entire spectrum of the Avrio investment strategy. Flexing from agricultural technology to food tech and encompassing all the novel and innovative agribusinesses in-between, we continue to tune our investment strategy identifying world class companies in our verticals of interest,” commented Aki Georgacacos, Managing Partner of the Fund.

In its first deal, Avrio committed C$6M alongside multiple co-investors to support Phytelligence Inc., the Fund’s first investment in plant genetics and propagation.  The company has developed a novel approach for tree-crops to grow during their early days in a nutrient rich gel which allows for genetically confirmed, virus free and generally more robust plant material.  “The MultipHy technology platform engineered by Phytelligence is truly transformative.  The speed, genetic certainty, and overall robustness of the plants developed material offers the type of disruptive technological advancement we have been seeking to address worldwide rootstock shortages,” commented Mike McGee, Managing Director at Avrio Capital.

On the other end of the continuum, Avrio also participated in the Series A financing for Organic Mushroom Nutrition (“M2”), alongside of White Road Investments, a previous co-investment partner in Fresh Hemp Foods which was awarded CVCA Deal of the Year in 2015.  “Functional ingredients promoting health and wellness, while respecting sustainable practices have been a core focus of Avrio’s mandate since inception.  We’re excited about the prospects for expanding the breadth of opportunities to exploit the functional health benefits of mushrooms across multiple channels,” commented Jim Taylor, Chairman and co-founder at Avrio.

Lastly, Avrio completed its quarter by completing the purchase of a majority stake in Saskatoon based, Morris Industries Ltd. (“Morris”), one of the last remaining independent manufacturers of innovative, technology based agricultural equipment.  Founded in 1929 by George Morris, the Company has grown from its modest Saskatchewan roots to a global business with over 250 dealers worldwide, and 300,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity across four continents.  “We are delighted to have attracted Avrio to lead the recapitalization of our company,” commented Ben Voss, the incoming Chief Executive Officer.  “Their depth of food and agriculture expertise and track record will be essential to re-invigorating the innovation and farmer inspired creativity that has underpinned Morris since its inception.  We welcome Steve and Aki onto our Board of Directors, and look forward to working closely with the entire team in building the Morris franchise into the world’s leading brand for precision and reliability.”  Steven Leakos, the lead partner from Avrio on the investment commented: “With its strong market position and a renewed commitment to the Company’s core values of innovation and service that has built the Morris legacy, we believe the opportunities to grow this business are limitless.”

After completion of these three investments, the Fund has deployed and reserved approximately 60% of its investment capital out of Fund III. The fund which closed with total commitments approaching $110M in January 2016 has finalized nine investments.  The fund is actively seeking quality opportunities to deploy $2-$10M in dynamic, growing agricultural and food technology companies seeking growth or expansion capital to address global issues related to health, wellness and sustainability.

About Avrio Capital Inc. 

The Avrio group of entities was established in 2002 to identify and invest in innovative food and agriculture companies that provide solutions to global challenges in the areas of health, wellness and sustainability.  As the global pioneer in ag and food technology investing, the team has been a very active investor in the space for almost 15 years, having completed over fifty investments since its inception.  Avrio is a highly active investor, working closely alongside of their portfolio companies to provide the support and resources needed to transform emerging companies into global leaders.   Based in Calgary, Alberta, the Avrio team is one of Canada’s longest standing venture franchises.

About Phytelligence    

Phytelligence is an agricultural biotechnology company that is revolutionizing food crops. Utilizing its proprietary growing techniques to provide superior quality crops, Phytelligence enables higher grower profit by increasing speed to harvest while reducing input costs. Phytelligence provides additional value to food crop growers and plant breeders through the application of advanced genetics enabling delivery of accurate plants, disease screening, plant repository services, securing of intellectual property, and the ability to co-develop new varieties of food crops. In addition, Phytelligence has a growing pipeline of biological and compound solutions aimed at improving returns throughout the food crop value chain.

About M2   

M2 is a leading producer of pure, certified 100% Organic Medicinal Mushroom Powders. Having traveled the world to discover unique mushroom varieties, M2’s leadership team has combined the perfect balance of ancient wisdom with modern methodology to grow the highest-quality mushrooms in a state-of-the-art, indoor facility.

About Morris Industries

One of Canada’s oldest and most recognizable farm equipment manufacturers, Morris was started in 1929 by Mr. George Morris. Their products are sold globally and are recognized for their durability, simplicity and usability on certain soil types. The Company is headquartered in Saskatoon and has manufacturing facilities in Yorkton and Minnedosa. With a strong and committed workforce and management team, along with over 300,000 square feet of manufacturing space in three facilities, in Western Canada, Morris has a capacity to manufacture and export precision farming equipment that is globally unique. For more information about Morris Industries Ltd., please visit www.Morris-Industries.com

SOURCE: Avrio Capital 

For further information:  Media Contact: Randi Lethebe, Rlethebe@avriocapital.com, 403.215.5492, www.avriocapital.com