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FMC Corporation launches FMC Ventures

FMC says new venture capital arm will advance emerging agricultural technologies.

FMC Corporation has announced that it has launched FMC Ventures. The new venture capital arm of FMC Corporation is targeting strategic investments in start-ups and early-stage companies that are developing and applying emerging technologies in the agricultural industry, according to FMC officials. 

“At FMC, we are investing in the future of agriculture,” said Mark Douglas, president and chief executive officer at FMC, in an FMC news release. “Through FMC Ventures, we are able to quickly identify, assess, and invest in emerging, sustainable technologies that will complement our technology portfolio and deliver strong return on investment.”

FMC Ventures evaluates emerging technologies of relevance to the agricultural industry and will invest in those that create unique competitive advantages for FMC, say FMC officials. These include advances in artificial intelligence (AI), genomics, robotics, precision agriculture, biopesticides, synthetic biology, and other innovations. The new venture capital arm of FMC will initially focus investments in these advanced technology areas. 

Investment in Trace Genomics
FMC Ventures announced its first portfolio investment in Trace Genomics, Inc

With operations in Burlingame, California, and Ames, Iowa, the start-up combines DNA sequencing with machine learning that not only explains how soil diseases emerge but also identifies beneficial microorganisms that can be developed into biological products that counter harmful pathogens. Trace Genomics’ technology can identify bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and pathogens, as well as their interactions with each other and the plant. The in-depth analysis of microbial diversity and its impact on crops are critical data sets needed by agronomists to recommend the right biological products.  

“Trace Genomics’ superior sequencing and analytical approach to managing soil data will complement the growth objectives for our biological portfolio,” said Amar Singh, managing director of FMC Ventures, in an FMC news release. “Understanding the important role of soil biology and accurate prediction of disease risk in fields will be increasingly important as the adoption of sustainable, biological crop protection products continues to accelerate around the world. Soil tests on the market today are insufficient to answer all the right questions in detail. Trace Genomics technology changes that.” 

Trace Genomics was recently selected as one of the World Economic Forum's Technology Pioneers, which recognizes the world’s most promising start-ups and scale-ups that are at the forefront of technological and business model innovation.

“FMC has deep roots in the food production system worldwide – I know because I’ve worked with their products and technologies for over four decades,” said Trace Genomics CEO Dan Vradenburg, in an FMC news release. “Having a global leader like FMC in our corner validates our investments to change how we nurture soil, our most important agricultural asset. All stakeholders in agriculture – and certainly solution providers like FMC – want science-backed soil intelligence to unlock the full potential of our living soil. We look forward to collaborating with them as we expand agricultural practices and solutions to help improve farm productivity in a more sustainable manner and restore our living soil.”

FMC Corporation will retain a minority equity stake in Trace Genomics. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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