Equilibrium closes greenhouse food fund at $336 million. Equilibrium Capital closed its Controlled Environment Foods Fund I at $336 million and already has deployed nearly all the capital to finance high-tech greenhouses for year-round food production. “We’re fully committed to expanding in the sector,” Equilibrium’s Dave Chen told ImpactAlpha. The real estate fund owns greenhouse assets of operators such as Houweling’s, Revol and Fresh Farms, enabling the producers to expand operations to meet demand for tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers as well as lettuce and other greens. “For the first time, agriculture is now seeing the impact of tech-based disruption and business-model innovation,” said Chen, who is speaking at this week’s Global AgInvesting conference in New York. (Disclosure: Equilibrium Capital has been a financial sponsor of ImpactAlpha. Dave Chen is co-host of the “Institutional Shift” series on ImpactAlpha’s Returns on Investment podcast.)
- Food factories. The expansive, $50 million to $100 million facilities are high-production food factories. Houweling’s Utah greenhouse, for example, uses waste heat and carbon dioxide from a nearby natural-gas power plant.
- Institutional interest. Australia’s LGIASuper pension manager committed $112 million to the fund; other investors included an unnamed Middle East sovereign-wealth fund and three family offices. “Some of these pensions and sovereigns are looking at agriculture as a long-term hold, for capital preservation,” Chen said. “Others are looking at ag as one of the last remaining sectors that hasn’t been disrupted by technical advances.”
- Greenhouse effect.