The Cibus funds acquire a majority stake in a leading horticultural Dutch robotics and AI company

The Cibus funds, the sustainable food and agriculture investment funds group, has acquired a majority stake in a Dutch farming robotics provider ISO Group (“ISO”) through its Cibus Fund LP (“Cibus Fund”).

Based in the Netherlands, ISO designs and develops robotics solutions for indoor vegetable and flower growers. These advanced machines help growers mechanise routine manual processes allowing workers to upskill to machine operators whilst enhancing crop yield and quality.

ISO has commercialised over 20 new robotic 2D/3D vision systems and AI-driven machines that use sophisticated sensors to collect data to provide growers with tools to make evidence-based decisions in all aspects of the life cycle of plants to sort, grade, plant, cut and propagate fruits, vegetables and flowers at scale. ISO’s top selling Cutting Planter 2500 can make up to 2,500 cuttings per hour, the Bulb Planting machine can pick and plant up to 12,000 tulip bulbs per hour while the Grade 8000 2D/3D machine can grade the quality of 12,000 plants per hour. ISO also supplies Grafting and Phenotyping machines for fruit and vegetable plantings. The company has sold over 650 machines to leading growers worldwide and is building a pipeline of new, patented, high-tech products.

In Holland, the greenhouse industry is forecasted to grow at 13% p.a. until 2030, supported by a dynamic agritech ecosystem. Growth in this sector is fuelled by the need for producers to bring the growing processes indoors to mitigate the externalities associated with disease and climate, whilst optimising costs.

Cibus Fund and ISO will partner to accelerate the company’s expansion into indoor food farming technologies.  This investment in ISO is the US$500m Cibus funds’ 23rd deployment to date. The Cibus investment strategy is to focus on mid-market investment opportunities in sustainable food processing and production companies. The Cibus Fund aims to take advantage of shifting trade patterns and the global demographic evolution, as burgeoning middle classes in the world’s fastest growing economies demand higher-value foods. A priority is to back high-quality management teams running companies that have established strong positions in the food value chain and which have a demonstrable technological advantage that can support superior returns. Environmental sustainability is a key investment criterion and determinant of value creation.

 

Rob Appleby, CIO of The Cibus funds, said:

“Food and agriculture are undergoing a systemic change, driven by the climate emergency, population growth and cost pressures. At the Cibus funds, we are passionate about backing companies working to meet the challenges of sustainable food supply and resource efficiency.

ISO’s precision agritech improves the quality and quantity of yields and addresses industry labour shortages, supporting sustainable production. ISO is a leader in its sector and we are particularly excited by Agrifood Tech which is forecast to grow at 15% annually and double by 2025, reaching a total market size of around EUR 12.4 billion[1].”

Jason Silm, Senior Investment Director at The Cibus funds, added:

“The Cibus funds’ team are highly experienced in controlled environment farming through our investments in The Summer Berry Company and AeroFarms. The ISO team are leaders in robotics, AI and vision systems, which we see complementing our indoor farming investment strategy. We look to apply our agribusiness sector experience and proven investment track record to support ISO’s growth ambitions by funding their continued R&D programme and helping them to pivot into adjacent high growth horticulture sub verticals. We are very excited to partner with Wim van der Meyden and his team.”

Wim van der Meyden, CEO of ISO, added:

“We are delighted by this new partnership with the Cibus funds, which underlines confidence in our business and marks the beginning of a new step in the company’s development. The growth in the market is accelerating and ISO offers relevant solutions that resolve issues around efficiency and quality. With the Cibus funds’ vision and support we will be able to anticipate even better and faster and the company will be able to develop further as a robust and reliable partner for growers worldwide. We enter this new phase with excitement and look forward to the cooperation.”

For more information, please contact:                 

Gay Collins/ Lauren O’Keeffe

Montfort Communications

+44(0)7885 654 646

[email protected]

 

About ISO Group

ISO is a supplier of AI-driven robotic solutions for vegetable and flower growers located in Gameren, the Netherlands. Founded in 2002, ISO has developed and commercialized over 20 new nursery automated machines, including 2D/3D vision systems and AI. With over 60 employees, including 12 people in R&D, ISO was owned by majority shareholder and CEO Wim van der Meyden, as well as CFO Cornelis Bouman and Head of R&D, Wim Struijk.

[1] ABN-AMRO (2020) “Battle-aggressive robots erupts”