US biotechnology company Monsanto and Microsoft announced earlier this week a new partnership to invest in agricultural technology startup firms in Brazil.
Monsanto plans to join a Brazilian investment fund with up to 300 million Reais ($92 million), which will be managed by Microsoft, and which will evaluate ideas for digital tools being applied to agricultural production in the South American country, according to executives.
Selected ideas are set to receive initial funding of up to 1.5 million Reais (around $460,000) for development, and project owners will be able to pay the investment back after just three years, or alternatively convert the funds into equity.
“We want to foster new startups in the agricultural sector. There is a vast area for research and development”, said Rodrigo Santos, head of Monsanto in Latin America, while talking reporters on the sidelines of the Global Agribusiness Forum (GAF 2016).
American technology company Qualcomm is also investing in the fund.