Mekong Capital invests $5m in Cambodian biofertiliser firm HUSK

Mekong Capital invests $5m in Cambodian biofertiliser firm HUSK

Vietnam-focused private equity firm Mekong Capital has announced a $5-million investment in HUSK, a biochar and biofertiliser company engaged in regenerative agriculture practices in Southeast Asia.

Mekong’s investment in the firm is through its Mekong Enterprise Fund IV (MEF IV) vehicle, according to a statement.

Founded in 2017 by two female entrepreneurs, Heloise Buckland and Carol Rius, and joined by Richard Kendall in 2019, HUSK leverages technology to produce biochar, carbon-based fertilisers and crop protection products.

The firm’s products help farmers address challenges related to yield gaps, pests, diseases and poor soil and nutrient management, all exacerbated by climate change, it said in the statement.

“The commitment of Mekong Capital to support our vision could not have come at a more critical time – where the need for viable, scalable, and impactful solutions to runaway soil degradation is at its most urgent,” said HUSK co-founder and CEO Heloise Buckland.

HUSK will use the proceeds to streamline its operations in Cambodia. The company aims to expand into Vietnam by setting up a new production facility.

“We intend to focus on product development. Our goal is to have 10 effective products catering to various crops by 2030. In Vietnam, we are initially targeting rice and coffee, two strategic crops for us, with plans to diversify into other crops in the near future,” she added.

As carbon-based fertilisers are still relatively a new concept for adoption by farmers, it takes time to enter new markets, she observed.

Mekong Capital, which has so far bet on traditional investment assets like retail and brick-and-mortar models, is eyeing new opportunities as it builds its future pipeline.

The new approach follows Mekong’s early success in backing biotech companies, including Vietnam-based probiotics producer LiveSpo, genetic testing company Gene Solutions, and insect protein firm Entobel, the firm’s partner Chad Ovel explained.

“HUSK is a company that has a plan to expand into Vietnam. And given our experience, over 20 years, investing gear and helping companies build their teams here and achieve their goals, we feel like we can be a great support to Husk as they enter this market and bring their product to these farmers,” he added.

In 2021, Mekong Capital closed its fifth investment vehicle, MEF IV, at $246 million, more than double that of its predecessor fund.

Edited by: Padma Priya

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