Effingham, IL (PressExposure) March 10, 2011 -- Fifty years ago the cherry and apricot orchards of Northern California began to be replaced by the microchip and semiconductor plants populated by today's technology sector. Today the most prominent venture capitalists are looking at the corn fields in the United States, convinced the next big opportunity is in the business of sustainable agriculture technology.
"Sustainable agriculture is as big or bigger than clean tech," said Jim Schultz, founder of Open Prairie Ventures, a venture capital fund from Effingham, Illinois. In the early part of the twentieth Century, the Midwest was bustling with entrepreneurial activity in Agriculture. That resurgence is now sprouting out of the ground again, in the 21st Century, as we are seeing exciting technologies being developed which will further entrench the Midwest as the "bread basket" to feed the global population. Open Prairie Ventures ( http://www.OpenPrairie.com ) has been leading the charge of mid-America venture capital firms funding the yellow brick road of Agriculture 2.0.
Farmers in the United States are under huge pressure to produce more food, pollute less and fulfill specific consumer demand while dealing with harsh economic realities and a volatile climate.
Innovation in Agriculture has strong interest from venture capitalists throughout the world. These funds understand that the food supply will need to double over the next 30 years to feed the ever-increasing demands of the global population.
"If we are going to increase our food supply by 100% in the next thirty years, this demand for growth will be fueled by safe agricultural technologies that increase crop yields on less land," said Schultz.
Schultz speaks about Open Prairie Ventures' investments in sustainable agriculture in a new YouTube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=714EQqgP4fI
But getting into the agricultural space requires knowledge that most venture capitalists currently lack.
"There are two major obstacles," said Schultz who has been regarded as the Johnny Appleseed of the Agriculture Technology sector. "The first is having managers who understand the space. The second is having an exit strategy on how the company will be developed to provide a liquidity option for a venture fund investor. This is how venture capital firms make their money and since the industry is relatively new it lacks the depth that exists in other business sectors."
In 2008, Open Prairie launched a $30 million fund that was split about 50-50 between agriculture and biotech. Now an expanding and increasingly profitable agriculture market has meant that Schultz and his company Open Prairie Ventures are in very big demand.
Schultz is contemplating a new fund that solely deals in agriculture and said he's been getting interest from some of Wall Street's biggest companies. Though the new fund is still in the concept phase, the demand and interest exists to establish such a fund today.
The reality is that investments in technologies to improve agriculture appear to be sound philosophies that can produce exceptional crop and financial yields.
For more information on Open Prairie Ventures please visit: [http://www.OpenPrairie.com/About.html]