Microsoft joins Monsanto to invest in Brazil agriculture tech

Laurent Giret

Microsoft Campus

Microsoft and US biotech company Monsanto have announced yesterday that they have partnered to invest in agricultural technology startups in Brazil. According to a report from Reuters, Microsoft will manage a Brazilian investment fund with up 300 million reais ($92 million) with both Monsanto and global semiconductor company Qualcomm as investors.

Executives told Reuters that the fund will focus on discovering new digital tools to improve agricultural production in the country. Rodrigo Santos, head of Monsanto in Latin America shared that “We want to foster new startups in the agricultural sector. There is a vast area for research and development.”

Startups with the best ideas will receive initial funding of up to 1.5 million reais ($459,000) to kickstart their development, and project owners will be able to either give back the money after three years or convert it into equity. A few weeks ago, Microsoft relaunched its venture capital efforts by introducing its new investment arm Microsoft Ventures (which is run by a former Qualcomm Ventures exec) and it’s interesting to see that the company is ready to invest in other markets than the US. In other related news, the Redmond giant also announced last week the appointment of a new Corporate Vice President for Latin America.