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Trendlines' fund makes US$1.6m investment in seed-breeding business

CATALIST-LISTED startup incubator Trendlines Group on Wednesday said its Agrifood fund has invested US$1.6 million in seed-breeding technology firm, Equinom.

This is the fund's first investment. 

The Trendlines Agrifood Fund was set up last September, when it received conditional commitments of up to US$22 million from investors, including Temasek and Librae Holdings, an entity related to UK business tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz. 

The fund is investing US$1.6 million out of a US$10 million round, alongside lead investor BASF Venture Capital, the investment arm of global materials and chemical company BASF. 

Existing investors include Israeli private equity fund Fortissimo Capital, as well as Roquette, which touts itself as a global leader in plant-based ingredients for food, nutrition and health markets.

According to Trendlines, Equinom's non-genetically modified organism technology optimises seed functionality to increase plant yield, nutritional value and disease resistance among other things, which tie in with the fund's strategy. 

In a press statement on Wednesday, Trendlines said: "Equinom leverages traditional cross-breeding with computational genetic algorithms to develop new seed varieties... at significantly higher speeds. Their bioinformatics-based technology accelerates seed breeding, achieving new levels of productivity to enable the creation of high-protein crops for sustainable plant proteins."

Trendlines previously announced that it intends to invest 66 per cent of the fund's capital in commercial- or growth-stage companies.

As at 4.38pm on Wednesday, Trendlines shares were trading at 12.8 Singapore cents, down 0.1 cent or 0.8 per cent.