Latest 1868 Ventures News
Jul 1, 2020
Scotts Miracle-Gro Launches $50M VC Fund 1868 Ventures July 1, 2020 By Lynda Kiernan, Global AgInvesting Media Lawn care giant Scotts Miracle Gro announced it is launching a $50 million venture capital fund to invest in controlled environment agtech innovations, plant genetics, natural and organic fertilizer and control alternatives, and sustainable products and packaging. Named 1868 Ventures, the fund will be managed by Touchdown Ventures in partnership with the senior executive team at Scotts Miracle-Gro, and will be stage-agnostic, but will have an emphasis on early and growth stage companies that have gained a level of traction and are generating revenue. Geographically, the fund will look to the North American market, and will commit between $250,000 and $2.5 million per investment, with reserves kept for follow-on funding. “Since our founding in 1868, we have been an industry leader that has evolved through innovation and ingenuity,” said Randy Coleman, CFO, Scotts Miracle-Gro. “The creation of 1868 Ventures is a tip of the hat to this legacy while allowing our team to discover, support and learn from innovators and entrepreneurs as they build their vision into new realities.” Diverse Opportunities Between 2001 and 2009, Scotts saw its revenues increase by 80 percent as giant retailers including Walmart, Home Depot and Lowe’s expanded across the U.S., building more than 3,000 stores. However, with 2008 came a widespread economic slowdown, stalling Miracle-Gro’s growth. In 2016, Jim Hagedorn, chairman and CEO of Scotts Miracle-Gro since 2001, undertook a strategy to re-energize the company by announcing plans to invest as much as $500 million in the legal cannabis industry , telling Forbes at the time, “It’s the biggest thing I’ve seen in lawn and garden.” In 2014 the company launched Hawthorne Gardening Company specifically to supply cannabis growers, and in 2016, continued to expand within the legal marijuana space by lifting its stake in hydroponics company AeroGrow International Inc . to 80 percent through its wholly owned subsidiary, SMG Growing Media Inc., for $47.8 million. However, as the years pass and technology increasingly finds a role in the advancement of agriculture, innovators continue to develop new products, new applications, and new production methods ripe for investing. 1868 Ventures will look to capitalize upon these new opportunities by targeting verticals such as software and environmental controls that automate controlled environment agriculture; tools and techniques that make plant genetic research more efficient; solutions that reduce waste or lessen the environmental impact from agriculture inputs or water usage; or natural and organic alternatives to traditional pest controls or fertilizers. “We are enthusiastic about the capital investment, industry expertise, and customer validation that Scotts Miracle-Gro can bring to innovators in lawn and garden care and controlled environment agriculture,” said David Horowitz, co-founder and CEO, Touchdown Ventures. “We believe Scotts Miracle-Gro will be the partner of choice for entrepreneurs seeking to create a competitive advantage for their startups in these categories.” – Lynda Kiernan is editor with GAI Media, and is managing editor and daily contributor for Global AgInvesting’s AgInvesting Weekly News and Agtech Intel News , and HighQuest Group’s Oilseed & Grain News . She is also a contributor to the GAI Gazette . She can be reached at email@example.com .