Monsanto and Microsoft announce biotech project

American biotech company Monsanto Co and Microsoft Corp have announced a partnership to invest in agricultural technology startups in Brazil.

Monsanto will join a Brazilian investment fund with up to 300m reais (€85m), managed by Microsoft, evaluating ideas for new digital tools to be applied to agricultural production in the country, executives said.

Selected ideas will receive initial funding of up to 1.5m reais (€415,000) for early development.

Project owners will have the option to pay back the investment after three years or convert the money into equity.

“We want to foster new startups in the agricultural sector. There is a vast area for research and development,” Rodrigo Santos, head of Monsanto in Latin America, told reporters on the sidelines of the Global Agribusiness Forum 2016).

Technology company Qualcomm is also investing in the fund.

Meanwhile, Monsanto is in talks with Bayer and other groups about “alternative strategic options”, a month after it rejected the German company’s $62bn (€56bn) takeover offer.


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