U.S. biotech company Monsanto Co. and Microsoft Corp. announced on Monday a partnership to invest in agricultural technology startups in Brazil.
Monsanto will join a Brazilian investment fund with up to 300 million reais ($92 million), 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 1.5 million reais ($459,000) 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.
Technology company Qualcomm is also investing in the fund.
(Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Marguerita Choy)