Blue Horizon is a prime catalyst for the transition to a sustainable food system, delivering outstanding returns for investors and the planet. As an early entrant to the space, Blue Horizon helped grow the alternative protein and food tech markets. Today, the firm invests holistically in the sustainable food system, with an end-to-end approach that extends well beyond alternative proteins. This includes better crop practices, sustainable packaging and smart distribution. Blue Horizon's portfolio spans seed investments in creative, early-stage ideas, all the way through to emerging global businesses.
Investment and Sustainability Analyst
Challenge: The need for efficiency and depth of data
Blue Horizon got its start in foodtech in 2016. As an early entrant in the space, at the time, online research was sufficient to meet their need for marketing intelligence, deal sourcing and identifying potential partners. However, with the growing pace of activity and expansion into new markets, the firm needed a more robust solution to support investing, fundraising and finance teams. Google was no longer good enough.
Blue Horizon also faced a crucial challenge regarding the inherent risk in impact investing, which constitutes half of their dual mandate—delivering positive financial and impact returns. Finding companies that truly create a positive impact from a solid economic base is not as easy as one might expect.
Solution: Unanimous support from experienced PitchBook users
A few members of the Blue Horizon team had used PitchBook in previous jobs. One had a particularly positive experience with PitchBook dating back more than a decade ago. PitchBook had provided the research and data necessary to make the case for renegotiating the terms of a deal, which resulted in creating a huge win for that firm.
Given that, and other positive experiences, PitchBook was the unanimous solution for streamlining the increasing responsibilities of Blue Horizon investing, fundraising and finance teams. Getting back on the platform in the fall of 2021 was a breath of fresh air for these Blue Horizon team members. They quickly dove into the data, reaping benefits across the board.
The data sets in PitchBook are truly impressive. I’m pulling in more than a 1,000 data points of complete information. It really helps us be very agile, targeted and confident in our investing decisions.”
—Diego Gonzalez, Fund Controller
Key benefits in the first year include:
- Targeting made easy. Analysts use screening criteria to filter out extraneous data and drill down to the exact companies they want to explore. They’re quickly developing highly targeted lists of comparable companies, and elevating their due diligence and research.
- Deep datasets a click away. For the financial controller in his work with the deals team, he’s finding fund performance details and KPIs that are notoriously hard to find and benchmark, but are easily accessible on PitchBook. This is incredibly helpful in building a case for the management team.
- Fill the gaps. PitchBook helps the Blue Horizon team fill in any gaps in the information received from portfolio companies. Capitalization is quite structured in venture capital. Sometimes there is information that wasn’t shared until Blue Horizon joined the cap table. The team can find it on PitchBook, make it presentation-ready and build up the evolution of the cap table, so that they have a better assessment of historical performance.
- Co-investors. With impact investing, it’s crucial to Blue Horizon to see what other investors are investing in the company in the process of getting to know the company and assessing the likelihood of its ability to scale and meet goals. With a clear picture of co-investors, PitchBook data helps build confidence in these potentially risky investments.
- Value-add reports. Since foodtech is a relatively new industry, there isn’t as much public third-party coverage on trends and companies as you might find in other verticals. PitchBook tracks VC funding, foodtech, agtech and impact investing closely, and produces regular reports (like the most recent Q3 2022 Foodtech Report) that the Blue Horizon teams find invaluable. These reports close information gaps and give them big-picture insights into how the market is developing..
- Custom quarterly reports. PitchBook creates custom quarterly reports that help identify co-investment opportunities with investors that have come either before, with, or after Blue Horizon on the cap table. Tapping into PitchBook’s bench of analysts frees up about 10 hours a week for Blue Horizon team members.
The support we get from PitchBook’s Customer Success team is far better than any other tool I’ve worked with in the past. They’re highly knowledgeable, super responsive, and quick to resolve issues over email or Zoom.”
—Lara Erman, Investment and Sustainability Analyst
PitchBook came onboard at a good time for the fundraising team. As the market has tightened, PitchBook helped Blue Horizon get creative. They now run regular queries to identify investors at the cross-section of foodtech, agtech and impact investing. They are able to quickly and significantly expand the list of LP targets, identifying 1,600 potential US LPs that it had not previously approached. This would have taken several days or even weeks to do without PitchBook. PitchBook also provides complete contact information, which has created huge time savings for the team. They are optimistic about their fundraising goals for 2023.
Now, in a matter of hours, I can identify quality targets in a new market and put together email lists, as we look to raise new funds. It’s an incredible time-saver.”
—Sofie Batalov, Fundraising Director
Sourcing deals much faster than in the past, with a deeper degree of due diligence and detail. The team estimates they save at least five, and up to 10, hours every week in comparables research. The firm has completed 112 investments since its founding, 17 of those were in 2022 alone, since they started using PitchBook, and despite a big slowdown in dealmaking.
Going into the new year with this market uncertainty, we will definitely look forward to PitchBook’s quarterly reports to see if anything interesting is coming, specifically in foodtech and agtech. Those reports give us that 30,000-foot view that helps guide our work.”
—Lara Erman, Investment and Sustainability Analyst