A new venture capital fund, backed by UK-based sugar company Tate & Lyle, has been formally launched today (24 July). The fund will be led by managing partners Simon Barnes and David Atkinson.

Tate & Lyle said the limited partnership fund will invest in start-ups and expansion-stage companies "that reflect Tate & Lyle's drive for strategic growth through next-generation food ingredients, as well as innovations in industrial ingredients, bio-materials and bio-fuels".

The fund will have US$45m committed by Tate & Lyle at closing. It will be highly targeted and is looking to back between eight and ten deals over several rounds of finance. Optimal investment sizes are between $2m and $5m, the company said.

Barnes and Atkinson will make all investment decisions, while long-term fund strategy will be supported by a Tate & Lyle advisory board, giving the fund the ability to tap into Tate & Lyle's expertise in the rapidly growing area of renewable ingredients.

Simon Barnes said: "The renewable ingredients focus of this fund reflects what is happening around us in our every day environment. Bio-science is finally coming to the fore as the world makes the shift to a renewable economy, where crops will provide everything from our nutritional needs to new forms of fuel and biomaterials. The independent structure of this fund means that we can leverage Tate & Lyle's core expertise in helping us to build our portfolio whilst retaining the ability to exit deals at full value."