Stay up to date with the most recent news regarding the food tech industry and sustainability, and this week's summary of the most relevant investments and IPOs
IPOs, M&As & Investments:
In a sign of soaring interest in farming practices that improve the health of soil and boost its ability to capture carbon, French startup Gaïago has secured €13 million in its first funding round. The St Malo-based company has developed biological crop input products aimed at revitalizing soils across Europe.
Groundwork BioAg closed an $11 million venture financing round led by Ibex Investors with participation from ProDelta and Future Foodways. The new funding will be used to help accelerate and expand production of its mycorrhizal crop inputs, targeting the regenerative agriculture and soil health space.
Aquaconnect, a startup firm that works with aqua farmers, on Tuesday said it has raised $4 million (about Rs 29.7 crore) in a funding round led by Rebright Partners and Flourish Ventures. AgFunder and 6G Capital also participated in the pre-Series A round, along with existing investors Omnivore and HATCH, a company release said.
Farmitoo, a France-based online marketplace for farm equipment, has raised €10 million ($11.9 million) in fresh funding. The round saw participation from Parisian VC Ventech, Toulouse-based IXO Private Equity, and French government-linked bank Bpifrance, which invested out of its Ambition Amorçage Angels fund (F3A) alongside several unnamed angel investors.
Finland’s Netled has signed a €15 million (~$17 million USD) three-year investment agreement with herb grower Oh My Greens, and will provide Sweden-based Oh My Greens with Netled’s turnkey vertical farm called Vera.
Arborea – which is industrialising photosynthesis to expand the world’s food supply – has completed a funding round led by BGF, alongside Rubio Impact Ventures and Volta Circle, raising 3.6 Million Euros.
Biotech, Ingredients & Alt Protein
Singapore-based synthetic biology startup Allozymes has raised $5 million in seed funding led by Xora Innovation, the deep science investment arm of Temasek Holdings. The round was also joined by SOSV, TI Platform Management and Entrepreneur First.
Comet Bio, manufacturer of healthy, sustainable, and award-winning ingredients, announced today the completion of the company's Series C with an initial close of $22M. The round was led by Open Prairie, a multi-faceted private equity fund management firm with headquarters in Effingham, Illinois.
Next Gen Foods, makers of the plant-based chicken brand 'TiNDLE' today announced a $20 million extension of their seed round, taking the entire round to $30 million, the largest ever for a plant-based startup. The funds will primarily be used to launch 'TiNDLE' in the U.S., the largest plant-based meat market.
Coca-Cola Israel – The Central Bottling Company (CBC), the exclusive Israeli franchise of Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, and Fuze Tea among others signed an agreement to invest up to $2 million in BioMilk, the Israeli food tech company that develops innovative products from cultured milk and human cultured breast milk.
France’s cell-based pioneer Gourmey has bold plans ahead after bagging $10 million in a seed round that included support from the French government. The funding marks the largest seed round to date within the cultivated poultry sector. Armed with fresh capital, Gourmey wants to expand its poultry portfolio with duck, chicken, and turkey in order to commercialize around late 2022.
Plant-based food brand Wicked Foods has secured $14 million in a Series A funding round, co-led by plant-based foods venture fund Unovis Asset Management and Thailand-based NRF-owned Nove Foods. Founders Derek and Chad Sarno are also the co-founders of Gathered Foods, makers of the Good Catch plant-based seafood brand.
There’s yet another Australian plant-based meat startup on the scene, with Harvest B securing $4.5 million in combined venture capital and grant funding. The company develops and produces animal-free ingredients, and distributes them to the brands cooking up plant-based meat products.
South Korea-based Tridge, a digital trading and market intelligence platform for food and agriculture buyers and suppliers, announced it has raised US$60 million in its series C financing round from Forest Partners.
Climate X, a London-based purpose-driven startup, has completed its pre-seed raise of €1.3 million – ushering in a new era of climate intelligence that will help businesses, governments and individuals around the world build a stronger, climate-resilient future.
Turkey’s food surplus startup Fazla Gıda closes €2.5 million funding round. The food tech startup provides a platform for food companies to manage their unsold inventories with a maximum return, either monetarily, via donations to food banks, reuse in animal feed, or recycling.
RetailTech & RestaurantTech
Chicago-based restaurant tech company 86 Repairs today announced it closed an additional $5.3 million from investors including TDF Ventures, Gordon Food Service (GFS), MATH Venture Partners, Revolution, and Cleveland Avenue. The additional investment will further bolster 86 Repairs' 146% year-over-year growth to scale its product innovation and data-driven solutions.
Israeli startup Shopic, a provider of mobile self-checkout and AI-powered retail solutions announced on Tuesday that it raised an additional $10 million to bring its total equity funding to $21 million. Claridge Israel led the funding round and existing investors Entrée Capital, IBI Tech Fund, and Tal Capital also participated. The company said the new funding will go toward expanding its team and accelerating commercial ventures.
SimplyDelivery, the Berlin-based startup which provides cloud software for around 3,000 restaurant chains, ghost kitchens or individual businesses, has closed a €10 million Series A funding round led by Cusp Capital and joined by Fortino Capital.
San Francisco-based Chef Robotics raised a combined $7.7 million pre-seed and seed round, with the goal of helping automate certain aspects of food preparation. Investors include Kleiner Perkins, Promus Ventures, Construct, Bloomberg Beta, BOLD Capital Partners, Red and Blue Ventures, Gaingels, Schox VC, Stewart Alsop and Tau Ventures, among others.
Online grocery startups around the world continue to pull in major investment, underscoring how much they have all grown — especially in the last year of pandemic living. In the latest development, Kurly -- a startup in South Korea that provides next-day grocery delivery services across the country -- has closed $200 million in funding, a Series F valuing the company at $2.2 billion, the company confirmed.
Easy Eat AI, a Singapore-based startup that wants to “transform restaurants into technology companies,” announced today it has raised $5 million in funding. Easy Eat AI offers an operating system for restaurants that lets them digitize all parts of their business, from inventory and customer orders to delivery, and gain AI-based data analytics to improve revenue.
FreshRealm, a leading fresh meals solution provider, announced that it has raised $32 million in funding from accredited institutional investors. The company will utilize the capital to bolster its facilities, product and infrastructure to propel its rollout of national fresh meals destinations in retail grocery.
M&As & IPOs
On July 14th, 2021, Global X AgTech & Food Innovation ETF (KROP) was listed on Nasdaq. KROP is designed to provide exposure to companies that are positioned to benefit from further advances in the fields of agricultural technology (“AgTech”) and Food Innovation. AgTech and Food Innovation are playing central roles in facilitating the shift to more sustainable production and consumption patterns.
As China cracks down on data-heavy businesses from finance to ride-hailing, Zomato Ltd., backed by Jack Ma’s Ant Group Co., is beefing up its IPO in the Indian market to 93.75 billion rupees ($1.3 billion) because of high demand.
Tate & Lyle is to divest its sweeteners division and has agreed on a £1.2bn deal with private equity player KPS Capital Partners to sell a controlling stake in the business. The deal, which will generate cash proceeds for Tate & Lyle of £900m and values its sweeteners business at £1.2bn, will see the creation of a joint venture between Tate & Lyle and KPS with each owning 50% of the new company.
Azelis is expanding its global footprint with distribution and acquisition deals, including Azelis and CP Kelco extending their distribution relationship in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, Azelis has also agreed to acquire 100 percent of the shares in Coseal, a specialist distribution business in South Korea.
News & Trends:
28 alt protein innovators from 14 countries have been announced as semifinalists for the next XPRIZE Foundation Challenge – Feed the Next Billion. The multi-year $15 million competition is aimed at reinventing how humanity will feed future generations. Fresh after its €2.3 million funding raise, French private label plant-based meat and fish specialist Umiami was selected, hoping to use its proprietary technology to convince the competition’s panel of judges with its technical submission. Cell-cultured fish pioneer BlueNalu has also been selected, with plans to enter a cell-cultured bluefin tuna fillet, which is also the initial product it anticipates launching in commerce at large scale. Mycelium-based meat specialist Meati Foods also made the list on the back of its $50 million Series B funding round, as well as alt seafood company Kuleana, the plant-based tuna producer which recently launched in Poké Bar restaurants across North America. Other companies include: Air Protein, Another Fish, Atlast Food Co, Boston meats, Brew51, CELL AG TECH, DiverseFarm-Structured Meat, ENOUGH – NO LIMITS, GOOD Meat, IntegriCulture, Kernel Mycofoods, MeatOurFuture, MyoWorks, Novel Farms, ProFillet, Revo Foods, SeaSpire, TFTAK, The Better Meat Co, The PlantEat, Umami Meats, Whiteboard Foods, Wildtype
International food giant Nestlé has announced that it is cooperating with Israeli cultured meat startup Future Meat Technologies. The Israeli food-tech startup and scientists at Nestlé Research in Lausanne in Switzerland will explore the potential of cultured-meat components that do not compromise on taste or sustainability.
NextFerm Technologies (TASE:NXFR), a food-tech company developing ProteVin(TM), a vegan, yeast-based, non-GMO protein alternative and other innovative yeast-based nutrients, announced Monday that Health Canada has granted a regulatory marketing approval for Astaferm(R), its innovative fermented astaxanthin antioxidant in the form of Gummies. This is the only fermented astaxanthin with no odor and flavor.
Upcycling is now “the new recycling,” presenting an attractive opportunity for businesses to curb food waste and loss, while scaling a host of new value-added F&B products from these sidestreams. Emergent concepts within this space now include alcoholic spirits from upcycled whey, chewy snacks from fruit surplus, and prebiotic sugars from fiber-rich agricultural waste.
Swiss group Firmenich, one of the world's leading flavour manufacturers, says recreating the sensation of beef relies not only on flavour, texture and colour, but also on how it responds to cooking and the way it feels in the mouth. AI has notably enabled Firmenich to develop an aroma that replicates the specific flavour of barbecued meat, with the algorithms helping to pin down similar flavours in the plant world.
Tate & Lyle PLC has begun a new program to support stevia growers in China. The program aims to help growers lower the environmental impact of stevia agriculture and to gain greater economic benefit from its production. Growers will also receive mentoring through the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative certification process.
UK supermarket Waitrose & Partners is working to stamp out deforestation from its supply chains and is ‘early’ on its journey to becoming forest positive, according to John Lewis Partnership’s Ethics & Sustainability Manager Samuel Lee-Gammage.
Australia helps Vietnam develop hitech agriculture in a project to improve the knowledge and capacity of Vietnamese businesses in hi-tech agriculture will be soon carried out by Asialink Business of Melbourne University and Beanstalk AgTech of Australia.
A three-year European Union (EU)-funded project, which explored ways to support the short food supply chain (SFSC) model has reached its conclusion. SFSCs are food systems that include very few intermediaries and have the potential to create a shift in the way we grow, distribute and consume food, in response to the needs of farmers, food producers and consumers.
Tesla and Elon Musk are pressing ahead with full self-driving even amid blown deadlines, safety issues, and multi-billion-dollar efforts from Alphabet-backed Waymo and GM-backed Cruise continue. But some autonomous vehicle start-ups are making big bets that the future will be smaller, ‘zero-occupant’ vehicles including three-wheelers that deliver pizza. Refraction AI and Nuro are among the delivery technology innovators working with local restaurants in Texas and corporations including Domino’s Pizza.
The impact that pandemic had on life and business is too big to fit in numbers or words. Every industry was a victim and the F&B industry, too, adds a major chunk to the statistics. Industries and entrepreneurs are resorting to new experimental strategies to keep up with the ever-changing dynamics of the market.
A diet rich in fermented foods enhances the diversity of gut microbes and decreases molecular signs of inflammation, according to researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine.
Sam’s Club announced it is testing a new app-based feature, Scan & Ship, that allows people to use a smartphone to buy items in the club and send purchases directly to the home. It’s another example of how the warehouse club is using digital approaches to stand out from competitors like Costco. The warehouse club has acted as a tech incubator for parent company Walmart.
Eliminating plastic pollution, reducing pesticide use by two-thirds, halving the rate of invasive species introduction and eliminating $500bn (£360bn) of harmful environmental government subsidies a year are among the targets in a new draft of a Paris-style UN agreement on biodiversity loss.
Two recently published innovations by University of Florida researchers at the Department of Energy's Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI) demonstrated the first successful precision breeding of sugarcane by using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing—a far more targeted and efficient way to develop new varieties.
In this week's innovation round-up, we hear about Lindt's launch of a bar made from 100% cocoa fruit with 'no added ingredients'. In France, Jimini's launches a high protein pasta fortified with insect powder. And in the UK, Chupa Chups' Lolly Drops 'water enhancer' rolls out.
With support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Boulder County has launched a pilot program to decrease environmental impacts associated with food and beverage packaging. The Boulder County Food & Beverage Pollution-Reduced Packaging Pilot will support manufacturers as they transition to pollution-reduced and sustainable packaging formats.
Panda Express, icon of the shopping mall food court, is giving its most popular dish a veggie makeover. Soon, you’ll be able to taste a vegetarian take on orange chicken using the newly-released ‘chicken’ product from Beyond Meat. The Panda Express Beyond Meat collab launches in select locations starting July 26, 2021.
Cutting food waste with dynamic supermarket pricing. The new start-up created by Israeli tech entrepreneur Oded Omer, Wasteless, uses AI to lower an item’s displayed price gradually as it nears its expiration date.
Coca-Cola is launching an updated version of its Coca-Cola Zero Sugar which tastes more like its iconic namesake beverage, the company said in a statement and blog post. The new version uses the same ingredients, so the labeling and nutritional information will not change.
Consumers across the globe are placing increased emphasis on positive nutrition rather than the more traditional methods of diet control, according to analysis by Innova Market Insights. An average 71 percent of respondents in Innova’s 2020 Health & Nutrition Survey indicated that it was either “important” or “very important” to choose food and drink products that positively boost nutrition or benefit how the body functions. The new wave of opportunity for functional nutrition product launches for 2021 and beyond will be explored further in a webinar on July 19.
The University of Canterbury is conducting a research project aimed at reusing food waste products. Spearheaded by Environmental Science Professor Brett Robinson, the idea is to transform biological waste sourced from New Zealand’s food production industry-such as potato peelings or grape skins-into soil conditioners and animal feed. These products could help boost the national economy by as much as $1,6 billion.
Offering premium organic and conventional avocados from California, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico, Oppy is now using Apeel’s plant-based solution to extend the shelf life of its Eco Farms avocados grown in Mexico.
In the land just outside of Parma, Italy, 6 acres are dedicated to a carbon-neutral village, which includes office space, labs, a scientific garden, a bistro, and more. Known as the Davines Group, the global headquarters of Davines and Comfort Zone, the sustainable beauty destination will expand to include yet another pioneering initiative: a regenerative organic farm, research center, and education hub.
Engaging men is a critical part of the solution to the problem of gender inequality for female agrifood tech entrepreneurs, reveals a new EIT Food report from food and agriculture consultancy Karen Karp & Partners.
Oatly is being accused by short-seller Spruce Point of overstating its revenue and margins and misleading the public about its sustainability efforts in a 124-page report published Wednesday. An Oatly spokesperson said in an email that it is aware of the report, and it was issued by someone who stands to financially benefit from the company's stock price falling. "Oatly rejects all these false claims by the short seller and stands behind all activities and financial reporting."
Nabati Foods Global has filed new patents for its plant-based egg product, Nabati Plant Eggz. These have been registered in Canada, the US and Australia. The company further intends to file in Europe and China.
Food and drink brands will play a lead role in growing the preventative nutrition sector. However, new research from Sagentia Innovation stresses technical and regulatory complexities need to be taken into account.
Steve Techtmann has won the 2021 Future Insight Prize — awarded to innovative research in health, nutrition and energy — for his food generator concept. Michigan Technological University’s Steve Techtmann, associate professor of biological sciences, aims to convert plastic waste and inedible biomass into edible protein — a biological sleight of hand featuring microbes with a serious hunger.