The Encounter Weekly

March 26th - April 1st

Stay up to date with the most recent news, investments and partnerships regarding the agrifood tech industry and sustainability.



IPOs, M&As & Investments:

MycoTechnology, an Aurora, Colorado-based startup using fermentation technology and mushroom mycelia to create novel food products, has closed an $85 million round of funding.

Beewise pulls in $80 million in Insights Partners-led round. The robotic beehive startup’s solar-powered, AI-based automatic solution is aimed at saving the world’s bee population

Yami, a leading direct-to-consumer marketplace for Asian food essentials, products, and household goods in North America, announced a $50 million Series B co-led by Altos Ventures and Balsam Bay Partners with participation from J.P. Morgan and Series A lead investor GGV Capital.


FarMart raises $32 million in Series B round led by General Catalyst. The startup allows enterprise customers to source fresh produce direct from farmers. Existing investors Matrix Partners and Omidyar Network also participated in the round.

Haseel closes $6.6 million Series A funding. This is another farmer-to-enterprise customer platform, delivering farm-fresh produce across 16 cities in Saudi Arabia within two hours. Vision Ventures led the round.


Koidra, an intelligent automation (IA) startup based out of Seattle, has raised $4.5m in a seed funding round to bring its data intelligence technology to precision and controlled environmental agriculture sectors.

Plant Cartridge, a Kuala Lumpur-based agritech company that offers sustainable agriculture solutions, has raised US$3 million in seed funding.

The UK’s Plant Alternative, which produces the SHICKEN range of chef-made Indian ready meals, has received further funding from Veg Capital. The nonprofit impact fund led Plant Alternative’s recent round with a £2 million investment, which will be used to scale up production.


Environmental data startup based in London, Connect Earth, is on a mission to build the infrastructure for climate-conscious products, fueling a world where climate action becomes standard practice. The company has just closed its first funding round at €1.6 million.

Famous Brands, Africa’s leading QSR and casual dining franchisor, has announced the acquisition of Lexi’s Healthy Eatery. Taking a majority stake in the South African plant-based restaurant chain, Famous Brands is making its first foray into the vegan dining market.

 

News & Trends:

Gotham Greens announces major US expansion. The indoor farming company will double the size of its high-tech greenhouse capacity from 600,000 square feet to over 1.2 million in 2022.


US restaurant chain Chipotle and Miso Robotics have developed a kitchen robot, named Chippy, to prepare tortilla chips.

Last-mile delivery service URB-E has partnered with Square Roots on delivering the latter’s vertically grown greens to food retailers in urban areas.


In 2021, eGrocery saw $18.5 billion in investments, claiming over 35% of all agrifoodtech investment for the year and growing 188% over 2020


French insect protein company Ynsect is officially moving to the U.S. with the addition of Nebraska mealworm company Jord Producers.


Plant-based food sales tallied $7.4 billion in 2021, an increase of 6% above 2020, according to data from SPINS, the Plant-Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute.


Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), a Thailand-headquartered agro-industrial and food business, has entered a partnership with cell-based meat player Future Meat Technologies to develop hybrid cultured meat products – including varieties with the authentic properties of dark meat – for the Asian market.


Ingredion’s new foodservice growth guide, entitled Put profitability on the menu, details how foodservice operators can drive sustained clean label growth.

US-based biotech start-up Kingdom Supercultures says it is readying the launch of a library of natural microbial ingredients, making plant-based dairy products taste “practically indistinguishable” from animal-based counterparts.

BioBetter has uncovered a new application for the much-maligned Nicotiana tabacum tobacco plant upon discovering it can overcome the greatest hurdle in cultured meat – that of scaled production.

International beer heavyweights Heineken and Carlsberg are pulling out of Russia, as part of a mass exodus of Western businesses ramping up pressure on the Kremlin following its invasion of Ukraine.

Europol’s latest Opson IX report on food fraud activity across 77 countries worldwide details a total of 12,000 illicit food products seized with a retail value of approximately US$40 million

TGI Fridays has extended its vegan menu range following a new partnership with UK alt meat brand Meatless Farm. The collaboration will see four new plant-based offerings hitting TGI Fridays’ menus across the UK.