The Encounter Weekly: 12-19 November, 2021

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



IPOs, M&As & Investments:


Over the next three years, Temasek and Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research, will pump more than $30 million into the Asia Sustainable Foods Platform.


Bits x Bites, China’s first agrifood tech VC, has completed the final close of its second fund, hitting US$100M, and exceeding its target previously announced with the first close in 2020.


Californian agtech startup Farmers Business Network (FBN) has raised $300 million in Series G funding at a valuation just shy of $4 billion.

Food technology company GrubMarket has raised $200 million in an oversubscribed Series E funding round, led by Tiger Global Management.


US food delivery provider Daily Harvest has secured a Series D funding round, valuing the company at over $1 billion.


SaladStop! Group, the first and largest healthy food chain in Asia, announced Monday the closing of a SGD12 million series B investment round, featuring some of the most prominent investors in the region.


Autonomous tractor maker Monarch raises $61 million Series B round led by Astanor Ventures. The Bay Area-based firm says the funding will go toward scaling manufacturing and sales for its self-titled electric tractor.

Plastomics, Inc., the biotechnology company helping to develop higher performing seeds for the agriculture sector via their novel chloroplast trait delivery platform, announced it completed a $7.1 million Series A funding round.


Farm produce portal Glife Technologies has raised S$11 million ($8.13 million) in Series A funding. The round was led by Heliconia Capital.

Tel Aviv-based Imagindairy, a biotech startup replacing traditional dairy products from microorganisms, announced a record $13m seed funding and that it will be in shops by 2023.

Portuguese shellfish producer Oceano Fresco raised €6.1 million ($6.9 million) in funding to support expansion plans, with sustainable oceans and aquaculture equity firm Aqua-Spark co-leading the investment.

Ula, a B2B e-commerce marketplace in Indonesia, has secured an additional US$23.1 million in funding from Tiger Global and Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal to close its ongoing Series B investment round at US$110 million.

Wingreens Farms has raised ₹124 crore ($17 million) in a funding round led by private equity investor Investcorp. Omidyar Network India also participated in this Series C funding round.

Digivriddhi Technologies (DGV), an Indian fintech startup focused on the dairy industry, has raised $3.1 million in its pre-Series A round.

Clean Kitchen Club, a vegan restaurant and delivery chain, has been valued at £7.5m and is eyeing expansion after its successful first £1.4m funding round.

The technology startup from Bristol, Matter, has just received a €175.5k investment boost from the British Design Fund. The company’s is to mission to generate innovative solutions for the capture, harvest and recycling of microplastics.

International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) has invested a total of $87 million in its flavours manufacturing plant in Karawang, Indonesia, as it looks to capture the growth potential of emerging markets in Asia.

Digital ag company Fieldin has acquired Midnight Robotics for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition will add a layer of autonomous driving capabilities to Fieldin’s sensor-based farm management platform, providing more efficiency when it comes to day-to-day tasks on the farm, the company said.

Brazilian meatpacker JBS is acquiring Spanish company BioTech Foods, while also creating a new research and development center in Brazil for lab meat as part of a $100 million push into the fast-growing sector.


PlantPlus Foods, a joint venture created by Archer Daniels Midland and beef processor Marfrig Global Foods, is acquiring DEW Drink Eat Well LLC, maker of Hilary's brand veggie burgers, and Sol Cuisine Ltd., a Canadian manufacturer of branded and private label plant-based products.

Plant-based brand The Planting Hope Co. has completed its IPO in Canada, selling 22.5 million shares at a price of $0.40 each. The shares are expected to begin trading on the TSX-V on November 18, under the ticker symbol “MYLK”.


Greek yogurt maker Chobani has filed for an IPO and will trade on the Nasdaq, with the equity sale expected to value the business at over $10 billion.


 

News & Trends:


US agricultural cooperatives CHS and Growmark have combined forces to establish a VC fund that will invest in “breakthrough technologies” that can advance the farming industry.


Bayer and Microsoft enter into strategic partnership to optimize and advance digital capabilities for food, feed, fuel, fiber value chain.

Data Snapshot: Companies in the Online Restaurant & Mealkit category raised $326 million in H1 2021, according to AgFunder data. In keeping with a longer-term trend that has been unfolding for the last couple of years, the sector itself has continued to evolve in terms of its sheer variety of business models.

General Mills has become the first major food brand to dive into precision fermentation dairy. This week, it announced the launch of Bold Cultr—animal-free cheese made from Perfect Day’s whey.

Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Mondelēz International have pooled their data and resources to contribute to a broader awareness of the nature and magnitude of the poor conditions of cocoa farmers in Ghana.

Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., the agricultural cooperative owned by more than 700 farmer families, and Brightseed, an A.I.-led biosciences company announced an agreement to leverage Brightseed's A.I., Forager®, to profile the compounds in cranberries and surface new connections between cranberries and human health.


Israeli startup Redefine Meat will begin offering 3D-printed plant-based “meat” products at select high-end restaurants in Europe, also unveiling what it called “the world’s first” whole cuts that resemble lamb and beef cuts.

Singapore-based startup Next Gen Foods announced last week that its flagship alternative chicken product (named TiNDLE) has touched down in Amsterdam restaurants.


Food-tech start-up Aqua Cultured Foods has signed a Proof of Concept (PoC) with Migros, Switzerland’s largest retailer, to advance the development of its seafood alternatives with a realistic taste and texture


Meatless Farm announces a plant-based chicken breast for the UK market this winter and JBS owned Planterra Foods, announces a plant-based chicken cutlet for around the same time for the US.

When it comes to proteins, says Christian Koolloos, chief business development officer at Dutch startup The Protein Brewery, boring is good. In fact, the blander the better: “Fermotein [his firm’s fermented fungi protein] is extremely boring in its profile with no strong taste, odor or color. You can use it in everything from meat alternatives to cookies and you don’t have to mask the taste.”


Global ingredient manufacturer Kemin Industries is breaking ground on a new manufacturing site in Verona, Missouri, US. The US$40 million site is designated toward producing clean label enhancement ingredients for meat and seafood applications, which help improve cook yields, moisture retention and sodium reduction.

In the UK, beef cattle are wearing ‘Fitbits for cows’, in Germany, an independent certification scheme is improving animal welfare for pork and poultry, and in Bulgaria, Big Data is serving to differentiate local products from imported competition. FoodNavigator looks at animal welfare innovation in Europe and the UK.

A diet rich in fermented foods such as kimchi, cottage cheese, and kefir can enhance the diversity of gut microbes and reduce molecular signs of inflammation, say researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine.

Sophie’s BioNutrients, the next-gen food tech from Singapore, has produced its first microalgae-based cheese. Closely mimicking a conventional cheddar profile, the cheese is made Sophie’s BioNutrients dairy-free microalgae milk in partnership with the Ingredion Idea Labs innovation center.

Mush Foods, an Israeli food tech developing mycelium, believes its flagship ingredient could be the answer to upgrading existing alternative proteins. Based in Tel Aviv, the startup uses fermentation and AI to efficiently produce its fungi-based ingredient, which it says could make everything from plant-based dairy to vegan steak tastier, healthier and more sustainable.

As world leaders gathered at COP26 to draw up plans to tackle climate change, one big thing was missing from the agenda: food. With the global food system accounting for nearly a third of emissions, experts say that bringing food and agriculture into climate talks will be “critical” to meet the 1.5℃ under the Paris agreement.

Latin American farms and fields produce a lot of food, but 47 million people still remain hungry.

Belgian-based Puratos has unveiled a remote customer support app, Digital AdvisAR, that connects bakers, patissiers and chocolatiers to industry specialists worldwide via augmented reality (AR) to assist in problem-solving.

Chr. Hansen is launching its next-generation Sweety culture, the latest addition to its sugar reduction portfolio for fresh dairy applications. Using the power of fermentation, Sweety enables producers to maintain a level of sweetness all while reducing added sugar.

Celebrity chef and food activist Tom Colicchio is joining mycelium-based alt meat producer Meati Foods’ team of investor-advisers. The host of hit cooking reality show Top Chef, Colicchio aims to build on his ventures as a chef and food advocate working to end food insecurity through the partnership.

Israel’s SavorEat, the company that has developed a smart robot chef that creates meat alternatives, announced that its plant-based meat options will soon be available to employees at some of Israel’s largest tech companies.

Scientists at the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast are launching a €2 million project to monitor the effects of feeding local seaweed to dairy cows to reduce methane emissions.