The Encounter Weekly: 14-20 August, 2021

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


IPOs, M&As & Investments:


Sound Agriculture, a company advancing two novel technology platforms that leverage plant and soil biology to radically improve food production, announced that it has secured a $45 million investment led by Leaps by Bayer, the impact investment arm of Bayer. Northpond Ventures, a science and technology-driven venture capital firm also participated in the round, along with existing investors Cavallo Ventures, Fall Line Capital, S2G Ventures, and Syngenta Group Ventures.


Dewey Scientific, the Pullman, Wash.-based agtech startup that is leveraging genomics, data science and more to improve the quality and genetic diversity of cannabis crops, has raised $3.2 million in new funding. The Series A cash announced on Monday comes from The Hawthorne Collective, a new cannabis industry investment arm of Scotts Miracle-Gro.

Apeel Sciences, a food system innovation company, is out to prevent food produced globally from ending up in the landfill, especially as pressures from the global pandemic affect the food supply chain. The company just added $250 million in Series E funding, giving it a valuation of $2 billion, to speed up the availability of its longer-lasting produce in the U.S. (where approximately 40% of food is wasted), the U.K. and Europe.

Lowercarbon Capital, the climate change-focused VC firm launched by early Twitter and Uber investor and Shark Tank star Chris Sacca, has raised $800 million in capital.

Saudi Arabia-based agritech startup Red Sea Farms has raised an additional $6 million, increasing its pre-Series A round to $16 million, led by Saudi, US and UAE investors, including the Aramco venture arm Wa’ed, the Saudi government-owned Future Investment Initiative (FII) Institute, KAUST, Global Ventures, AppHarvest and Bonaventure.


AgNext, a provider of food quality assessment technologies, has raised $21 million in a Series A round led by Alpha Wave Incubation – a $300 million early-stage fund managed by New York-based Falcon Edge Capital and backed by DisruptAD, the VC arm of UAE sovereign fund ADQ.

Ag software startup Regrow has raised $17 million in Series A funding as it proceeds with the US rollout of its monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) tool for carbon sequestration and monetization.

SOLASTA Bio, a Glasgow University spin-out, has nabbed seed funding of around €1.5 million to support the development of its nature-inspired pesticides, which are some of the first of their kind.

Canadian aquaculture platform XpertSea initially launched in 2011, offering a data-collection device for fish farms before establishing a marketplace for trading produce. But seeing its users struggle with finance sent it swimming in a new direction. The Quebec City-based startup recently announced a $20 million Series B round led by QED Investors and Atlantico with Investissement Québec joining previous investors Obvious Ventures, Aqua-Spark, Future Shape, Real Ventures, and edō Capital to help it chart its new course.

Wednesday the St. Louis-based firm, Beta Hatch’s, announced $10 million in funding in a round led by Lewis & Clark AgriFood, with participation from Cavallo Ventures and Innova Memphis, which are both signed on as existing investors. The money comes as Beta Hatch is eyeing the expansion of its flagship farm in Cashmere, Washington.

Plant-based food-tech company Shandi closed its second seed round led by Singapore-headquartered Tolaram, one of Africa’s largest packaged food companies. Other investors in this round include Australia based food-tech accelerator SparkLabs Cultiv8, and former CEO-India for Louis Dreyfus and prominent angel investor Simmarpal Singh. The fresh funding that raised more than US$700,000 will be used to set up a manufacturing facility in Singapore to commercialise and scale Shandi’s proprietary plant-based chicken products, including expanding partnerships in the food sector.

​​Melt&Marble (formerly Biopetrolia), a company working on fermentation-based production of animal fats, has closed a seed round of €750K led by Nordic FoodTech VC. Other investors include Paulig’s venture arm PINC, Purple Orange Ventures, and Chalmers Ventures. The funding is a kick-start for the company’s new mission of providing delicious and sustainable fats for plant-based foods.

Indonesian instant delivery startup RaRa Delivery has announced that it has raised $3.25 million in funding led by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge and Indonesia’s East Ventures. Other participants included 500 Startups, Angel Central, GK Plug and Play, and angel investors Royston Tay and Yang Bin Kwok.


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British medical cannabis company Grow announced today that it has acquired a major medical cannabis production facility in Spain – a move which transforms Grow into an integrated cannabis production, R&D, and distribution company. This transaction will enable the firm to deliver further on its mission of providing the broadest portfolio of quality cannabis medicines to patients across the world at the most accessible prices.

Cox Enterprises has acquired indoor farming company BrightFarms, the two companies announced Tuesday via press release. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The companies noted that the acquisition will be key to helping Cox Enterprises build out a “multibillion cleantech business” by 2030.


GrubMarket continues to grow its nationwide food supply chain presence with the acquisition of New York wholesaler L&J Produce. L&J is a key sourcing channel for fruits and vegetables in the New York metro area, and has deep relationships with domestic farms in New England, Florida and California. The company works with many customers in New York, ranging from supermarkets to restaurants and e-grocers.


 

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