The Encounter Weekly: 21-27 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:


Funds


Agrifoodtech VC AgFunder has announced the final close of New Carnivore, its alternative protein fund, on $21 million. The fund was oversubscribed, surpassing its hard cap.

Conexus Venture Capital Inc. (CVC) announced August 23 a $45 million CAD first close of the newly launched Emmertech fund, which CVC maintains will cross $60 million CAD by the fund’s close at the end of 2021.

Startup Rounds

Apeel, a food system innovation company, has raised US$250 million in series E funding led by returning investor Temasek. The company’s total funding now exceeds US$635 million, with a valuation of over US$2 billion. This latest investment will be used in part to accelerate Apeel’s partnerships and plant-based products that aim to prevent food waste at every step of the fresh food supply chain, including for in-house consumption in the US where approximately 25 percent of produce purchased goes to waste.


US-based soil testing startup Biome Makers has raised $15 million in a Series B round led by Prosus Ventures – a VC affiliate of South African internet giant Naspers. Other investors joining the round included Spanish firms JME Ventures and Seaya Ventures, Netherlands-based Pymwymic, and US-based Viking Global Investors.


C3 (Creating Culinary Communities), a fast-growing global food tech platform founded by Sam Nazarian, announced a $10 million strategic investment from TriArtisan Capital Advisors and its investors, whose portfolio include leading brands like TGI Fridays, PF Chang’s and Hooters.

Singapore-based Ai Palette announced Tuesday that it has raised $4.4 million USD in an oversubscribed Series A round. The round was co-led by Exfinity Venture Partners and pi Ventures, with participation from Anthill Ventures and return investors VC AgFunder and Decacorn Capital.


Los Angeles delivery robot startup Coco this week has announced $36 million in funding. The Series A was led by Sam Altman, Silicon Valley Bank and Founders Fund, with participation from Sam Nazarian, Ellen Chen and Mario Del Pero. It brings the company’s total funding up to around $43 million.


Bengaluru-based agritech robotics startup TartanSense announced on Wednesday that it has raised $5 million in Series A funding. The round was led by FMC Ventures and Omnivore, with participation from existing investor Blume Ventures.

Argentinian startup ZoomAgri has raised $3.3 million in a pre-Series A round from SP Ventures as well as Artesian, GrainInnovate, and Glocal, AFN can reveal. This round brings the business’s total funding to $4.75 million.


BigSpoon, the Ahmedabad-based cloud kitchen startup, has raised Rs 15 crore ($2.024.020,50) in a pre-Series A round from NB VC (Dubai), CreedCap Asia, Zed Capital, and angel investors including Sanjiv Bajaj, Bhanu Chopra, and Jatin Aneja.

Food waste fighting startup Orbisk announced Tuesday that it has raised a €1.05 million (~$1.23M USD) Seed round of funding. The round was led by FoodSparks by PeakBridge, with participation from EIT Food, and existing investors DOEN Participaties, and Brabantse Ontwikkelings Maatschappij.

Forward Kitchens was working quietly on its digital storefront for restaurants and is now announcing a $2.5 million seed round. Raghav Poddar started the company two years ago and was part of the Y Combinator Summer 2019 cohort. Poddar told TechCrunch he has been a foodie his entire life. Lately, he was relying on food delivery and pickup services, and while visiting with some of the restaurant owners, he realized a few things: first, not many had a good online presence, and second, these restaurants had the ability to cook cuisine representative of their communities.

Small Robot Company (SRC) has raised £4 million in a securities offering on Crowdcube. The company has now secured £11 million in funding to date. According to previous reports, SRC was raising capital at a pre-money valuation of £15,000,000 or an 18.63% equity stake at a per-share price of £0.66. The company reports that over 2600 retail investors backed the campaign, with the initial target of £2 million raised on the day of launch. The offering doubled its funding target closing early.


Signature Products has landed a funding commitment of approx. €800K in funding from the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany for the development of a regional hemp protein value chain.

Corporates

The Puratos group’s cocoa sustainability scheme, Cacao-Trace, has received a major boost as a group of private investors has agreed €1 billion finance package for the initiative, reports Neill Barston.

Mondelēz’s latest investment of €12 million (US$14 million) will be used to expand production capacities and optimize the energy supply to achieve the sustainability goals at its German site. Since 1957, the Bad Fallingbostel location in Lower Saxony has housed the production of brands like Philadelphia and Miracel Whip.


After recently launching the UK’s first Vegan scotch egg into Tesco supermarkets, Squeaky Bean is now set for a huge investment injection as the producer looks to meet the increasing demand for plant-based chilled foods. Winterbotham Darby, the brand’s parent company, has announced a £5 million investment in Squeaky Bean to open a second state-of-the-art facility.

M&As

Cox Enterprises has acquired BrightFarms, an indoor farming company and provider of locally grown packaged salads. The move solidifies BrightFarms’ leadership in the indoor agriculture space and provides a strong, stable foundation committed to accelerating growth with partner retailers. The relationship between BrightFarms and Cox dates back to 2018, and Cox has held a majority stake in the company since 2020.