The Encounter Weekly: 22-29 October, 2021

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




IPOs, M&As & Investments:


GrubMarket, a San Francisco-based food technology company, announced today it raised $145 million in a heavily oversubscribed Series E funding round.


Swedish better-for-you ice cream and snacking brand Nick's closed a $100 million Series C fundraising. The round was led by Kinnevik, Ambrosia and Temasek. Gullspang also participated in this round.

DeHaat, an online platform that offers full-stack agricultural services to farmers in India, has raised $115 million in what is the largest funding round for an agritech startup in India, where farm produce yields two-thirds of the country’s $1 trillion in annual retail spending.

Fabric, a maker of robotic micro-fulfillment solutions for grocery and e-commerce retailers, announced today they have raised $200 million in a Series C funding round. The new funding puts the company’s valuation at $1 billion.

Daring Foods closed on $65 million in Series C funding as the plant-based chicken startup launches its products into 3,000 Walmart stores nationally.

Australian soil carbon startup has raised $40 million from investors including TIME Ventures, a VC fund run by Silicon Valley’s Marc Benioff.


UAE-based agritech startup Pure Harvest Smart Farms has secured $64.5 million in growth capital from Korean private investment firm IMM Investment alongside existing investors.


Dig, a vegetable-centric, multi-format restaurant group, has raised series F funding of $65 million for a growth plan coupled with progressive employee benefits and talent retention strategies, according to a company press release.

Plant-based ingredients ​​Shiru has closed a $17 million Series A round led by S2G Ventures and joined by returning investors Lux Capital, CPT Capital, Y Combinator, and Emles Venture Partners

RealEats, the meal delivery service that makes it simple for people to enjoy the nutritional benefits of real food, announced today it has raised $16.3 million in a Series A funding round.

True Essence, the parent of the SoChatti chocolate brand, has raised more than $5 million in series A2 funding with support from Indy-based Elevate Ventures and other private investors.

Mosa Meat, the Dutch cell-based meat pioneer, has secured an EU grant for its Feed for Meat project in partnership with aquafeed giant Nutreco. The grant, totalling nearly €2 million, will be put towards R&D into lowering cell culture media costs by as much as 100-fold, bringing it one step closer to commercialising cell-based beef in the European market.


ProFuse Technology received $1.25M from Fresh Start FoodTech Incubator

Alternative seafood brand Aqua Cultured Foods says it has closed one of the largest pre-seed funding rounds for a food tech company in the biofermentation protein space, for a total of $2.1 million.

Cocoa-free chocolate maker QOA has raised $6 million in seed funding. The round was led by Cherry Ventures and included participation from 50years, World Fund, Nucleus Capital, Trellis Road, Pioneer Fund, and Tet Ventures.

Sweetgreen Inc., the salad restaurant chain founded by Georgetown University graduates, filed for an initial public offering, disclosing a revenue jump and declining losses.

Shenandoah Growers, a Virginia, US-based indoor farming company, has rebranded as Soli Organic and struck a $120 million financing arrangement with real estate development firm Decennial Group.


GNT announces initial investment of $30 million to expand to North America. The Dutch natural colour company's new facility in North Carolina features an expansive warehouse, with a Technical and Culinary Experience Center set to follow in August 2022.

The Berlin-based World Fund just launched Europe’s biggest climate tech venture capital fund. The €350 million fund is targeting startups building technology that can help decarbonize the planet.

White Star Capital, a multi-stage global technology investment platform, announced it has secured $360 million for its third flagship fund, to invest in exceptional entrepreneurs building ambitious, global businesses.

Nordic FoodTech, the venture capital firm investing in alternative protein and sustainable food startups, has closed its first fund with €42 million. Launched last year, the fund is the first early-stage VC in the Nordics region to be fully focused on food techs, and its now set to back 15 to 20 more companies in the coming years.

A recently launched climate technology fund, which says its mission is to solve the problem of climate change, aims to raise a total of 350 million euros ($407 million) to invest in startups whose innovations could avert the global crisis.

Bread & Butter Ventures announced Tuesday it closed on a $27 million fund to invest in seed stage companies around the world.

Indigo Ag has acquired Soil Metrics, a firm which carries out assessments of soil carbon sequestration, for an undisclosed sum.

HungerRush™, a leading cloud software provider for the restaurant industry today announced it has acquired Kansas-City based Menufy, an industry-leading online food ordering platform and network. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


 

News & Trends:


Benson Hill, a publicly listed company since this September, announces the opening of its Crop Accelerator, a state-of-the-art research facility located near the Company’s St. Louis HQ.


Ball Corporation has broken ground on a ‘circular economy lab’ in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil, which will help process cans and educate consumers about recycling.

Uber Eats partners with French grocery chain Carrefour to launch 15-minute grocery delivery in Paris, and Brinker International teams up with drone delivery company Flytrex.


Australia has joined the 132 countries already targeting net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, outlining a “technology-driven” approach to carbon reduction in advance of next week’s COP26 UN global climate summit.

Brazilian alt-meat brand Future Farm has launched at three online plant-based retailers in the US. Since last Friday, four of the company’s products have been available from Vejii, Hungry Harvest, and GTFO It’s Vegan.

Singapore-based Sophie’s Bionutrients introduced the world’s first milk alternative made from protein-rich microalgae earlier this year and now aims to shift the business to the Netherlands to tap into its plant-based protein ecosystem.

Sodexo UK and Ireland, a catering giant providing meals to thousands of organisations, has announced that a third of the meals it offers will be free of animal products by 2025.

An Israeli ag-tech start-up called Edete Precision Technologies addresses the mounting concern of the effect of climate change on bees using robots and artificial pollination technology.

It is not enough to manufacture recyclable products, collectively we have to build the systems to recycle all waste and focus on reducing our carbon footprint now. Real change requires collective action

Three African countries could more than triple returns on investments in climate-smart infrastructure and create thousands of job opportunities, thanks to the continent’s fast-growing, youthful population, according to a new report.

Actor Noah Schnapp—known for his role as Will Byers on Netflix series Stranger Things—is launching a vegan version of Nutella under his new brand TBH.

The energy sector transition has so far dominated discussions regarding how China will achieve its goals to peak CO2 emissions by 2030 and become carbon neutral before 2060.

True Grace, a mission-based supplement brand created to improve the health of people and planet through nutrient-dense products, has announced a new program in partnership with Rodale Institute to support scientific research on how regenerative organic agriculture impacts nutrient density in crops and contributes to climate mitigation through sequestration of atmospheric CO2 in the soil.

The world's farmers have found a potential new revenue stream under their feet, as the biggest agriculture companies launch programs to sequester carbon and generate valuable credits, a financial instrument to offset pollution.

Climate tech startups have raised more money in 2021 than in any year before—and nearly five times more than in 2016, just after the Paris climate agreement was signed.

Co-CEO Mike Kirban of Vita Coco, said his company, which grew sales 9% in 2020, is looking toward innovation and M&A to expand its portfolio of better-for-you, functional and plant-based drinks.

Food Tech Good Unicorn Gousto has brought waste down to less than 1%. All while empowering 95% of employees to be shareholders and achieving a $1B valuation. Furthermore,Gousto trials world’s first edible packaging made from pea protein created with University of Cambridge spinout, Xampla

Finnish food tech company Solar Foods is making moves to scale its alternative protein – Solein – made out of microbes cultured with electricity and air. Production anticipated to begin in the first half of 2023.

FrieslandCampina has released its fourth annual Trend Report. The company illustrates the observed shifts in global eating toward luxury food experiences, mindful consumption and products that help make healthier purchasing decisions a no-brainer.