The Encounter Weekly

19 - 24 June, 2022

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



IPOs, M&As & Investments:



Grocery-tech Czech unicorn Rohlik announced that it has raised €220 million in a Series D round led by Sofina, a Belgium-based investment company.


India’s tech-enabled chai cafe chain Chaayos has raised US$53 million in a series C round led by Alpha Wave Ventures. The fresh funds will be used for store expansion, hiring, and technology enhancement.

Plant-based seafood startup Current Foods has closed a $18 million seed round to expand into B2B and retail. The round was led by Silicon Valley’s alt-meat early movers and cultural tastemakers, spanning sports and music.

BioLumic announced the closing of a $13.5-million Series B funding round that will be used to accelerate commercial growth for its cutting-edge agricultural technology that harnesses the power of ultraviolet light to improve plant productivity.

Saltalk, a virtual kitchen and e-commerce platform, closed on $8 million of Series A financing to continue developing its one-two punch of authentic cuisine.

Vision Greens has raised $7 million in private financing that will expand its operations and scale distribution to leading grocers and meal kit companies that currently include Metro, Pusateri’s, and Goodfood.

U.S.-based livestock startup Symbrosia has raised $7 million in new funding.The round was led by Danone Manifesto Ventures, and brings Symbrosia's total funding to around $8.5 million.

Canadian ingredients startup Chinova Bioworks has closed a $6 million Series A funding round. The investment will support team expansion, new product development and extension of existing production facilities.

Canadian plant-based cheesemaker Nuts For Cheese has netted $5.35 million in a fresh funding. The investment has been earmarked for expanding the company’s vegan cheese manufacturing capabilities, plus its distribution network.

​​Hawaii-based PlantBaby has announced the closure of a $4 million seed funding round lled by Big Idea Ventures.The investment will be used to support ongoing R&D into existing and future lines.


Hong Kong-based ombnichannel food app KIN has just closed a $3.7 million pre-Series A funding round to connect consumers to their food choices while eliminating waste and the negative environmental consequences of food delivery.


Danone and Hong Kong’s Green Monday invested in ,U.K’s oat milk startup Minor Figures. The minority undisclosed investments will be used to coordinate expansion.

California VC CerraCap Ventures has announced an investment in Solena AG, a soil microbiome startup helping farmers improve agricultural yields and optimize agrarian input costs.


Canadian e-commerce store Vegano Foods announces it has completed its acquisition of SMPL Oats, an emerging clean-label oat milk brand.


 


News & Trends:


Unilever has formed a strategic partnership with San Diego-based biotech Genomatica to pursue a path to commercialisation to create an alternative to palm oil through fermentation.


Akamai Technologies, Inc., the cloud company that powers and protects life online, has announced that Bloomfield Robotics is the winner of its $1 million Future of Life Online Challenge.


Booths has launched a startup accelerator to help grow food and drink businesses offering the winning company a tailored 12-month programme and funding to help them scale.

​​Research by Dr. Stacy Pyett of Wageningen University says that the world is already producing sufficient plant protein to feed the entire population.

Plant-based dairy brand Eclipse Foods announces it is partnering with burger chain Smashburger to release the QSR industry’s first nationally available plant-based milkshakes.

Avantium and Carlsberg are advancing the commercialization of the Fibre Bottle, a 100% plant-based, fully recyclable beer bottle.

Cargill will start enrolling US cotton growers next month in its RegenConnect program for regeneratively grown cotton.

A new report by consultancy firm Bain & Company and capital fund ZINTINUS says the world’s food market towards a more sustainable model is now at a tipping point.

DoorDash announced that it will launch a dark store-powered rapid delivery service in partnership with Canadian grocer Loblaw.

A grant of €9 million has been awarded to operators upscaling ocean seaweed production and their market applications across Europe.


E-commerce platform PlantX announces the expansion of its XMeals delivery service to the US.


The Japanese government is pulling together a team of experts to analyse the safety of cultivated meat as a precursor to implementing a regulatory framework for future commercial product approvals.


The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement is working to foster multi-stakeholder collaboration to end malnutrition.

Infarm continues US expansion announcing the establishment of its third growing center in the US and the largest Infarm growing center to date.

Insect Engineers is opening its Insect School to serve as a hub and meeting place for the insect industry with the goal of accelerating the transition towards circular global food production.

Confectionery giant Mars Wrigley has unveiled a new eco-centric chocolate, CO2COA, in a partnership with animal-free dairy protein innovator Perfect Day.

In industry news this week, Tetra Pak unveiled its plans to collaborate with Mycorena to build a greenfield production facility for fungi fermentation.

US policymakers announced new legislation that would place an indefinite moratorium on acquisitions and mergers within agriculture and food industries.

South Korea’s Simple Planet has announced a breakthrough by developing cultivated meat with a higher content of unsaturated fatty acids. The move has been claimed as a first for the country.

Organic food producer Narayan Foods is addressing the growing gap in demand for plant-based proteins and sustainable, healthy food choices by providing a scaling platform to bring new food tech solutions to the market faster.

Pennsylvania-based giant Hershey has applied for a patent for using roasted grain in vegan chocolate products.

Plant-based brand Soupergirlannounces it has become the first consumer packaged goods company to obtain Fair Food certification in an effort to protect farm workers’ rights.